Adelaide United refused permission for midfielder James Jeggo to fly to Austria for talks with leading club Sturm Graz after the club received an official approach.
Jeggo, who excelled in his debut season for the Reds, was born in the Austrian capital of Vienna and has been identified by Sturm's German coach Franco Foda as a player of interest.
It’s understood the club, which finished fourth in Austria's Bundesliga last season, wanted to take a closer look at the A-League's Young Player of the Year during a mooted two-day visit this month, with a view to offering him a contract.
The three-times Austrian champion, which has also won seven domestic cups down the years, tabled a letter of invitation for Jeggo to travel but failed to sway Adelaide chiefs, who are reluctant to entertain the prospect of losing a key player who still has a year remaining on the deal he signed on arriving from Melbourne Victory last season.
Jeggo's agent, Sydney-based Buddy Farah, said: "James is a contracted player and Adelaide holds his contractual rights and at this stage I have no further comment."
Sources in Austria indicate Sturm is looking to snare Jeggo, who left Austria as a 10-year-old when his father landed a job at the CSIRO in Melbourne, on a free transfer after being impressed by his form for the Reds over 31 games in all competitions last season.
That included winning the FFA Cup and coming within a game of reaching the A-League decider, before the Reds were unceremoniously eliminated by Sydney FC 4-1 in the semi-final.
The sole Australian playing in Austria's top flight is Socceroos midfielder James Holland, who is looking to move on after four successful seasons with Austria Wien - which finished seventh on the ladder, 15 points adrift of Sturm Graz.