Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey says it is no surprise Besart Berisha has signed with Melbourne Victory and has stressed there is life without their star striker.
The shock defection of star striker Besart Berisha to the Melbourne Victory may have come as no surprise to Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey.
But it was still hard to play down the dramatic ramifications of the Victory’s audacious play for the Albanian international.
The news Brisbane had been dreading was confirmed on Wednesday when the Victory announced it had signed Berisha on a lucrative two-season deal from 2014-15.
Speculation had been rife that the off-contract Berisha was sounding out other A-League clubs but Mulvey had hoped his star would stay after inspiring their stunning 2011-12 championship win.
The tug-of-war over the marksman began in October when rival clubs were officially allowed to ask the Roar for permission to speak with Berisha as he entered the final six months of his current two-year Brisbane deal.
Several clubs courted Berisha including Sydney FC, Newcastle and even Graham Arnold’s Japanese outfit Vegalta Sendai.
“It’s not surprising. It’s the nature of football unfortunately, particularly when goal scorers demand top dollar,” Mulvey said.
“We did everything possible to maintain his services but it wasn’t to be.”
Roar fans quickly warmed to Berisha when he scored 21 goals in his 2011-12 debut and sealed back-to-back championships for the club that season with his controversial last-gasp grand final goal against Perth Glory.
But it remains to be seen how the Roar faithful treat the Brisbane crowd favourite after becoming the Victory’s marquee signing.
However, Mulvey had no such concerns.
“I know categorically that this won’t affect what we are trying to achieve this season,” he said.
“I have every confidence in Besart to control the distractions now that he has sorted out his future.
“We should see a resurgence in his goal scoring in the orange shirt.
“There will be tinge of sadness (when he leaves) but people should recall that some of our best performances this season have been when Besart has not been in the team.”
Berisha – who has scored 41 goals in 65 games for Brisbane – will miss Friday night’s Suncorp Stadium clash with Wellington after being sent off last round against Perth.
Mulvey said he had no regrets over opting for German midfielder Thomas Broich over Berisha as their international marquee player.
“I would struggle to find a better quality player in the league,” he said of Broich.