After the heartbreak of recent seasons is Sydney FC star, Terry Antonis, finally about to seal his dream move overseas? Headlines out of Europe is that Ollie Bozanic is off to the Serie B? And which Socceroo could be returning to the A-League in January? Read on...
FFA’s salary cap amendments have sparked a frenzy of activity, with A-League clubs looking to the Loyalty Player and Home Grown Player Allowances to help them increase their salary cap entitlements. The likes of Archie Thompson, Sebastian Ryall, Rhyan Grant, Ben Kantarovski, Alex Gersbach, Andrew Durante and Louis Fenton appear most likely to move outside the cap under the new rules.
This will, in turn, open cap space to slot current Australian marquees like Eugene Galekovic, Michael Thwaite and Alex Brosque back inside the cap, allowing their clubs to sign a second overseas marquee player if they do not yet have their allotted complement of five visa players, or a better quality of overseas-based Australian footballer.
This column will continue to track the fallout from the biggest salary cap upheaval in A-League history.
In the other big story, Terry Antonis, claimed by many as the greatest A-League talent of his generation, looks set to finally leave our shores, bound for Europe.
The Sydney FC fan favourite is expected to link with cashed-up PAOK Salonika to be paired in central midfield with former Dutch international Hedwiges Maduro under the guidance of former Croatia star Igor Tudor. The club that counts among its legends Victorian striker and current Bentleigh Greens coach John Anastasiadis.
The impending departure of Antonis offers Sydney coach Graham Arnold room to move, with Ryan Edwards, Billy Celeski and Nikita Rukavytsya all in the frame to replace the international. While the option of bringing 16-year-old super talent Daniel Arzani to the club still stands, the youngster is currently in high performance camp preparing for the Joeys’ upcoming tour of Argentina ahead of the FIFA U17 World Cup in October.
And who is the 12-year-old local talent who has already caught the eye of the Sky Blues’ coaching staff with his dazzling array of skills? None other than Terry’s younger brother, George Antonis.
As the finishing touches are being applied to transfer deals involving Europe-based Socceroos, Serie B club La Spezia may prove the destination for midfielder Ollie Bozanic. The newspaper Citta Della Spezia reports that the former FC Luzern midfielder may be on his way to the town that acts as a gateway to north-western Italy’s stunning Cinque Terre (Five Villages) region. Lucky Ollie.
Bozanic is also reportedly wanted in Germany’s Bundesliga 2 and the English Championship.
Another week, another drama for the widely-shopped around Tomi Juric. His Roda JC Kerkrade move appeared solid until multiple player agents laid claim to the deal, throwing the move into disarray. Juric is still expected at Roda and it is still possible a deal can be salvaged.
Tommy Oar’s agent Rob Jansen is in the final stages of securing a new club for the Australian winger. Jansen, whose stable includes Daley Blind, Dirk Kuyt and former Sydney FC striker Marc Janko – as well as Aussies Trent Sainsbury and Adam Sarota – counts among the best-connected agents in Europe and is believed to be on the brink of pushing through a deal for the attacker.
Dan Heffernan’s hat-trick for the Central Coast Mariners in last week’s trial match against the Western Sydney Wanderers has helped the 28-year-old English goal poacher edge closer to, amazingly, his first fully professional contract. The striker has lived in Australia since 2012, scoring goals for fun at Shepparton and Heidelberg United, and with Mariners coach Tony Walmsley on the lookout for hungry, cut-price talent, Heffernan’s remarkable journey from Sunday league to A-League football is almost complete.
And the Rest:
Jimmy Jeggo may yet get his European move…James Troisi is torn between a European career and a marquee return to the A-League…things are at crisis point at Brisbane Roar…despite decent preseason form, Fulham may still farm Adam Taggart out on loan…Melbourne City’s Aaron Mooy is now the club’s marquee player, his higher wages guaranteeing that the Socceroo midfielder remains with the club and putting paid to speculation linking City with James Troisi and Georgios Samaras…Samaras will sign for Sampdoria pending the results of his medical...Wellington Phoenix are on the verge of announcing a replacement for departed Socceroo attacker Nathan Burns...Alex Wilkinson, of K-League’s table-topping Jeonbuk Motors, may replace centre back Jacques Faty at Sydney FC in January.
Joao Pedro Watch
Manchester United’s initial bid of £4m has been knocked back by Palmeiras, who are believed to be asking for £6m. The 18-year-old has five years to run on his contract and a £20m buyout clause. Further complicating matters is the fact that the player is 50% owned by private commercial interests. Porto are also believed to have made an offer for the right back, though one smaller that of the Red Devils. Negotiations are ongoing but with so many fingers in the Joao Pedro pie, there is every possibility the player will remain with Palmeiras beyond the close of the transfer window September 1.1 comment