Brandon O’Neill is being lined up for a move to Europe next season as the Sydney FC midfielder seeks to enhance his hopes of a call-up by the Republic of Ireland.
There is understood to be interest in the Netherlands and Switzerland for the dual nationality O’Neill, with PEC Zwolle, coached by former Melbourne City coach John van’t Schip, believed to be monitoring the 24-year-old closely.
While he has represented Australia at Under-23 level, O’Neill remains uncapped at senior level and has been on Ireland’s radar for over six months.
However it’s been made clear that his prospects of a cap would be greatly increased were he based in Europe.
O’Neill is contracted to the Sky Blues - for whom he has made 76 A-League appearances in three seasons - until mid-2019.
And he would likely attract a transfer fee in the region of $500,000 were he to leave the club in the immediate future.
Father Miles was a professional footballer and boxer before migrating to Australia where O’Neill was born.
He’s been a figure of consistency for the Sky Blues alongside Josh Brillante in the midfield engine room, with Sky Blues CEO Danny Townsend lauding his influence since his arrival from Perth Glory in 2015.
“He’s a contracted player, and I’ve heard nothing (of any interest in him),” Townsend said.
“He’s been fantastic for us and I’m not surprised the Irish are watching him, given the way he’s been playing.”
O’Neill’s agent Tony Rallis declined to respond when approached by The World Game to comment on the European speculation.
Were he to be called up by the Irish, O'Neill would be battling for places in a midfield boasting the likes of Everton's James McCarthy, West Bromwich's James McClean, Burnley's Robbie Brady and Bournemouth’s Harry Arter.
Meanwhile, Townsend confirmed that a short list of 10 has been drawn up to determine the successor to Socceroos-bound Graham Arnold.
Interviews will commence towards the end of April as the back-to-back premiers chase a consecutive championship double.
“The quality of the applicants is excellent,” he said.
“The size of the club and the city we live in is proving attractive and we’ve been inundated with inquiries.
“Those on the short list don’t know yet, but it includes several overseas coaches from a mix of countries. It’s a fairly even spread of nationalities.”