Zwolle pleased with Babalj swoop

Australian striker Eli Babalj will join Socceroo Trent Sainsbury at PEC Zwolle after agreeing to a deadline day loan deal with the Eredivisie club.

Babalj joins Zwolle from AZ Alkmaar, where he is yet to make his first-team debut, until the end of the season.

The 22-year-old confirmed the news to FourFourTwo on deadline day, having gone on trial at Zwolle on Friday.

He is set to officially put pen to paper on the deal on Monday afternoon Dutch time.

Zwolle are keen to finalise the paperwork and obtain his work permit in time for Wednesday's league clash with struggling Dordrecht.

The move will see Babalj link up with fellow Perth product Sainsbury, who spent time together in the WA under-age system in their teens, before coming through the AIS and Socceroos youth teams alongside each other.

Sainsbury this week lifted the Asian Cup with the Socceroos and was named in the Team of the Tournament.

Babalj’s new club may be fourth and reigning Dutch Cup winners, but he is likely to come into the first team contention, after losing the services of on-loan striker and top scorer Tomas Necid to CSKA Moscow in January.

Zwolle technical director Gerard Nijkamp told ''As far as I understand, Necid must return to CSKA Moscow.

“That's unfortunate, but we are happy with the arrival of Babalj.”

The former Melbourne Heart man has been on the lookout for a new club throughout the transfer window, having missed AZ’s winter training camp in Portugal.

AZ technical director Ernie Stewart confirmed in the Dutch press last month that the club were keen to find him a loan deal to help him meet his potential.

"We signed Eli because we saw certain qualities in him, but they have not yet materialised,” Stewart told the Noordhollands Dagblad at the time.

AZ signed Sarajevo-born Babalj from Heart in April 2013 for a fee believed to be in region of AU$200,000.