Speedster Nikita Rukavytsya is in demand from two clubs, Archie Thompson’s future could be tied to a loyalty allowance, James Holland is being pursued for an A-League return and new Newcastle Jets coach Scott Miller has two Victorian players in his sights.
Perth Glory and Sydney FC are believed to be in the running for the services of Nikita Rukavytsya. The Ukraine-born former Socceroo is said to be eager to finalise a move and is training on his own as negotiations are hotting up. Perth is the striker’s home town, have greater salary cap space and a first 11 starting spot on offer while the Sky Blues have the carrot of Asian football and a proven coach who can get the former Hertha Berlin attacker back to his best. This isn’t a done deal but negotiations are well underway.
With FFA and PFA pay negotiations in full swing, clubs are eagerly awaiting the outcome of the “loyalty allowance” clause discussion. Essentially an allowance of around $250,000 outside the salary cap to reward players who have spent most of their playing days at one A-League club, there are still details to be ironed out but the wealthier clubs have been pushing for this (de facto) salary cap increase – at least one area of common ground with the PFA.
The Melbourne Victory future of Archie Thompson is inextricably tied to the loyalty allowance. The Victory legend’s preference is to stay put but with the club re-signing Daniel Georgievski to a two-year deal, cap space is tight and much depends on the loyalty allowance decision.
In the meantime, Thompson is being pursued by former coach Ernie Merrick, now at Wellington Phoenix. The offer is a tempting one and the former Socceroo will end his career in the country of his birth should Victory negotiations not deliver him desired outcomes. Phoenix, of course, are looking to replace the recently departed to FC Tokyo Nathan Burns - a deal reported here over a month ago.
Back to Melbourne and Mark Milligan’s recent departure to Abu Dhabi’s Bani Yas has sent Victory into Australian marquee recruitment overdrive. The southerners are prepared to spend big and James Holland, Neil Kilkenny and James Troisi have all been sounded out by the title-winning club. Troisi’s preference is to remain in Europe but Holland is said to be a distinct possibility, believing that the move will reignite his Socceroo career.
Also as reported here in recent weeks, player discontent at Brisbane Roar is at an all-time-high. D-Day is July 15th – if the players are not paid on time again, the FFA will be obliged to step in. It will not be a shock to see at least two contracted players leave the Roar as A-League clubs circle, while unsettled young attacker Brandon Borrello, still and inexplicably on a youth contract, may choose to go abroad to further his career.
To Newcastle and while new coach Scott Miller is unwilling to risk “player power” problems that plagued his predecessor Phil Stubbins, he is believed to be keen on re-signing centre back Adrian Madaschi and unpredictable winger James Virgili, a player he believes can thrive in the right coaching environment. Victorians Mate Dugandzic and Andrew Nabbout are also believed to have interested the new gaffer.
Thailand-based striker Brent McGrath has been sounded out by the Central Coast Mariners. Tony Walmsley believes that he can turn McGrath into another Daniel McBreen while the 24-year-old wants to return to Australia and has not given up hope of a Socceroo recall once he gets his career back on track.
With a new TV deal in the early stages of negotiations, pressure is on Sydney FC to deliver another marquee player of Alessandro Del Piero’s stature. With Carlton Cole’s Wanderers deal seemingly on the scrap heap, the powers-that-be would love a big name to help secure the game’s biggest all-time TV windfall. To that end, expansion is also on the agenda, with two new A-League clubs a possibility for the 2016/7 season, Tim Cahill a headline act for one of the expansion teams.
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Meanwhile, 21-year-old former Swansea and Tottenham centre back Giancarlo Gallifuoco has been sounded out for an Australian return…stand by for an announcement on Scott McDonald’s future in the next fortnight…Milos Dimitrijevic has taken Sydney FC’s grand final defeat to heart and is still unsure of his next move… Nick Carle is weighing up offers from two A-League clubs but has yet to decide if he wishes to return to the cut-and-thrust of the A-League or step down to the NSW Premier League 1 to focus on his business and coaching interests...Robbie Kruse may be loaned to a Bundesliga 2 club…And former Colo-Colo keeper John Crawley has linked up with ex-boss Graham Arnold to become the new goalkeeping coach of Sydney FC.