Melbourne Heart has agreed to the transfer of Australia fullback Aziz Behich to Turkish Super Lig Bursaspor, the A-League club announced.
Behich, 22, will leave for Turkey on Tuesday night and will be available for Bursaspor’s home clash against Turkish giant Galatasaray this weekend, pending the issue of his international clearance.
Behich, from the working class Melbourne suburb of Meadow Heights, is one of the great success stories of the A-League, having risen from National Youth League outcast to an international footballer in the space of three seasons.
'To make a move to a club that plays Champions League football is a dream come true and I really can’t thank Melbourne Heart enough for giving me this opportunity," Behich said.
'I have loved my time at Melbourne Heart and all the support that I have received from the members since I joined.
'I will miss them and miss being around my old team-mates."
Heart coach John Aloisi said he was disappointed to lose Behich but did not want to stand in his way once the emerging Socceroo decided he wanted to pursue the opportunity.
'To take Aziz from the state leagues of Victoria to face the likes of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder is something Melbourne Heart can be enormously proud of," said Aloisi.
'It hurts to lose him at this stage of the season but how can you stand in the way of a player fulfilling his dreams.
'It’s a great opportunity for the club to continue to grow and a chance for Aziz to establish himself as a genuine international for Australia."
Originally signed as an injury replacement player during Heart’s inaugural season, Behich was converted by then coach John van’t Schip from a winger to an all-action fullback.
The switch would see Behich establish himself as a first-team regular, win a nomination for Young Player of the Year, win selection to the PFA Team of the Year in 2012 and, finally, earn full international honours for the Socceroos.
Since June 2012, Heart has transferred youngsters Eli Babalj, Curtis Good, Brendan Hamill and now Behich to leading foreign clubs despite the quartet having only five A-League games between them prior to joining the club.
Under the terms of the transfer agreement, the transfer fee remains confidential.