Lifelong Huddersfield Town fan turned owner Phil Hodgkinson is facing his first big decision since taking charge of the recently relegated club - exactly what price tag to place on prized asset Aaron Mooy.
Under previous owner Dean Hoyle - who retains a 25 percent stake in the club and a seat on the board after stepping down earlier this month - the Terriers’ valuation of the Socceroos midfielder soared as high as $75 million.
However, the prevailing wisdom now is that Hodgkinson, who cannot afford to retain the club’s top earner for life back in the Championship, will likely ask around $27 million for the 28-year-old who has a year left on his contract.
Mooy is on wanted lists of Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United, Watford and Newcastle United, with Southampton and Leicester City also in the mix.
Despite the interest, no firm offers have been tabled for the man Huddersfield signed on a permanent deal from Manchester City two years ago for a then-club record $20 million (including add-ons).
According to sources in the UK there appear to be three likely outcomes to the Mooy situation.
1. He looks certain to be leaving the John Smith’s Stadium in the northern summer.
2. He is set to again be playing in the Premier League next season.
3. Any transfer deal is likely to comfortably eclipse the previous record for an Australian player, which Mooy set himself in 2017.
Should Hodgkinson be tempted to dilly-dally in deciding how best to divest himself of the club’s key commodity, coach Jan Siewert, who succeeded compatriot David Wagner in January, will likely be in favour of bringing the matter to a swift conclusion.
Siewert is keen to set about the rebuilding process, albeit with a vastly reduced budget to play with. Cash from the sale of Mooy will help facilitate that project.
Mooy, too, will be eager to secure his future after a season marked by the frustration of his side finishing bottom of the pile with just 22 points.
Despite suffering a mid-season knee injury which ruled him out of the AFC Asian Cup, Mooy still managed 29 Premier League appearances, with three goals and an assist.
The World Game sought to contact Mooy’s agent Paddy Dominguez for comment but he didn’t return calls.