Tim Cahill’s immediate future remains in China after the Socceroos star signed a deal with Hangzhou Greentown.
The 36-year-old’s contract with Shanghai Shenhua was surprisingly torn up last week, prompting speculation that the forward could make a move back to Australia with an A-League club.
Any such transfer was always unlikely however; the timing of his departure from Shenhua – outside the Australia transfer window – meant he would not have been able feature for an A-League side this season.
Cahill’s relationship with Football Federation Australia also presented a stumbling block to any potential A-League move; the two parties have been engaged in a recent war of words and on Friday, that escalated when Cahill launched a scathing attack on FFA.
he length of Cahill’s new contract with Hangzhou, however, keeps alive any faint hope Australian fans harbour that he will at some stage play professionally in his home country.
Intriguingly, Cahill put pen to paper on just a five-month deal, meaning he would be available to start the new A-League season in October, should clubs be willing to bring him to Australia and be able to meet his demands. There would also have to be a degree of reconciliation between the player and FFA if any such move were to go ahead.
With his immediate future cleared up on Monday, Cahill said he was keen to begin focusing on a new chapter of his career with Hangzhou, one of four teams with space for an international signing, and where he will link up with fellow Australian international Matthew Spiranovic.
“The future now is clear, I want to put all my energy into Hangzhou Greentown Football Club and the Socceroos,” Cahill wrote on his Instagam page. “It’s been a difficult and challenging week however I’m very happy with the way this has all worked out.”
Cahill’s agent, Ante Alilovic, said last week there was interest in the player from a number of Chinese clubs after he enjoyed a successful season in Shanghai, scoring 11 goals in 28 appearances.
But he became a victim of coach Gregorio Manzano’s ambitious plans and was offloaded following the signing of Nigeria international Obafemi Martins, despite having signed a new deal just months earlier.
The Chinese Super League season kicks off on the first weekend of March, with Hangzhou playing Changchun Yatai in their opening match.
Cahill is expected to spearhead the Socceroos’ continuing World Cup qualification bid in qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan next month.
This article was written by Mike Hytner, for theguardian.com on Monday 22nd February 2016 00.36 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010