Perth boss Tony Sage has praised the vision of Football Federation Australia as they reach into their marquee fund to prise Matildas superstar Sam Kerr from the clutches of a top European club and return her to hometown team Glory for the W-League season.
Rated among the top five female players in the world, Kerr has been pondering a lucrative European switch.
However, the FFA have earmarked a figure in excess of $200,000, believed to be from the marquee fund provided by Fox Sports, to convince the free-scoring striker to rejoin Glory ahead next June’s Women’s World Cup in France.
“If Sam comes back to Australia she wants to play in Perth,” Sage said.
“She’s been captain for three years and we’ve reached two grand finals with her as the competition’s Golden Boot and she wants to lift the trophy as a Perth player.
“She has to look after her financial future and there’s been a massive offer to play in Europe for a year.
“We thought initially she’d take it but her management contacted FFA and for a change I have to give them a pat on the back.
“If they dip into the fund I think Fox Sports would be delighted to see Sam back here, rather than losing her to an overseas club. Kudos to Fox and FFA.”
Sage has been a long-time critic of FFA and the control they wield over the A-League clubs, and a keen advocate of an independently run competition.
“I don’t know the full detail of the private negotiations but hopefully she’ll be back with us training in late October,” he said.
“Sam’s one of the best players in the world and we’re not a sexist country.
“She’s a special player ... I think it’s only eight games in her last 30 for club or country where she hasn’t scored, which is unbelievable.
“If your can bring out Keisuke Honda and pay him ($1.5 million) out of the marquee fund then I can’t see why the FFA wouldn’t want to bring a player a Sam’s stature back to Australia.
“It shows FFA does consider the W-League an important part of Australia’s football family.”
Yet again among the nominees for FIFA Women's Player of the Year, Kerr, 24, has been on fire for club and country over the last 12 months.
She became the first player to score more than 50 goals in the NWSL and was also a joint-winner of the Julie Dolan Medal for her most recent season with Glory.