A representative of German star Michael Ballack has given Western Sydney Wanderers until the close of business Friday (Saturday AEDT) to table a bid for his client.
The World Game understands Ballack is considering approaches from Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact and clubs in the Middle East and Europe, having grown frustrated by Wanderers' lack of a tangible offer.
When contacted by TWG, Wanderers Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman rubbished the claims. However, sources trying to make the deal happen say a deadline has been set.
"Has there been a deadline set? No," Gorman said. "We get approached on a daily basis about signing players but there has been no deadline set for that player (Ballack).
"A decision will be made based on the needs of the playing group, but we won't be pushed into signing any player."
The latest development in a saga that began when TWG broke the news that Football Federation Australia (FFA) was in talks with Ballack's representatives, will come as a blow to fans desperate to see the ex-Germany captain in the A-League.
Further complicating the issue is Wanderers' reported pursuit of Japanase star Shinji Ono. It is believed the 32 year-old is in advanced talks with the club, which had also made an approach to veteran Argentine midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme to be its inaugural marquee player.
The World Game has learned Ballack was due to have a medical on Friday (Saturday AEDT), supervised on behalf of Wanderers by former Australia and Liverpool doctor Peter Brukner, at the Munich clinic of Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.
The medical was called off when the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the logistics of the meeting, prompting Ballack’s agent, Dr Michael Becker, to issue the contract ultimatum.
Ballack is desperate to play in Australia and Wanderers had seemed like the ideal destination. Third parties involved in the deal are willing to contribute to the 36 year-old's asking price of $1.6million for one season, to lower the fee paid by Wanderers to $1.1 million.
Ballack and Wanderers coach Tony Popovic have spoken on the phone over the past 24 hours in a desperate bid to convince the Wanderers coach that the three-times German Football of the Year can contribute to the fledgling team's maiden A-League campaign.
It is believed Wanderers and FFA board members will meet on Thursday afternoon to discuss the ongoing pursuit of Ballack.
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