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 By AAP

Brisbane Roar in talks with NEC Nijmegen for Stefan Mauk

Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine hails "leader" Tim Cahill as the veteran has been included in the preliminary Australia World Cup 2018 squad.
The ESPN panel in London are skeptical of Australia ahead of the World Cup with Bert van Marwijk's defensive mindset and an aging squad.

With Daniel De Silva out of their sights, Brisbane Roar have shifted their attention to luring Stefan Mauk back to the A-League.

Mauk returned to Dutch side NEC after Melbourne City's semifinal loss and was believed to be considering his future, including a possible move to England.

But it's understood the Roar have been in behind-the-scenes negotiations to buy the attacking midfielder as coach John Aloisi looks to inject youth into his ageing side.

NEC technical director Remco Oversier confirmed the talks which, if successful, would see Mauk leave the club a year before his contract expires.

Mauk's first European experience hasn't turned out exactly how he'd hoped.

After signing from Adelaide United in 2016, he made just three appearances in all competitions as NEC suffered relegation.

With his promising career in limbo, the 22-year-old sought other options before City snapped him up ahead of last season and handed him 22 starts over 23 appearances.

The pull of England may remain but a taste of regular game time might also prompt Mauk to consider joining a revamped Roar forward line featuring ex-Perth striker Adam Taggart, Danish winger Tobias Mikkelsen and French winger Eric Bautheac.

Mauk's signature would be another coup for Aloisi as he aims to steer Brisbane back to former heights after a slow-starting last season.

It would also fill a required role after the club was unable to persuade in-demand De Silva up north as the 21-year-old considers a move away from Central Coast.

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