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Jan 3, 2006

Speculation over Thompson's future

Socceroos striker Archie Thompson's future and his club's A-League finals hopes are likely to be decided by the result of Melbourne Victory's match against Adelaide United on Thursday night.

Thompson has been linked with a dream transfer to European giant PSV Eindhoven - Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink's Dutch club side - during the European transfer window which closes on January 31.

The player's agent John Grimaud says he has had preliminary discussions about a possible move, while Thompson has admitted joining a club playing in the European Champions' League would be a dream come true.

Melbourne Victory insisted PSV had made no formal approach to sign Thompson either on a loan deal or permanent transfer, and has made the Socceroos striker off-limits to media.

Instead it was left to Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick to do the talking, hinting the speculation was a media and agent beat-up and saying Thompson was committed to helping the Victory make the final four.

"Isn't he going over for a million or two? According to journalists and his agent a deal is done," a clearly exasperated Merrick said at training on Wednesday.

"We know nothing about it and PSV haven't called us but if you read a newspaper, the journalists and agent have got it all fixed up.

"PSV have never phoned us, never contacted us. There's been no communication.

"Archie's really keen to help us qualify for the finals of the A-League and nothing's changed."

But it could alter the club's and Thompson's thinking if the Victory loses to league leader Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium, with defeat likely to wreck Melbourne's chances of making the top four.

With five matches remaining, Victory sits sixth - three points behind fourth-placed Central Coast and fifth-placed Perth.

And with any permanent move for Thompson likely to net around $1 million in a transfer fee for the club, Victory could well decide to cash in on its most prized asset if finals football looks unlikely and build for next year.

Thompson also needs to maintain fitness ahead of Australia's World Cup finals campaign, with Champions League football under the watchful eye of his national coach seemingly the perfect place to do it.

Meanwhile, the Victory has signed defender Rama Tavsancioglu from Victorian Premier League club South Melbourne on a four-week contract to replace injured Carl Recchia.

The speedy Tavsancioglu has played in Turkey with Super League club MKE Ankaragucu and will be included in the Victory squad which heads to Adelaide on Thursday.