Tm Cahill could net a cool $6 million in just 18 months should he make the United Arab Emirates his next career stop, with defending Arabian Gulf League champion Al-Ahli prepared to spend big to land the Socceroos legend.
Abu Dhabi-based Al Wahda, also of the AGL, has also joined the chase for Cahill, with the state owned UAE newspaper The National claiming through a source that the club had a tentative agreement in place to sign the 35-year-old New York Red Bulls striker.
However, it appears that Dubai-based Al-Ahli is better placed financially to meet Cahill's likely pay expectations - but not his desire for at least a two-year contract, at this stage.
Cahill wants 24 months at any club he joins should he leave the MLS on a free transfer after the AFC Asian Cup.
However, clubs in the Middle East are unwilling to offer such a lengthy deal to a player of his vintage, making that the most likely impediment to a move to the Emirates, where Cahill’s reputation has been hugely enhanced by his exploits at last year's FIFA World Cup and at this month's Asian Cup, where he has already scored three goals in four games.
Al-Ahli has eight players in the UAE squad which takes on Australia in Tuesday’s semi-final in Newcastle.
Any deal would also hinge on the Reds Bulls releasing Cahill from the final year of his contract, though indications are they might be prepared to do that.
The Dubai-based agent behind the deals that took Mark Bresciano to Al Nasr and then Al Gharafa and Lucas Neill to Al Wasl and Al Jazira, said: “There is a large amount of interest in a player of Cahill’s stature in the Middle East.
“There are some ongoing discussions, which I am a part of, regarding him possibly coming here after the Asian Cup ... but it is premature to say at this stage that anything has been finalised. There is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached.
"A lot of it would hinge on how long any contract offer is. But we are certainly talking."
Cahill has also been linked with Chinese Super League Shanghai Shenhua since it became clear that a move from the Red Bulls was on the cards.
A regular visitor to Dubai, Cahill said last year: "The Middle East is growing and it’s somewhere that I enjoy coming to a lot and in the future it’s where I could possibly be playing football.
"The UAE is such a fantastic country with great people and a great lifestyle as well. It’s something that’s really nice.”