Discarded Vancouver Whitecaps defender Michael Boxall has been offered a fresh start at Wellington Phoenix with coach Ricki Herbert tempting the All Whites international with a two-year deal.
Boxall, 23, who learned late last month that he would be cut from the Whitecaps roster after the arrival of Scottish international Barry Robson, made 19 appearances for the MLS outfit last season but could not muster any match minutes this time round and he slipped down the pecking order.
Robson’s arrival took the club’s allotment of international players past the permitted limit of 10, forcing coach Martin Rennie to make a tough call.
But while the Whitecaps door has closed on Boxall after 15 months at the club, another door is ajar in Wellington for the strapping five-times capped Kiwi international who Herbert views as a possible long-tern successor to veteran skipper Andrew Durante at the heart of the defence.
Boxall, who is unlikely to pick up another MLS contract, is tipped to accept an offer which would be expected to further enhance his international prospects with Herbert both the Phoenix and All Whites coach.
Auckland-raised Boxall emerged though the MLS draft system after a stint with the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos and is understood to be keen on a return home.
Tall and domineering, he appeared for his country against the Solomon Islands in last month’s Oceania Nations Cup.
He is a left-sided stopper who Herbert expects to push his current pairing of Durante and Ben Sigmund strongly should he accept the offer to join the club for the 2012-2013 A-League campaign.
A source in North America said: "The offer is there for him. It's up to him where he goes from here but the Phoenix is certainly an option for him. He's played at all levels for his country and he is looking for a new challenge."
Sevilla appears to be holding out for a better price for midfielder Luis Alberto, despite sporting director Ramon Verdejo admitting Liverpool has made a 'very good' offer.