Transfer rumours: Australia loses Jones, gains Neill?

Is former Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill headed for the NSW Premier League? Will Socceroos' target Gethin Jones commit his future to high-flyers, Wales, now ranked No.9 in the world? And which Olyroos defender is a few inches short of a sure thing? Read on... 

As the most tumultuous off-season in recent history enters its final weeks, with most Australian footballers now gainfully employed, this column takes a final glance at the transfer window before taking a break, at least until January.

Olyroo and one-time Liverpool left back Brad Smith is on trial with League One outfit Barnsley FC. The 21-year-old Penrith boy has another week to prove his worth to manager Lee Johnson, who stated, rather bizarrely, that he would be “banging the door down” to sign Smith had the defender been six foot two. Not a great pointer to the playing style of the Yorkshire club – or its manager’s football philosophy - but Smith is desperate to secure a club and get his career back on track.

Sydney FC have a fight on their hands to secure the signatures of local teens Daniel Arzani and Daniel Maskin. Midfielder Arzani has fielded offers from Italy and is now expected to become a Serie A Primavera player while Maskin, a winger who has endured a tough year with injury, is believed to have sparked the interest of Club Brugge.

Nothing will be confirmed until after the U 17 World Cup in October.

It appears that Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou’s chances of wooing Everton’s talented 19-year-old right back Gethin Jones have taken a nosedive. The West Australian is now a Wales Under 21 international after representing them at Under 17 and Under 19 level and is set to make a senior debut for the Dragons in the next 12 months. Wales’ recent European successes have played no small part in Jones’ decision to give up on a Socceroo cap.

Dario Vidosic continues to have a tough time of it at Swiss club Sion FC and is once again being linked with an A-League return. It appears that Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers are the two Australian clubs most keen on bringing home the former Socceroo midfielder.

Rhain Davis is making steady progress at Altrincham, the Manchester club that plays in England’s National League, the fifth tier of English football. The 17-year-old midfielder has been given squad number 24 and is expected to make a strong push for the senior team in the next twelve months after some outstanding performances last season for the club’s Under 21s.

The odds of Socceroo legend and World Cup captain Lucas Neill joining NSW NPL 1’s Hakoah Sydney City are shortening by the day. Neill, 37, who never formally announced his retirement, has been living in Blackburn but is expected to link up with best friend and Hakoah coach Mark Robertson next season.

Meanwhile, the newly promoted club has made enquiries about making a return to ES Marks Field. There are hurdles to negotiate but the stadium is the club’s spiritual home and one at which it won so many titles down the years.

Legendary US baseball coach Casey Stengel once said, “Never make predictions, especially about the future”. Foolishly ignoring the great man’s advice, here’s a gaze into the crystal ball for the months ahead:

  • Tim Cahill to announce a massive deal with a Qatari club in the next few months
  • Another player to follow Luke Brattan out of beleaguered Brisbane Roar in coming weeks
  • Craig Goodwin to head overseas, either in January or at the conclusion of the A-League season
  • Joey Kosta Petratos to sign with Sydney FC in October
  • Billy Celeski to find himself a new A-League club
  • Adam Taggart to make his loan move to Dundee United permanent by Christmas
  • Peter Triantis to come in as a January A-League injury replacement
  • Mark Bresciano to join an A-League club as a guest player.