Mariners question validity of European bid to snatch away Bolt

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Central Coast Mariners are “mystified” by reports that star triallist Usain Bolt is about to do a runner to Maltese club Valletta FC.

Multiple reports surfaced on Tuesday, quoting football agent Tony Rallis, that the Jamaican sprint icon had been offered a two-year no-strings-attached deal with Abu-Dhabi owned Valletta FC who have boasted “UEFA Champions League aspirations”.

The timing of the “offer” coincided with Bolt scoring a brace in a pre-season hit-out against Macarthur South West United, and a push by the Mariners for Football Federation Australia to dip into its marquee fund to help finance an A-League contract for the 32-year-old wannabe football pro.

Rallis, instrumental in brokering the deal which brought Bolt to Gosford in August, was quoted as saying: “There is a club in Europe that has offered Bolt a two-year deal, they have been taken over by new owners who have aspirations of Champions League football."

Valletta FC, the champions of the small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, were taken over by Abu Dhabi-based Sanban Group in September, and the new investors immediately set a goal of guiding the club to the top of European football.

Valletta FC are the reigning Maltese champions and are flush with cash after being recently taken over by Abu-Dhabi based Sanban Group last month.

In an interview with ESPN, Valletta managing director and CEO Ghasston Slimen said the club hopes to sign the eight-time Olympic sprint champion in time for him to participate in their Maltese Super Cup match on December 13 against Balzan.

However, the Mariners hierarchy have not been officially informed of any impending exit by Bolt’s London-based agent Ricky Simms.

While the Mariners are staying officially tight-lipped, one senior club source described the Bolt exit talk as “totally wrong and without foundation”.

“There has been no offer we are aware of and as far as the club is concerned Usain is continuing to train with us in the expectation of landing a contract,” the source added.

“It’s mystifying to us and there’s no substance to it.”

Bolt has brought a publicity blitz to the Central Coast, spiking with his double on his full debut.

And while the substance of an offer from Europe is in question, the club acknowledges that should FFA refuse to come to the party with a substantial sum, then Bolt may indeed cut short his trial and look elsewhere to fulfill his football dream.