Harry Kewell’s bid to re-ignite his stalled career hinges on the Australia star drastically lowering his wage demands to play in the English Championship or the Persian Gulf.
That’s the verdict of informed sources in England and the Middle East who claim these are the only two remaining options left open to Kewell as he approaches his 34 th birthday.
A smattering of clubs in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai remain interested – but at half Kewell’s asking price of $1.5 million for a single season.
There are also still likely takers in the Championship where the average wage for a striker is $15,000 a week – not the $30,000 Kewell is said to be seeking.
According to Dubai-based player agent Mohaned Oun Al Harabi, Kewell must accept that his value to would-be employers has dropped or he will continue to search in vain for new home.
Oun Al Harabi lined up offers in the region of $4 million for one season for the Socceroos' attacking midfielder from Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al Nassr and United Arab Emirates outfits Al-Ahli Dubai and Al Jazira before his switch from Galatasaray to Melbourne Victory ahead of the 2011-2012 A-League.
And he claims Kewell has recently rejected an offer from another club in the Arabian Peninsula.
“That is the case and it’s disappointing because Harry Kewell is a very important player for his country and he needs to be playing,” he said.
“There is still interest in the region in him and it’s not too late but it is up to the player to make some decisions before the opportunity is no longer there.
“He is still a fine player and I am sure people just want to see him out there performing, whether it is here in the Gulf or in England.”
There are also doubts over whether Kewell’s current representative James Erskine, whose background is in managing the careers of celebrities rather than hard-nosed negotiations with football clubs, has the requisite contacts to cut a deal.
Kewell hasn’t played a competitive match since March and remains clubless after his departure from Victory for family reasons after just a season.
He is back in England, home of wife Sheree and her family, and a recent botched mission to Stoke City’s training ground, where he is believed to have thought he would sign a deal only to be told he could do no more than train with the club, has highlighted his increasingly desperate plight.
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has expressed his exasperation at watching the man voted Australia’s greatest ever player slip into limbo, saying on naming his latest 23-man squad last week, minus Kewell: “What can you do? You keep hoping that something happens and nothing happens. That is frustrating for the player and myself as well.”
All of which leaves the former Leeds United, Liverpool and Galatasaray winger with some tough decisions to make if he is to force himself back into contention for his country and fulfil his oft-stated dream of a third successive FIFA World Cup appearance.
The heady days are over for Kewell, who back in 2003 was earning – at the exchange rate of the day – a tick over $200,000 a week with Liverpool.
From 2008 to 2011 in Turkey he commanded $250,000 a week with Gala and even rejected a two-year contract extension in Istanbul as he sought a pay increase, only to then suffer a number of injuries which saw the offer removed from the table and ultimately precipitated his move to Victory.
Kewell garnered a paltry $1 million from his season with Victory where his stop-start campaign failed to generate the gate revenues he was banking on to hit his financial sweet spot.
Central Coast Mariners striker Daniel McBreen has signed on loan with Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG until 31 October.