Is Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak on his way out of Selhurst Park? What next for clubless Nikita Rukavytsya? And Central Coast Mariners are on the verge of announcing two new signings. Read on...
The big news is the career direction taken by Socceroo James Troisi. As has been widely rumoured, the Asian Cup hero has signed a lucrative two-year deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad. Troisi after fielding offers from Europe while A-League clubs priced themselves out of the market.
With Troisi joining current Socceroo Mark Milligan in the Middle East, it will be interesting to observe whether national coach Ange Postecoglou changes his stance on players plying their trade in that part of the world.
Interesting times ahead.
Meanwhile, there are rumours of a loan move by Socceroo skipper Mile Jedinak away to West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City or Watford FC. It is understood the midfielder and Crystal Palace club captain had his heart set on staying and fighting for his spot but new coach Alan Pardew has been engineering his move away from Selhurst Park.
There is a cone of silence surrounding the future of the players at the National Centre of Excellence in Canberra. Currently on their European tour in preparation for the FIFA U17 World Cup, players have been warned not to go public with details of any impending moves, either to A-League clubs or abroad.
A number of clubs have been interested in the services of headline acts Perry Fotakopoulos, Jackson Bandiera, Nicholas Panetta, Daniel Arzani, Daniel Maskin and Kosta Petratos but it is understood they have been forced into a waiting game as the squad’s management and coach Tony Vidmar, leave no stone unturned in their preparation to take on Germany, Mexico and Argentina in the World Cup in October.
Striker Peter Skapetis, 20, is completing his rehabilitation from knee surgery and is believed to be almost back to full training. Skapetis, a member of Stoke City’s Under 21 squad, is working hard to put a horror 12 months behind him and is targeting a return to the Olyroos early next year.
Forgotten man Nikita Rukavytsya is back home in Perth and remains clubless. The former Socceroo, whose brief stint at the Western Sydney Wanderers was considered unsuccessful by many, is a free agent, so not bound by the European transfer window as he continues to train on his own. It is believed that the striker’s preference is to sign for an A-League club but should this not eventuate, one of his options is the Israel Premier League, a possibility given that his Israeli wife’s family resides in Tel Aviv.
Fulham FC’s Cameron Burgess has been an ever-present at the heart of the club’s Under 21 defence and has been assured that he is firmly in The Cottagers’ plans by first team manager Kit Symons, despite the club recently signing former Wolverhampton FC defender Richard Stearman.
Burgess’ Olyroo teammate, Adam Taggart, meanwhile, may have a harder time convincing the boss that he has a future at the club but is being given every opportunity to press his case as he makes his return following a preseason hamstring strain. Taggart was given a start in the 0-3 loss to the Wolves U21s and performed creditably despite the result.
As reported here in recent months, the stoush between the PFA and FFA was only going to escalate and the PFA have flexed their muscle by instituting Socceroo industrial action in the run up to their World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh in Perth on Thursday night. Players are boycotting sponsor appearances while PFA have assured the fans that the Socceroos will don the Green and Gold on Thursday. Public opinion remains divided and things are set to get uglier.
Newly called-up to the Socceroos, Luke Brattan is exploring his options, having obtained a release from Brisbane Roar following the club’s failure to pay superannuation. Brattan is believed to be keen on testing himself in Europe and his selection to the national side can only strengthen his overseas appeal. It is understood that a Dutch club has already expressed interest in his services but nothing will be settled until after he completes his Socceroo commitments.
Rumours of former Danish international goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen signing with Melbourne City proved true and the 39-year-old becomes only the third goalkeeping import in A-League history after Perth Glory’s Serbian Milan Jovanic and Wellington Phoenix’s Tony Warner from Trinidad and Tobago. The move has raised eyebrows among fans and commentators, many believing that using a visa spot on a goalkeeper is a waste.
Time will tell.
Finally, striker Andrew Nabbout, cut by Melbourne Victory in May, has been trialling with the Central Coast Mariners, with a decision due shortly. Still at the Mariners and Heidelberg’s Dan Heffernan, last week’s FFA goal scorer, is expected to be offered a deal by the Gosford club in a matter of days.
Next week this column will be undertaking a research trip to Hayman Island to conduct a football feasibility study and as such will be unable to bring you your weekly serving of Australian football rumours, gossip and innuendo.
The column will be back on deck the following week.comments