Powerful striker Nick D’Agostino has left Melbourne Victory to join fellow Socceroo Gianni Stensness at Norwegian club Viking.

D’Agostino – who last week scored a contender for goal of the A-League season in his struggling side’s 1-1 draw with Adelaide United – has played his last game for the Melbourne club, not having flown to Perth on Friday with the rest of the Victory squad for Saturday night’s clash against the Glory at Macedonia Park.

“We’re delighted our young players are being looked at by clubs and we’re very supportive of them progressing their careers,” Popovic said.

“It’s wonderful news for Nick and for our football club.”

Viking finished 11th in last year’s Eliteserien, Norway’s top flight, with former Central Coast Mariners midfielder Stensness having made 37 appearances for the club in all competitions in the past two seasons.

D’Agostino, who joined the Victory in 2021 from Perth, scored 17 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions for the Popovic-coached side.

“Nick’s an emerging talent. (He) came to a big club (in) Melbourne Victory as never being a starter, turned into a starting player for Melbourne Victory last year, and made the Socceroos (team), and now we’re talking about clubs overseas being interested in him,” Popovic said.

However, with D’Agostino gone, and the season-ending knee injury suffered by Portuguese import Nani. Popovic needs other attackers – including former Glory ace Bruno Fornaroli – to step up.

Signed to a permanent deal this week by the Victory after having initially joined the club as an injury-replacement player, the Uruguay-born Socceroo is yet to fire and has been warming the bench in recent weeks.

“Bruno is a player that plays with so much intelligence, can hold the ball up and bring players into the game,” Popovic said.

“Bruno’s a top player who has proven over the years what he can do.”

Fornaroli is sure to get a frosty reception on his return to Perth after departing the Glory in controversial fashion in late October.

Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich said his team was not focused on the return of Fornaroli, or former Perth mentor Popovic.

“Our focus is firmly on us,” Zadkovich said.

“I’m just worrying about what we’re doing.”

Despite Victory sitting last on the ladder after a horror spell on and off the field, Zadkovich expected a “very resolute and focused” performance from a “massive club with million-dollar players”.

“They’re a big-spending team and we expect them to bring all their big guns and rock up to Macedonia Park to give us a very stiff test, so we’ll have to be at our best,” he said.

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