Football 2 years ago

Mariners shut Samaras door as window opens

  • Mariners shut Samaras door as window opens

Central Coast have shut the door on the prospect of signing former Greece striker Georgios Samaras, as other A-League clubs remain lukewarm on a number of high-profile players on offer this summer.

The January transfer window opens on Tuesday and while most activity is likely to be local, the circulation of big names including Brazilian icon Ronaldinho has given Football Federation Australia (FFA) hope that fans may have reason to get excited again.

But Ronaldinho's Australian-based agent has reportedly been unsuccessful in shopping the former Ballon d'Or winner around to several clubs, on the basis that coaches are not keen to unsettle their dressing rooms, while managements don't see the revenue return as being great enough so far into the season.

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The Mariners were the frontrunners to sign Samaras, a former Manchester United and Celtic player with more than 80 caps for Greece.

The cash-strapped club had viewed him as a realistic option to bring in much-needed crowds and inspire Tony Walmsley's young squad, however a deal has not come to fruition.

Samaras is a free agent, and an attractive option for clubs more well-endowed financially and already with a full roster of visa players, given he has an Australian passport.

His fitness would be the main concern, as the 30-year-old has had injuries and not played a professional match since early last year, while on loan from West Bromwich Albion to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal.

Walmsley announced two new signings on Monday in attacking midfielder Francesco Stella and goalkeeper Alastair Bray, both from the Victorian Premier League.

He said more signings were on the way.

"We've added some depth to the squad with those two, we're very close to announcing the signing of a young player and we're also in the market for one or two more players depending on how things play out financially over the next couple of weeks," Walmsley said.

Sydney FC are exploring the guest player option and reportedly made enquiries about former England international Peter Crouch, as the Sky Blues search for a striker who can convert the myriad of chances they've missed this season.

Talks never went far, while Crouch's Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has indicated he's not willing to sell Crouch despite him being on the outer at the English Premier League club.

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is another name being bandied about, though he is still contracted to Greek club Panathinaikos.

Overseas reports have linked the 33-year-old Ghanaian with a potential move to top-flight Turkish side Antalyaspor.

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