April 08, 2015 11:34:27 UK
Sydney FC have offered veteran striker Shane Smeltz a new two-year deal, and have refused his request to move to a Malaysian club.
The former New Zealand international is wanted by Felda United, who have offered him a lucrative contract.
But though he has spent this season as a back-up striker with the Sky Blues, who are 5.00 to win the Grand Final, coach Graham Arnold says the 33-year-old still has a future at the club.
Though the Malaysian transfer window has opened, the fact that Sydney wouldn’t be able to sign a replacement for Smeltz for the rest of this season means Arnold won’t allow him to leave.
Smeltz is the only recognised cover for the current front three of marquee Marc Janko, Alex Brosque and Bernie Ibini.
The two-time A-League Golden Boot winner is second on the league’s all-time goalscoring list and remains a potent threat – he has scored seven goals for the Sky Blues despite only making eight starts this season.
Arnold said: “The timing of this is terrible – if there was a way I could solve it and bring a replacement in, then of course I’d consider it.”
The Sydney coach said he understood Smeltz’s position but that he had to do what was right for the club, especially at this stage of the season.
“I’ve never tried to stand in the way of players with good opportunities, but the fact is I can’t bring anyone in with our transfer window closed,” he added.
“We’ve offered Shane a two-year deal as a statement of our faith in him; we want him to stay beyond this season.”
Meanwhile, the Sky Blues are set to be without Senegalese midfielder Mickael Tavares (groin) for Friday’s trip to Perth Glory where they are 2.70.
Fellow midfielder Terry Antonis will be sidelined with knee ligament issues for at least another fortnight.
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