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Jan 12, 2006

Thompson threatens Victory walkout

Socceroo striker Archie Thompson is close to walking out on A-League club Melbourne Victory as his proposed dream transfer to one of Europe's soccer giants turns ugly.

Thompson is being sought by Dutch team PSV Eindhoven, coached by Socceroos boss Guus Hiddink - a move which would allow him the chance of playing in the world's best club competition, the European Champions League.

But talks between the clubs over Thompson's proposed deal - initially on a six-month loan with a $A500,000 transfer fee if the loan spell goes well - have broken down, possibly irretrievably.

The sticking point is the Victory's insistence any buyout figure be negotiated at the end of the loan period, allowing Melbourne to jack up the price should Thompson be a success at PSV.

Thompson, who has been shielded from the media by the Victory since speculation about PSV's interest started two weeks ago, held his own impromptu press conference after training.

In a rare outburst, the usually mild-mannered Thompson said he was upset with the club's handling of the transfer and threatened to quit if the move did not proceed.

"When you work all your life for an opportunity like this and for them to throw it away, I would just be so disappointed," he said.

"I just don't think I could play for Victory at all.

"I think the supporters would understand and the players would understand if my motivation wasn't there."

Thompson, 27, is just six months into a four-year contract with the Victory, which he signed mid-2005 after coming out of his deal at Belgian club Lierse.

His stocks have risen since his move to Melbourne, winning back his Socceroos spot and becoming one of the fledgling league's shining stars.

But the PSV deal would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Thompson, who would also be able to maintain peak fitness ahead of Australia's World Cup campaign rather than be without regular football when his club's A-League season finishes.

That could be as soon as three weeks away, with the Victory's hopes of making the finals slim at best after a 1-0 loss to Adelaide United last week.

It could still be in with a chance of making the final four if it beats Queensland Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, depending on other results from the weekend.

Thompson has been named in Melbourne's squad for its A-League match against Queensland Roar in Brisbane on Sunday, but would appear unlikely to play if the impasse over his transfer is not resolved by then.

"It's been so emotional, stressful, frustrating. It's such a huge club, such a huge opportunity," Thompson said.

"I don't want them to throw it away for me, and I feel that they are.

"When you've got people inside the club damaging this opportunity when you've done the best by them, it's really difficult.

"I'm already there at PSV. I'm already there mentally, I just want to be there physically so I hope they sort this out."

Victory chairman Geoff Lord defended his club's handling of Thompson's proposed transfer.

"We're doing everything we can to broker an agreement that makes some sense," Lord said.