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Jan 25, 2010

Sterjovski weighing up Chinese offer

Perth Glory marquee man Mile Sterjovski is poised to leave the A-League club after receiving an offer to join Chinese Super League outfit Shandong Luneng on a loan deal.

Sterjovski, desperate to keep his World Cup dream alive, will weigh up the offer in the next 48 hours.

The deal is to run from February 1 through to May 31.

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has made it clear any players who stay in Australia until the end of the season won't be on the plane to South Africa given the A-League season finishes months before the start of the World Cup.

Perth chief executive Paul Kelly confirmed the club had given Sterjovski the green light to leave the club to enhance his World Cup prospects.

It is a position in stark contrast to that of Sydney FC, who have barred their players from leaving before the end of the A-League season.

With Perth still in the hunt for a top-four finish, Kelly said Sterjovski was torn between his loyalty towards the club and the lure of another World Cup.

"The club's viewpoint is we'll support Mile and any of the players involved in Socceroos action with whatever they do," Kelly said on Tuesday.

"If that means Mile has to go on transfer that's fine.

"When we signed the Socceroos we knew this could be the case and we will support them right through that.

"He wants to play in the greatest event on Earth so you can't blame the lad.

"If that was me I'd be trying to get the best possible outcome for myself playing in a World Cup."

Sterjovski's Glory team-mate Chris Coyne flew to China to train with Shandong earlier this month but the fringe Socceroo failed to secure a deal.

Glory skipper Jacob Burns is still searching for a loan deal and there's a big prospect both he and Coyne may play out the season with Perth, who are almost certain to feature in the A-League finals for the first time.

"Their preference is to stay with the club but if they get offers and they want to go then we will support their World Cup bid," Kelly said.

The Glory currently sit fifth on the table, just one point adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle ahead of Sunday's clash with Central Coast.

Kelly said the club hadn't lined up a replacement for Sterjovski should the 30-year-old decide to leave.

Meanwhile, Perth will defend a team misconduct charge laid against them for their part in a melee in last week's 2-0 win over Wellington.

Perth have until close of business on Thursday to put their case forward to Football Federation Australia.

"We believe our players went in to break it up, diffuse the situation," Kelly said.

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