April 29, 2015 12:49:27 UK
Melbourne City are set to head the queue to sign Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic, after he walked out on Russian club Torpedo Moscow.
Franjic would be welcomed back with open arms in Australia following an unhappy eight months in Russia. He left Brisbane Roar at the end of last season on a high, having won his third A-League championship with the club.
Franjic was Ange Postecoglou’s first-choice right back at last year’s World Cup in Brazil but, after setting up Australia’s goal in their opening 3-1 defeat to Chile, he suffered a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the rest of the tournament.
Injury contributed to him playing just four matches for Torpedo, who blocked his request to return to Australia on loan in January.
The defender started the year by helping the Socceroos win the Asian Cup, but his frustrations in Moscow continued and he has terminated his contract with Torpedo claiming he is owed money.
Franjic had two more years to run on his contract but has flow out of the country after consulting with the Professional Footballers’ Association and his agent Zeljko Susa.
The 27-year-old had been on the verge of joining Melbourne City, who are 21.00 to win the Grand Final, during the January transfer window before his Russian team insisted he stay.
City have the deepest pockets of any Australian club and coach John van ‘t Schip is expected to pursue his interest in Franjic, who on Monday was named in the A-League team of the decade.
His former club Brisbane, who also made an offer in January, are also expected to submit a bid along with Sydney FC.
Franjic has fully recovered from the adductor injury that forced him off in the Asian Cup final, and is in contention to play in Australia’s first 2018 World Cup qualifier away to Kyrgyzstan in June.
Wellington Phoenix, who finished third in the A-League table, are 2.10 to win their elimination final against Melbourne City, who are 3.30.
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