Date:Thursday August 2 2007
Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer could be on his way to English Premier League club Fulham by early next week.
With Fulham's offer lodged and presented to the Victory board, Melbourne officials are working for a quick resolution so Leijer could be in London for the start of the English season next weekend.
Even if Victory and Fulham reach agreement on a transfer fee, Leijer still needs to pass a medical and agree personal terms with the Cottagers, but there appear no insurmountable hurdles in the way of an amicable deal.
'There's still a bit of to-ing and fro-ing to work out,' Victory football operations manager Gary Cole said yesterday.
'We want to make sure we do the best thing by Adrian Leijer and Melbourne Victory.
'I would think we're pretty close. That's not to say it's going to happen today or tomorrow, but hopefully we can conclude things quickly.'
Victory officials know there is little to be gained from drawn-out negotiations. Such a process could jeopardise the golden chance for Leijer to join one of the world's best and most lucrative leagues.
And to stymie the transfer could harm Victory's reputation when it tries to sign young players who see the A-League as a stepping stone to greater glory, experience and money in Europe.
'We're not set up to sell players overseas,' Cole said.
'We're set up to be competitive and challenge for the A-League championship."
'But the reality is we've looked to sign some outstanding young players and they're going to be noticed by people around the globe. It's a natural part of the football development process."
'Adrian has been a successful part of that and this is the next stage in that process."
'Melbourne Victory has to look out for itself, but if we were to stop players going overseas, they might not want to come to us in the first place.'
While Cole would not disclose the size of the transfer fee being discussed, it could easily be worth $500,000 (£210,000), small change in the Premier League, but a decent windfall for Victory.
Date:Thursday August 2 2007
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