Socceroo Harry Kewell has been given an ultimatum by Melbourne Victory – sign by Thursday or we don’t want you.
The A-League club, which has been relentlessly wooing Kewell, has run out of patience after negotiating with Kewell and his agent Bernie Mandic since June.
Victory insiders say he has been given until the end of Thursday to commit to a complex incentive-based offer which is on the table, or the club will withdraw it.
Kewell has also been linked with Sydney FC.
It is the continued shopping-around of the 32-year-old by his management despite all stumbling blocks being cleared – including a contentious side deal with Football Federation Australia – that has led to the Victory’s ultimatum.
With the season kicking off in two months’ time, the Victory are conscious they need to either secure Kewell now or move on with their planning under new coach Mehmet Durakovic.
The uncertainty over Kewell’s future led to him missing selection for the Socceroos’ friendly against Wales next week.
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck said Kewell was not fit enough to take part in the match despite selecting skipper Lucas Neill – who like Kewell is uncontracted.
“One is fit and one is not fit,” Osieck said on Tuesday.
“Harry is not in very good shape. He didn’t have full training in the meantime (after being released) so he is definitely not in a position to play right now.”
Melbourne Victory have constantly expressed confidence the 32-year-old would eventually end up there next season.
It would be a huge blow to the club’s new management and board should they fail to secure his signature.
Should the Victory withdraw from the race to sign Kewell, Sydney FC would be in the box seat to get him, though it is understood he is considering offers in Asia and Europe.