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Jan 31, 2007

Harnwell stunned as Glory mulls transfer

The fallout from the worst season in Perth Glory's history is continuing, with even skipper Jamie Harnwell finding out he is not indispensable to manager Ron Smith.

As Smith picks through the carcass of a disastrous year, it has emerged the club is willing to let Harnwell go, after a transfer request from an Asian based club.

While Harnwell turned down the offer, New Zealand midfielder Leo Bertos has been granted a trial with Greek club Skoda Xanthi FC, and Simon Colosimo will attempt to revive his stalled Socceroos career during a four-month loan with Turkish club Sivasspor FC.

That the Glory were willing to allow Harnwell to depart stunned the player who reinvented himself as a striker late in the A-League season, ending as the club's top scorer with seven.

Smith said after Harnwell turned down the offer, Glory were now planning to have the 29-year-old in its squad next year, but the Perth-born stalwart was still likely to play a reduced role.

"I told Jamie I thought he had done a great job on and off field," Smith said.

"But I had also been approached by an Asian-based club who expressed a desire to have Jamie in their squad, and in his best interests I let him know about the offer so he could consider his long-term future.

"I felt obliged to inform Jamie of the offer and following our discussions I was of the understanding he didn't wish to pursue it any further and I'm planning for him to be part of our squad next season.

"With the need for the club to change direction I informed him he would have a more limited role than this season on the pitch."

As well as leading the team to within a point of the A-League's wooden spoon, Harnwell was also involved in the season's ugliest incident, a brawl with teammate Adrian Webster broadcast live on national television.

A Glory spokesman said Harnwell did not want to comment, after the defender earlier admitted he had been stunned by the club's position.

"It was a massive shock. I just sat there and was a bit stunned for a while," Harnwell told The West Australian newspaper.

"I haven't made up my mind what I'm going to do but if I stay it's obviously going to be difficult to keep my place."

Smith said a lack of firepower up front, and a lack of pace at the back - one of the reasons for Harnwell going down the pecking order - were the main deficiencies needing attention.

"We weren't able to score enough goals and that is one of the main areas which I'll address during the off-season," Smith said.

"We also lacked pace in defence and up-front and were caught out by the speed of opposition teams on occasion so that also needs to be rectified."

Meanwhile Colosimo, who has not played for Australia for almost two years, hopes to place his international credentials in front of Graham Arnold by playing in Turkey's top division with Sivasspor.

The 28-year-old has one more year left to run on his Glory contract.