June 11, 2015 12:25:14 UK
Wellington Phoenix have pulled out of the race to sign veteran Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson, but the former Socceroo might still be unable to stay with the A-League champions.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick, who guided Victory to two premierships and two Grand Finals in his years with the club, had been keen to link up again with Thompson.
I can categorically state that we won’t sign him and I think Victory fans would appreciate that.
Reports suggest, though, that the A-League’s all-time leading goalscorer ruled himself out of a contract with Wellington when he failed to meet the Phoenix’s deadline to sign a one-year, $200,000 deal.
It led Merrick to declare his club out of the running, saying: “We’re not making any more moves to sign him, in fact I’m making a point of moving in a different direction.
“We’re pulling out. I can categorically state that we won’t sign him and I think Victory fans would appreciate that.”
Whether Victory fans do get another chance to see him in action is up in the air – he is out of contract after making 210 appearances and scoring 89 goals for the club.
It’s understood that the 36-year-old will move to Asia unless the league introduces a veterans allowance into the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Football Federation Australia, the players’ union and club representatives continue to haggle over the potential introduction of the allowance, with the current CBA set to expire on 30th June.
If it is agreed, the veteran allowance would see a percentage of salaries paid to players like Thompson – who have been with a club for more than five years – not counted under the salary cap.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat, whose team are 3.75 to win the 2015-16 Grand Final, has said he wants to keep Thompson for what would be his 11th season in the A-League.
Meanwhile, Australia are 2.60 to win their next game at the Women’s World Cup against Nigeria, who are 2.50 with the draw 3.60.
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