Aloisi keen to sign Neill for Heart
Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi says it would be great for his club, the national team and Australian soccer in general if Lucas Neill is lured to the A-League.
The current Socceroos captain could sign for the Heart within the next 48 hours, raising the enticing prospect of the 34-year-old making his A-League debut the following weekend against Sydney FC marquee man Alessandro Del Piero.
Neill has been on the lookout for a new home since he was released by United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl a fortnight ago.
Aloisi is keen to shore up his defensive stocks after losing Curtis Good, Michael Marrone and Aziz Behich in the past year.
"I had a chat to Lucas a couple of days ago to see where he was at football-wise, what he wanted out of the rest of the season - and he wants to play football," said Aloisi, who spent many years playing alongside Neill for the Socceroos.
"He wants to show he still has a good level of playing, which I believe he has.
"He's still the national team captain and he wants to win games.
"That's great for us because we want to make finals and if we make finals we've got every chance of going on to challenge and win something."
The Heart are sitting fifth and fighting to keep a spot in the top six ahead of Friday night's clash with Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.
Neill has made 89 appearances for the Socceroos and featured at two World Cups.
The central defender spent six years with Millwall in England before stints at Blackburn, West Ham, Everton and Turkish club Galatasaray.
He moved to the Middle East with Al Jazira in 2011.
Aloisi said Neill had always kept himself in good physical shape, meaning he could come in and make an immediate impact.
"He's never really had any major issues injury-wise. He's a fit guy," said Aloisi.
"He wants to hurry up and start playing because there's a game in March for the national team and he wants to be involved in that."
Heart football operations manager John Didulica said the Heart had been in contact with Neill since he parted ways with Al Wasl and those negotiations had escalated in recent days.
"We're committed to trying to bring him to the club," Didulica said on Thursday.
"Ultimately we still have to sit down and work though a number of issues - where he wants to be long-term, is the A-League a long-term stop or just something he wants to sample?
"We don't yet have answers to those questions.
"But if you get someone of that quality and that stature within your organisation, you want to keep them there as long as you can."