MELBOURNE Victory have lured back championship-winning defender Adrian Leijer from English Premier League club Fulham in a massive boost for their defensive stocks.
Leijer has agreed to a three-year-deal with Melbourne after a two-year stint at Craven Cottage which failed to yield a single first-team appearance. He returns home hoping to re-ignite a career which has not developed as planned since he decided to pursue dreams of European football.
The 23-year-old will join the team ahead of Saturday's clash against North Queensland in Townsville and is a chance to start with Kevin Muscat currently out injured and defender Matthew Kemp doubtful to travel with his wife set to give birth this weekend.
When asked about the possibility of Leijer returning to the Hyundai A-League earlier in the week, coach Ernie Merrick gave a glowing endorsement of his talents.
"I think he would be a good acquisition, I think Fulham are pretty keen on hanging on to him," Merrick said on Thursday. "I think Adrian would be a terrific acquisition for any club in the A-League. I think a lot of him as a person s well as a player.
"I would never tell him what to do, it's his career and his future. Whatever's best for him is the way to go."
Leijer played 41 games for Melbourne in 2005-06 and 2006-07 and was voted Hyundai A-League Young Player of the Year in Melbourne's double-winning year of 2006-07.
He has played one game for Australia at senior level, while he was part of the Olympic team for Beijing 2008.