Tim Cahill has been offered $4 million for one season by cashed-up Saudi club Al Nassr in the second-richest contract ever proposed to an Australian international.
With Everton keen to free up its wage bill next season in order to freshen the squad, 32 year old Cahill – the club’s top earner on an estimated $75,000 a week – could be considered expendable after a season in which he only scored three times in 41 appearances for the Toffees.
Sources in Saudi Arabia claim that Cahill’s London-based agent Paul Martin has been in contact with Al Nassr and other clubs in the Persian Gulf, as the Socceroos midfielder ponders his next career move.
Though Cahill has two years remaining on his deal at Goodison Park and is still highly rated by coach David Moyes, indications are that Everton would not stand in his way were he to request a release.
Prior to signing for Melbourne Victory Harry Kewell, Cahill’s Socceroos team-mate, rejected a $5 million one-season offer from Saudi Professional League club Al-Ahli, largely because he didn’t feel his family would be suited to life in the kingdom.
Saudi sources revealed Cahill’s wage expectations are around the same figure. It’s understood he was offered $4.5 million by a UAE Pro-League team last season but decided not to pursue the offer.
Despite pressure on Cahill to retain his position at Everton in the face of rising Belgian star Marouane Fellaini, Moyes remains an admirer of the versatile Australian, saying before the club’s last game of the season against Newcastle: “He’s fit, he’s athletic, and he can do several jobs for us.
“There’s been a couple of games where we’ve been able to change and rest him because we’ve had a fully fit squad.
“But Tim’s been the mainstay of the way we’ve played. There’ll be a time when we have to move on and that will evolve, but not at the moment.”
Cahill came off the bench for Australia in its 2-0 loss to Denmark and could well start against Oman in the World Cup qualifier in Oman on Friday.
Meanwhile Australia captain Lucas Neill is assessing his club options after his one-year deal with UAE Pro-League was not extended.
Scouts from China watched Neill in action against the Danes but he would have to accept a $500,000 deal to play there – $1 million less than his contract at Al Jazira.
Neill will be looking to make an impression against Oman and then at home to Japan four days later, with his club future in limbo and a switch to the A-League – where western Sydney has expressed an interest – not out of the question.
Kewell, in negotiations over a second season at Victory, impressed with his performance against the Danes, with one European agent saying: “If he plays as well against Oman and Japan I think it will become highly unlikely that he will return to Melbourne Victory.
“He has options in the K-League and China and of course, the Middle East. He has become hot property again, largely as a result of his performance against Denmark. The choices open to him have widened significantly.”
Dual-championship winning A-League manager Ernie Merrick was appointed coach of Wellington Phoenix on a two-year deal, with an option to sign on for a third.