Danish defender Michael Jakobsen is the latest European recruit to Melbourne City, the 30-year-old joining up with his former international teammate Thomas Sorensen as John van ‘t Schip looks to strengthen his defence for a tilt at the A-League title.
With the retirement of captain Patrick Kisnorbo, the departures of Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo to Sydney FC and the long-term injury to Socceroo fullback Ivan Franjic, Melbourne City’s rearguard has been in need of an off-season shake-up.
The club has already brought in Manny Muscat, the ex-Wellington Phoenix defender, and former Central Coast left back Josh Rose, but Jakobsen’s recruitment will increase competition for places in a team that was last season renowned as much for their porous defence as their freewheeling attack.
Only the bottom-of-the-table Mariners conceded more goals than City, although their potent attack, led by Bruno Fornaroli, managed more than two goals a game on average.
Jakobsen is, at 30, a good age – not too old to be slow and injury-prone – and he has experience not just on the international stage, where he won five caps for Denmark, but in his own domestic league and in Europe.
The left-footed central defender was signed from Danish Superliga team Esbjerg but has also played for Aalborg BK (Denmark), Almeria (La Liga), and Lillestrom (Norway).
He has joined the Melbourne City on a two-year deal after being scouted by the Manchester City-owned club’s scouts in Europe. City said on Thursday that the defender had been seen as a priority by the Melbourne team’s director of football, Michael Petrillo, when he attended a recent scouting summit in Manchester.
Jakobsen won the Danish title with Aalborg in 2007-08 and qualified for the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League. He was there at the same time as another former Melbourne Heart/City defender, ex-Socceroo Michael Beauchamp.
Following 153 appearances for AaB, Jakobsen secured a permanent move to Spanish La Liga side Almeria, before returning to Denmark with Esbjerg fB.
City has been busy discarding players and signing new ones, headed by big name arrival Tim Cahill. As well as the Socceroo talisman, Jakobsen, Muscat and Rose, van ‘t Schip has brought in Neil Kilkenny, Bruce Kamau, Daniel Arzani, Ruon Tongyik and Luke Brattan, as well as re-signing of Dean Bouzanis, Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres.
The Dane will occupy one of the club’s visa spots, and will join his new teammates during the pre-season tour of Townsville next week.