Mariners hint at Sydney player swap for Caceres

Central Coast Mariners coach Tony Walmsley says Sydney FC may have to hand over some of their own players if they want to see Anthony Caceres playing for the Sky Blues anytime soon.

As reported by FourFourTwo this week, Caceres has been linked with a move to the Sky Blues but still has another year to run on his contract.

The 23-year-old was dropped for the Mariners 3-1 New Year’s Eve win over Wellington Phoenix and Walmsley has given no guarantees when he’ll return to the line-up.

But he said the playmaker remained one of the club’s “prized assets”and suggested he would only exit for a beneficial player swap or "money on the table".

Earlier Walmsley conceded there were no transfer fees between A-League clubs.

“We value Caceres very highly,” he said. “He’s one of our prized assets.

“Any move to another A-League club would be dependent on players coming the other way who are desirable to us and would add to the strength of our team.

“Sydney FC going into an ACL (AFC Champions League) are going to be looking for more players not looking to offload players.

“I’ve heard there’s interest (in Caceres) but the club’s not doing anything unless there’s either money on the table or something that is really too compelling to let one of our best young players go in the middle of his contract.”

There has already been a player swap in the transfer window.

The Advertiser reports that the Reds Osama Malik is heading to Melbourne City while David Williams is headed the other way.

Meanwhile Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald were both absent from the line-up as the last-placed Mariners picked up just their second win of the season on Thursday night.

Walmsley said of his selection: “They got left out for the boys that did the shift tonight. Like every player they have to come back and fight for their spots.

“They’ll be training Saturday and we’ll see how they show up for the Melbourne Victory game next week. Places are always up for grabs but those boys that played tonight have done themselves a tremendous amount of good.

“They’ll be going into a Victory game, that’s always difficult but a team that’s also been struggling of late, with their tails up which if fantastic.”

He added: “You wouldn’t want to be making significant changes (to the line-up) at all based on what we put out there tonight.

“Every team we play is above us at the moment. It’s going to be that way for a few weeks until we can clawback within striking distance and then we’ll take it from there.

“But I’m very proud of Central Coast Mariners tonight and being Head Coach of that performance – they were fantastic.”

Asked about Sydney coach Graham Arnold’s comment that the phones are “working hot” leading into the January transfer window, Walmsley was quick to point out the financial disparity between the two clubs. 

“If he wants to give us some players, we’d be really interested in looking at what they’ve got," he said of the former Mariners coach. "We just can’t afford to pay for any of them.”