Australia U-23 midfielder Mustafa Amini revealed he is set to part ways with German giant Borussia Dortmund at the end of this season, in search of regular first-team football elsewhere in Europe.
The 21 year-old, who has been on the bench for Dortmund in four UEFA Champions League ties during his nearly three years at the club, has yet to play a senior game and believes the time is right to take the next career step.
With his contract due to expire in June, Amini told The World Game: “I have been in Germany a while now – I’ve learned my trade and have experienced life at a top club.
“My next move has to be about playing first-team football in Europe at a club where I can stamp my mark.
"It doesn’t have to be a top team, just somewhere where I get the chance to play regularly at a good level.
With Dortmund set to re-sign in-demand midfielder Ilkay Gundogan to a new four-year deal, the pathway to the first team is effectively blocked for Amini.
"I was lucky enough to get a contract at Dortmund for three years and when you train with players like Marco Reus and Gundogan you learn a lot," Amini said.
“You don’t get that opportunity every day and I am grateful for that.”
Amini has options in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.
“Wherever it takes me, I am not sure yet," he said. "I am just playing it by ear and I am concentrating on my football.
“My agent has that side of things covered for me. The main goal is to stay in Europe – that’s where the world of football is.
“To have been playing in the third tier of German football is not easy as people think. My first two years here I didn’t play as much, then I had a long injury... but this season I’ve played my most games (21 appearances) and that’s been good.
“As much as people think that third league is nothing, Massimo Luongo plays at the same level in England and he was voted the best player at the Asian Cup.
“I am just happy to have this experience at a big club, enjoying my football, the German culture, speaking the language a little bit.”
Amini is shaping as a key figure for the Olyroos at this month’s the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers in Chinese Taipei and expects Aurelio Vidmar's 23-man squad to top its group - that includes Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Myanmar - and advance to the Qatar 2016 tournament - where the top three finishers qualify for the holy grail of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
“There will be no easy games this month... Myanmar made it to the Under-20 World Cup and we didn’t but hopefully we top the group and we should be able to with the team we have," Amini explained.
“With players like Terry Antonis and Josh Brillante you have boys with Socceroos experience and with everybody fit and firing we can do something special with this squad.
“I want to make the Olympics and be one of the main players in our team.
"Obviously if I can make an impact in the tournament in Taipei you never know who is watching. You always have to be on your game.”
Amini's agent, Buddy Farah, said: “Musti has developed considerably as a player at Dortmund training with some of the best in Europe.
"There is some interest in him and he has some decisions to make. It’s coming from Belgium, Denmark, Holland and Germany.
"But it's three months out from the transfer window opening and clubs are closely monitoring right now.”
Named in Ange Postecoglou's extended squad for January's AFC Asian Cup, Amini didn’t make the final cut but declared: “I’ve just got to keep working away and getting noticed and hopefully the time will come for me.”