Souprayen: I’m coming here to win

Your City boys are fast approaching their return to pre-season training, and our defensive stocks received a big boost on Monday with the signing of experienced French defender, Samuel Souprayen.

He became the club’s eighth new signing ahead of season 2023/24, with plenty of exciting new faces joining as we slowly draw closer to the new campaign.

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Souprayen arrives in Melbourne from the Bulgarian top tier, as did foreign defenders Nuno Reis and recently departed Thomas Lam.

He follows Tolgay Arslan as City’s second international signing, both joining the club with extensive experience in Europe’s top leagues.

A large part of Souprayen’s professional career has been spent in France and Italy. He’s featured in both Ligue 1 and Serie A, while also spending time in the second tiers of both countries.

With stints at clubs such as Hellas Verona, Stade Rennais and AJ Auxerre, Souprayen certainly has an eye-catching CV.

The club where he’d spent the most time though was France’s Dijon, which coincidentally, was also where a connection was formed that played a key role in his signing.

In his time at Dijon, Souprayen made 74 appearances alongside City midfielder, Florin Berenguer, whom he contacted to chat all things Melbourne when the move was first on the cards.

“He told me great things about the city of Melbourne, the club and the players that are here,” Souprayen said when asked about those conversations.

“He said ‘honestly, it’s somewhere you have to come’, and that it’s an amazing life in Australia.”

Following his time in Bulgaria where he made 60 total appearances in two seasons, the time came for a big change.

“When I finished my contract, I came back to France with my family.

“I received a few offers – you see Australia in TV and movies and it seems so far away. I spoke with my wife and kids, and we thought it was a great project and an opportunity to see a new place and new culture.”

The experienced defender rates himself as a ‘fierce competitor’, which meant joining a club like Melbourne City was perfect for him.

He joins a squad that is fresh off becoming the first in A-League Men’s history to win three consecutive Premierships and is currently gearing up for a second AFC Champions League campaign in club history.

“When you watch and learn about the A-League, you see Melbourne City is a top club. They are always fighting for titles.

“I’m a competitor. I look forward to living in Melbourne, but I want to come here to win games and the title.”

Souprayen’s signing strengthens City’s squad in multiple aspects, his versatility expected to be a key asset for Rado Vidosic this season.

Across his career, he’s virtually split his time on the pitch between playing as a central defender and on the left-hand side.

Faced with a campaign that is set to be busier than ever before with a debut appearance in a ‘home-and-away’ AFC Champions League format, his ability to play multiple roles will be like gold for Vidosic.

“I was mostly a central defender before my coach at Dijon put me on the left,” Souprayen said.

On the pitch City fans can expect to see a competitive beast this season, with his style of play expected to integrate seamlessly into the City system.

“I have experience and I try to defend up the pitch and I will say I’m an intelligent guy.”

City will play its first competitive match of the new season on Sunday 13 August away to Oakleigh Cannons in the Australia Cup Round of 32, with Souprayen expected to be one of many new faces to debut in City colours.