By Paul Frederickson
The funny period is in session. It is that time of year when the world's major leagues are in hiatus, no offense to the J, K and MLS leagues! Players once more become a commodity to be bought and sold, rumors abound and player managers rub their hands together and brush off their abacus equipment in preparation for their financial cuts.
The A-League, even with four months to go before a ball is kicked in anger is not immune to the transfer fever that envelopes the world. Marcus Flores has been in off-again, on-again negotiations with his current club Adelaide United and is no certainty to remain with the Reds. But that news pales in comparison with the latest rumors circulating the Australian presses. Harry Kewell, the former Leeds, Liverpool and Galatasary star is the target of both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC and he is the hottest news of the A-League's extended pre-season.
We want and need Socceroo icons to return to Australia and play in the A-League. Whilst children can see the Socceroos on Fox Sports playing around the world's major leagues, emulate them in Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 games and adorning the outside of cereal boxes, this is not enough for the local game. But, seeing them week in, week out in our national competition would change the dynamic immensely and irrevocably.
Edwin Chong reporting for Sky Sports, suggested that, "Kewell fits the bill perfectly but would command a salary of around £1.5million per year, which is a sizeable stretch for any Australian outfit." (1)
Shirt sales, seat sales and a door kicked slightly open to the mainstream press. These are the initial positives that Kewell could bring to the A-league. Arguably Kewell would be the first 'star' Australian player to return to the A-league. This is no disrespect to Jason Cullina who would himself say that he is not in the star mould of the Kewell's and Cahill's of the current Socceroo fold.
It is hard to believe that Kewell is only 32. Whilst many would argue that his best years are behind him, the years that he has been sidelined with numerous groin related injuries may also give Kewell the freshness to play many more years. These are the factors that Melbourne and Sydney and any late suitor will have to carefully consider. Maybe the FFA should also reconsider their previous opposition to supplementing player incomes for the long-term gains that Kewell would bring.
What do you think? Should Kewell come home? Would you watch Kewell play? Who is the better fit, Melbourne or Sydney?