Djite hails Maria's versatility after joining Reds
Adelaide United Director of Football Bruce Djite discussed the purchase of new signing Michaël Maria and what he will bring to the team.
Maria will remain in Adelaide until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2020/21 season after arriving on a two-year contract.
The 24-year-old, who is the second recruit of the winter to sign for the Club for an undisclosed fee, said the move was facilitated by the fact Maria previously worked with Head Coach, Gertjan Verbeek.
The Curaçao international received his professional debut from the Dutch tactician at VfL Bochum in 2016 and again reunited at Eredivisie outfit FC Twente two years later.
“For us it was important the coach knew him already,” Djite told reporters at Maria’s unveiling.
“The coach was here for seven to ten days and got to see the players and put them through their paces and Michaël’s name was brought up relatively quickly.
“I spoke to Michaël on the phone – he was at the Gold Cup actually – a number of times and he was also keen to explore the opportunity… we’re happy that it’s all done now.
“Gertjan (Verbeek) has coached him before and Michaël is very keen to play under him again because of the way he likes to play his football.
“So it all sort of came to sync pretty well.”
Maria holds all the essential attributes to be a success at the Reds, boasting dynamism and adaptability.
He can operate either at left-back or on the left wing and even as a defensive midfielder.
Djite said his versatility was an important factor in acquiring him from Charlotte Independence and will be indispensable to the team.
“He’ll definitely bolster our left side,” Djite said of Maria, who spent a decade at PSV Eindhoven’s academy.
“We look at the team and we’re very thin on the left side, and we’re probably one if not two injuries away from really being stretched.
“Not only does Michaël possess the skills to play both left-back and left wing he can also play defensive midfield.
“Versatile players in a salary capped league for me are very important and especially when they’re of Michaël’s quality as well.
“He’s no doubt going to have an impact on the Club that’s what we signed him for – a positive impact – and we look forward to watching him out there in the near future.”
Djite said securing a player like Maria and just before they enter their prime years as a footballer was indicative of just how impressive the coup is.
“Speaking to a lot of agents and a lot of different people about players and I’m not saying we just want to sign a team full of youngsters,” he continued.
“But I think when you’re in that 24 to 28 range it’s a really good age to be playing in the A-League.
“Both because you can handle the physicality, and travel, and you recover a lot quicker. but also because they’re the type of players when they’re at that level have ambitions for bigger and better things.
“When you’ve that self-motivation within you that not only helps the individual, but it also helps the team and they’re the type of individuals we want at this Club.”
Adelaide United face Melbourne Knights in the Round of 32 of the FFA Cup 2019 on Wednesday, 7 August at Knights Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACST. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports.