FOOTBALL Federation Australia’s hopes of luring Fernando Torres to the A-League are set to be dashed as the Spanish striker prepares to announce his next club.
Torres is expected to confirm he will play for Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire when he reveals his next destination on Tuesday afternoon (EST).
Despite a bold bid from FFA negotiators, it’s understood the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid star has opted against a move to Australia.
Sydney FC were the A-League club seen as the most likely to land the Spanish superstar, with FFA prepared to contribute around $ 2 million, but a spokesman all-but cofirmed they were out of the running.
“We were in it to the last minute but it looks as though he’s gone elsewhere,” he said.
The 34-year-old’s interest was piqued by the Australian lifestyle and it’s understood he went as far as inquiring about schools for his children to attend. FFA believed they were in with a genuine shot when Torres’ talks with Japanese club Sagan Tosu fell through earlier this month.
But FFA’s initial proposal was viewed as less appealing once Spanish income tax legislation was accounted for and while Torres’ management asked for an improved offer, it was not forthcoming.
The other available target on FFA’s six-player marquee shortlist, Keisuke Honda, also appears to be at long odds of playing in the A-League.
The Japanese midfielder, who retired from international football after the Samurai Blue were eliminated from the World Cup, is after a one-year contract worth $ US5 million ($ A6.7 million) on top of other benefits including accommodation, flights and a car.
It means FFA will likely go back to the drawing board as it seeks to spend the $ 3 million marquee fund provided by Fox Sports.
The money is part of the A-League’s broadcast deal but was split last season among the 10 clubs, who were supposed to use it for marketing. However, Fox Sports believes it would be better spent on bringing a recognised marquee player to the competition after crowds and TV ratings dropped dramatically.
The A-League could do with some more star power following the departures of Besart Berisha, Adrian Miezerjewski and Bobo in recent weeks.