Central Coast Mariners have confirmed that last season's Golden Boot winner, Daniel McBreen, has transferred to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG on a one-season deal with the blessing of the Gosford club's fans.
New Mariners Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bruce Stalder, today canvassed club supporters to gauge the views of the fans regarding the veteran striker's proposed move back to Xi Zhikang’s side.
Stakeholders from the club’s Official Supporters Club, as well as active supporters group, the Yellow Army, combined with numerous fans on social media, expressed their belief that it is in the best long-term interests of McBreen and his family for him to be permitted to sign with Shanghai East Asia.
Subsequently, the Mariners today worked with McBreen, his management, and Shanghai SIPG to come to a financial agreement for the transfer of the former Falkirk frontman to China.
Despite the fact McBreen won’t leave Australia for China until at least late next week, the transfer completed today renders McBreen ineligible for this Sunday’s A-League clash against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
“Being with the Mariners has been one of the most enjoyable times in my football career,” McBreen said on Friday. “But at this time in my life I need to think about my family, and another opportunity like this might not happen again.”
“I am extremely grateful to the Mariners for coming to this agreement, and I am sure that the team will continue to perform strongly – as they have done many times in the past when losing players.”
“I’d like to thank the fans and the Central Coast community for their support throughout my time with the Club,” he said.
Stalder, said McBreen’s transfer was unique for the club, with the Mariners seeking the collaboration of fans in a crucial decision-making process.
“We are committed to re-engaging with our supporters here on the Central Coast and will be seeking their input on a number of key decisions in the future,” Stalder said.
“Today I contacted supporters directly to ask their opinions on McBreen proposed move. The consensus was that Daniel should be allowed to move so long as the club was fairly compensated, which it has been.”
“We are now turning our focus to bringing a number of high quality players into the club, and believe we will have a number of new recruits to announce within the coming days.”
Mariners head coach Phil Moss was upbeat despite the recent departures of key players, Trent Sainsbury and McBreen.
"Sainsbury and McBreen have given us fantastic service and were important parts of our championship and premiership winning sides," Moss said. "Both players leave with our full blessing and backing, and while it’s always sad to see players go, they’re moving on to fantastic opportunities for themselves.”
“I can assure our fans that we are very active in the transfer market, and there will be further announcements over the next couple of days.”
He added: “I have so much confidence in the squad that remains, and obviously we are in a fantastic position at this time of the season. The players that we will be bringing in will only add quality to the squad we already have.”
The Mariners confirmed that fans will have an opportunity to speak with McBreen directly before he departs for China. Further details will be posted on the club’s website and shared on its social media channels over the coming days.