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May 15, 2012

Carlos Hernandez set to leave Victory

Former A-League player of the year Carlos Hernandez is bound for the Melbourne Victory exit door.

New Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has confirmed Costa Rican international Hernandez, who is out of contract, is unlikely to agree a new one.

Postecoglou wants to free up salary cap space to start the rebuilding at the underperforming club.

The reported $350,000 a season 30-year-old Hernandez is seeking is seen as too much for a player praised for his brilliance but questioned for his workrate and fitness.

"It looks like it's becoming increasingly difficult to fit him in," Postecoglou told Radio Sports National about Hernandez.

"From my point of view, I need to change things here.

"I want to play a different style of football and when you look at Carlos, he's out of contract.

"With the salary cap, I just think we need a little bit more to manoeuvre with. This is my opportunity to change things around. It's going to be very hard to fit Carlos in there."

Renowned for his long-range thunderbolt goals, Hernandez had been linked with a possible move to Adelaide United, though his salary demands would suggest a move overseas is more likely.

But the news is brighter for Socceroo Harry Kewell, who is understood to be close to agreeing to a rejigged deal to stay at the Victory.

After re-organising the club's football department, Postecoglou is keen to nail down his foreign signings first, earmarking a central defender and defensive midfielder as priorities to strengthen the squad.

The size of Kewell's pay packet is also set to determine the level of Victory's spending on new players.

"We found in Brisbane if you get the right foreigners in the mix, you can certainly make a difference," Postecoglou said.

"Our first couple of signings will be foreigners.

"That's where I want to spend the cash first. Then we'll see what we have for Australian players."

Already the Victory have released goalkeeper Ante Covic and two-time championship hero Grant Brebner - both veterans out of contract.

But Postecoglou said their release was not necessarily a comment on the players, more about creating the freedom to bring in the right new talent.

"When you're restricted by salary caps, if you want to make changes, you have to make decisions and release people," Postecoglou said.

"It's my opportunity to stamp my authority on the club, and my style on the club. And that releases some spots where I can bring some people in."

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