Central Coast Mariners is prepared to offer Marcos Flores a deal if he is released by Melbourne Victory to accommodate the signing of Greece national team captain Giorgos Karagounis.
It is believed that initial discussions have taken place between Flores’s representatives and officials from the A-League champion, with coach Graham Arnold, holidaying in Thailand, keen to snap up the creative Argentine midfielder.
Flores has been told by Victory coach Ange Postecoglou that he is unlikley to figure in his first team plans next season and removing him from the payroll is key to the signing of Karagounis with Postecoglou saying last week: "It's no secret that I'm trying to sign a new marquee and unfortunately it's just the way the system is in Australia that means I have to lose someone to make space."Arnold, whose only other visa players are New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey and Englishman Nick Montgomery, is a long-time admirer of the 2010-2011 Johnny Warren medallist who returned to the A-League last season at Victory after an ill-fated stint with Chinese outfit Henan Jiaye.
Flores, 27, snubbed former club Adelaide United to join Victory but the deftly-skilled play-maker had a frustrating season under Postecoglou – often being played out of position – and will want to be playing regular football in 2013-2014, rather than facing rare cameos at Victory.
Flores made 22 appearances for the club last season and scored four goals.
Striker Matt Simon is back at Bluetongue Stadium after his injury-marred stint in the K- League Classic with Chunnam Dragons.
The capture of Flores would be a signal of intent from Arnold as he seeks to remould his side after a raft of departures in the hunt for back-to-back A-League championships.
Meanwhile, 36-year-old Karagounis – who has been released by Fulham – is not expected to make a final decision on his future until the end of next week.
Western Sydney Wanderers attacker Labinot Haliti has signed a two-year contract extension with the club.