Fri, Aug 3, 1:44pm by Head Editor
The Pre-Season transfer window may only be just over two weeks old but there have already been some big moves made and there are plenty more still on the table.
Arguably the biggest signing is yet to be announced, but according to several reports, Japanese superstar – Keisuke Honda – will pull on the navy blue and white of Melbourne Victory next season in what would be huge coup for the reigning Champions.
The 32-year-old, who scored his 37th International goal for the Samurai Blue at the recently completed World Cup in Russia, is poised to sign a marquee player contract worth close to $3 million a year.
Having announced his retirement following Japan’s 3-2 Round of 16 loss against eventual semi-finalists Belgium, the former Milan attacking midfielder is expected to put pen to paper in the coming days.
Victory also have their eye on another man who was at Russia 2018, but didn’t take the pitch, Socceroo Jamie Maclaren.
The 24-year-old striker is currently contracted to Bundesliga second division club Darmstadt, but the 2016-17 A-League Golden Boot winner has been linked with a return to his home country, and if he does come to the navy-blue half of Melbourne, it would prove to be quite the lethal attack pairing with Honda.
The 2018 Champions are equal top picks, with Sydney FC and their cross-town rivals Melbourne City, at $5, to defend their title.
Maclaren’s former club Brisbane Roar were also in the transfer headlines this week, with former Arsenal and France midfielder Mathieu Flamini reportedly very interested in making a move to the Queensland capital.
As a two-time FA Cup winner with the Gunners, who he represented 103 times, and Serie A champion with Milan in 2010-11, the Frenchman would bring a wealth of experience to a Roar line-up that were eliminated by Melbourne City in the first week of the finals last season.
Speaking of Melbourne City, they are currently in discussions with Scottish Champions Celtic regarding teenage sensation Daniel Arzani, who burst onto the international stage at the World Cup.
Should the move be made, the 19-year-old will be following in the footsteps of fellow Socceroo Aaron Mooy, who transferred from the Citizens to their parent club Manchester City and was then loaned out.
On the pitch, Sydney FC began their FFA Cup defence on Wednesday night, with a 4-2 win over Rockdale City Suns, despite going behind early.
In the night’s other Round of 32 matches, National Premier League Victoria club Heidelberg United were too strong Charlestown City Blues, earning a well-deserved 2-1 win.
Cairns FC created some history, winning an FFA Cup match for the first time, and what a way to do it, netting four goals past Armadale goalkeeper Samuel Hutchings.
A-League Championship – Sportsbet Markets
Melbourne Victory $5
Melbourne City $5
Sydney FC $5
Newcastle Jets $8.50
Perth Glory $8.50
Western Sydney Wanderers $8.50
Adelaide United $9.50
Brisbane Roar $12
Wellington Phoenix $23
Central Coast Mariners $26
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