Babalj set for January switch

AZ Alkmaar may allow striker Eli Babalj to leave during the January transfer window after the Australian failed to break into the first team.

The 22-year-old former Melbourne Heart hitman hasn’t made his AZ debut since joining the Dutch club in April 2013.

Injuries plagued Babalj during his first season in the Netherlands, but he hasn’t been able to force his way into the side this term despite being fully fit.

Babalj was last week left out of the club’s 27-man squad for their winter training camp in Portugal.

AZ technical director Ernie Stewart confirmed in the Dutch press that the Australian may be allowed to exit during January with reports of foreign interest.

"We signed Eli because we saw certain qualities in him, but they have not yet materialised,” Stewart told the Noordhollands Dagblad.

“The difference between Australian football and the Eredivisie turns out to be pretty large.”

Babalj has been banging on the AZ first-team door, with numerous goals for the club’s reserves side, Jong AZ, but hasn’t been able to make his debut.

The Sarajevo-born Perth-raised striker has two Socceroos caps to his name from late 2012, debuting against South Korea before netting a double against Guam.