Daniel Arzani won’t have time to dwell on the Socceroos’ World Cup exit for long, with Australia’s boy wonder revealing he will fly to London immediately to meet his agent for talks over his future.
In a 33-minute cameo in the 2-0 loss to Peru, the 19-year-old again produced flashes of the talent that has opened doors across Europe, the home he has set his heart on.
While he remains under contract at Melbourne City for another year, It’s common knowledge Arzani and his management team are intent on engineering the swift departure his audacious ability demands.
Clubs across the Continent, including Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven are all tracking the Iranian-born star.
But they will have to deal with the City Football Group, who are preparing to offer Arzani an Aaron Mooy-style contract which would potentially see him traded to Manchester City for a nominal sum, possibly loaned to Dutch satellite club NAC Breda and ultimately on-sold for a handsome profit.
That, at least, appears to be the CFG’s intention.
Whether Arzani, and his management team comprising former Socceroo Vince Grella and UK-based power agent Frank Trimboli play ball is another matter.
An arm wrestle is looming, with Arzani saying: “From here I’m heading straight into London where I’m going to be meeting my agent.
“I will spend a couple of days there trying to figure everything out. There is nothing concrete (at the moment).”
One complicating factor - other than will of the CFG - is that Arzani doesn’t possess a European passport, which limits his options somewhat.
Whilst he cut a forlorn figure after Australia’s World Cup journey had run its course, the future glows for the diminutive dazzler whose flashy footwork and boundless bravado are crumbs of comfort Socceroos fans can latch onto as they ponder their early flights out of Russia.
Reflecting on Australia’s Group C games against France, Denmark and Peru, Arzani said: “It’s been a good ride."
“The team deserves a lot more from the whole thing. I think we were very unlucky but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Still dwelling on a near miss against the Danes that might have turned one point into three in Australia’s second game, he added: “Those are the kind of things that play on in your head over and over.
“It’s been a long journey ... for the last four years the boys have been working tirelessly to make it here.
“For me, I wasn’t sure how I’d handle pressure before but I guess now I’m OK with pressure.
“Everybody says playing in front of large crowds is daunting but I feel it actually motivates you to play better.”
In his five weeks with the national team, Arzani has no doubt he’s made quantum leaps.
“I think I have improved massively,” he said. “My decision-making is better, physically I’ve improved and also the way I view the game tactically.”
He reserved a special mention for Socceroos legend and mentor Tim Cahill, who could not deliver his customary miracle when given the game time he craved as a 50th minute substitute in Sochi.
“We’ve come a long way together from Melbourne City and I don’t think I could have come this far without him,” he said.
“he’s kind of my guardian angel. When I make a mistake it’s not as bad as what it should be and he kind of looks out for me.
“It was an honour to play alongside him. He’s a legend of the game. What he’s done for Australia over the years is incredible. We’re here at this World Cup because of him.”