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Apr 25, 2012

Postecoglou with Victory, now for Kewell

Harry Kewell is still not locked in at Melbourne Victory for next season, despite new coach Ange Postecoglou wanting him to stay at the A-League club.

One year into his three-year deal with the Victory, Kewell does have an 'out' clause in the contract and the club admits it is in talks with the Socceroos striker about re-negotiating the deal for him to remain in Melbourne.

Kewell wants the Victory to show it is moving the right way both on and off the field.

It is also understood the 33-year-old's new management wants to re-work aspects of his incentive-based pay deal which revolves in large part around gate receipts.

Postecoglou's unveiling on Thursday at the Victory would appear a positive sign, though he would become Kewell's third coach since he arrived in August last year at a club which has battled on and off-field turmoil.

Sources say Kewell's return to the Victory would appear more likely than not.

But Postecoglou and club chairman Anthony Di Pietro stopped short of locking in Kewell as a given for the new season starting in October, admitting "contractual issues" were being discussed.

"Any good footballer fits in with my plans ... and Harry's certainly a good player," Postecoglou said.

"But obviously there are contractual issues there, and with all those things, I'm not going to pre-judge or pre-empt anything.

"Discussions will go on, obviously I'll start to get involved now.

"If we can come to an arrangement it will be fantastic.

"I thought Harry was outstanding, particularly in the back half of last year.

"He's added a lot to the A-League. If everything gets agreed upon, it'll be great to have him on board here."

Kewell is holidaying in England with his family, and is unlikely to play in the Victory's friendly against Greek champions Olympiakos at Etihad Stadium on May 19 - Postecoglou's first match in charge.

Kewell has said he and his family enjoy Melbourne.

But having grown up in Sydney, he would be a hot property for the new western Sydney franchise planned next season.

Di Pietro said: "It's now about coming to agreement on the next step in commercial terms, and that's what we're working through."

Postecoglou's return to his home town was sealed on Thursday, agreeing a three-year deal with the Victory.

No stranger to turning underachieving clubs around, Postecoglou made wholesale changes to turn Brisbane Roar from strugglers to back-to-back A-League champions.

Postecoglou said the lure of a different challenge at the Victory, as well as a return home, were key factors in quitting the Roar just days after their grand final win.

"As a coach you have to be like a shark and keep moving. If you stop, you die," he said.

"I'm better coaching on the edge. This is a massive club with massive expectations, it's got a massive fan base, and that presents different challenges."

While Postecoglou earmarked bolstering defence and midfield and adding his own backroom staff - especially in sports medicine - the 46-year-old said he would not rush into kneejerk changes.

"I'll take the next two or three weeks to go through that," Postecoglou said.

"I've got to get my decisions right for this football club. If we want to be successful this year, I've got to be spot on.

"To be spot-on, you've got to have all the information at hand, so you're better taking your time and not rushing."

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