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Kewell's future remains a mystery

11 February 2013-SBS

Australia Holger Osieck Harry Kewell Socceroos

Free agent ... Australia star Harry Kewell (Getty Images)

Australia coach Holger Osieck has described Harry Kewell's continued inability to find a club as 'strange' as the Socceroos great seeks to jolt his flat-lining career back to life.

Kewell, whose last competitive game was for Australia in a FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifier against Oman nearly eight months ago, is in danger of disappearing off the radar altogether.

And it's understood that Osieck will take some convincing to recall the 34-year-old, even if he does manage to nail down a new home.

"It's strange that a player of his quality is now without a club. I don't know what's going on behind the scenery and the agents always play a role," said Osieck before Australia's 3-2 loss to Romania last week.

"It's a very complex situation and I am not in position right now to give a statement."

When asked if he had spoken to the 58-cap, two-time World Cup finalist Kewell about his predicament, he replied: "No, I haven't talked to him recently. I am not the person to ask (about his future). You have to talk with Harry and I am not sure what his plans are right now."

The experiment by Kewell and his wife Sheree Murphy to pursue a celebrity-orientated lifestyle after his split with long-time manager Bernie Mandic has proved counter-productive.

Currently in Manchester and training alone, Kewell has now severed ties with showbiz agent James Erskine after not being able to find a club and losing several lucrative endorsement deals over the last 14 months.

He rejected a $1 million deal to re-sign with Melbourne Victory after an impressive end to the 2011-2012 season to return to England for family reasons. At the same time he also rejected offers in the Middle East of around $2 million.

Subsequent talks of moves to Swindon Town, Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough and an embarrassing rejection by Stoke City - where Kewell turned up expecting a contract to be told he could only train with the club - led him into a career cul-de-sac.

And late last year, his representatives even approached FFA asking it to finance his return to the A-League. New CEO David Gallop was keen to have him back but declined to intervene on his behalf, or sign any cheques.

Voted by fans in July as Australia's greatest ever player, Kewell did receive an offer from Perth Glory owner Tony Sage last November, but turned his back on it after showing an initial interest.

The cost of being clubless since June has bitten deep for the former Leeds United, Liverpool, Galatasaray and Victory winger - not just in lost kudos but also lost cash.

Sponsorships, estimated to be worth up to $2 million over several years, have evaporated since Kewell's split from Victory.

Upon signing for Victory he was negotiating deals up to $500,000 a year from the likes of adidas, Nike, Channel 9, Ford, Qantas, Telstra, Fox, News Ltd and Crown Casino.

The player that every A-League club coveted a mere 18 months ago is now racing against the clock to resurrect his future.

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