Victory bring Spaniard Baena to A-League

Spanish midfielder Raul Baena (L) has signed with A-League club Melbourne Victory.
Spanish midfielder Raul Baena (L) has signed with A-League club Melbourne Victory.

Melbourne Victory have completed their international recruitment for their A-League title defence, signing Spaniard Raul Baena.

The 29-year-old has compiled 150 appearances in the Spanish top flight for Espanyol, under current Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, and Rayo Vallecano.

He joins from second division Granada on a one year loan deal.

"Raul is a very well-rounded midfielder who also has great leadership qualities," Victory coach Kevin Muscat said.

Recently arrived assistant coach Carlos Perez Salvachua helped Victory identify and land Baena, who also spent four years in Barcelona's youth teams.

Victory's fourth international signing of the off-season brings an end to a stunning month of transfer activity.

Japanese forward Keisuke Honda and Swedish striker Ola Toivonen join Victory fresh from World Cup campaigns, while German defender Georg Niedermeier will marshal the defence.

Baena takes up the club's fifth and final visa position.

Victory also have a pair of Kiwis on the books - new full-back Storm Roux, who does not qualify as a visa player, and Kosta Barbarouses, who does.

Muscat has also added Nick Ansell and Corey Brown to his squad for 2018/19.

Heading the other way include Besart Berisha, Leroy George, James Donachie and Rhys Williams.

Muscat said he was delighted with his work off the pitch since winning the club's fourth championship in May.

"I'm really pleased to have locked in so many quality additions with time to integrate them into the playing group," he said.

"We identified the key areas of the side that we wanted to bolster and worked diligently to bring in players of a high calibre."

Baena will link up with his Victory teammates next week, with Toivonen not far behind.

Victory played out a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar in Morwell on Saturday.

Leigh Broxham struck first, scoring on the rebound from a penalty, before Adam Taggart netted an equaliser before half-time.

Australian Associated Press