Harry Kewell’s future remains unclear after Melbourne Victory caved in on their ultimatum to the procrastinating Socceroo.
The Victory now say they are in the final stages of discussions with Kewell, further extending negotiations which have dragged on for nearly two months.
After slapping a Thursday deadline on Kewell to accept their offer or have it withdrawn, then massaging the timeframe out to Friday to allow for European time, the A-League club has now u-turned altogether.
“Melbourne Victory Football Club can confirm that it is in the final stages of discussions with Harry Kewell and his management.
We expect to be in a position to announce an outcome shortly,” the Victory said in a statement said.
The fact negotiations are now back on either means the Victory are close to a deal, or facing huge embarrassment if he doesn’t sign with them and they have been used to add extra zeroes to a contract elsewhere.
Kewell has been linked with Dubai-based club Al Ahli, with the 32-year-old and his family reportedly holidaying in Dubai for the past week.
But the most persistent suitors for the Socceroos star have been the Victory, who along with Sydney FC were aiming to secure what would be the biggest drawcard in A-League history.
Any Kewell move away from the family’s northern England base will be more complicated after revelations Kewell’s actress wife Sheree Murphy is four months’ pregnant with the couple’s fourth child.
How that impacts upon any deal to move the family to Australia remains to be seen.
The Victory have been negotiating with Kewell since June, offering a deal in which he gets to share in up to 80 per cent of revenue he generates for the club. Sydney FC are playing it far cooler on Kewell, saying they are happy to let him decide on any possible move to the Sky Blues without deadline pressure.
Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley said his organisation remained keen for a club to lure Kewell back to Australia. It is understood the hurdle over a contentious FFA side deal as part of any Victory or Sydney FC contract has been overcome.
“We have always said we would support Harry’s move back here, we think he would be a wonderful ambassador for the game, and we are prepared to support that,” Buckley said on Friday.
“We haven’t drawn a line in the sand. He has got to go through a decision-making process and we respect that.”