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Which European stars could arrive in Australia this summer?

referee_professionalWhether it’s George Best at the NSL’s Brisbane Lions or Alessandro Del Piero with Sydney FC, Australian clubs have a history of attracting big names in the twilight of their career.

With its year-round sun and almost unrivalled lifestyle for players and their families, Australia can still act as a big pull. So, with the summer transfer window here, let’s take a look at some of Europe’s finest that could make their way down under.

George Best“George Best” by Iker Merodio (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Leaving Bayern Munich after 12 years with the Bavarian giants, Franck Ribery is looking for his next challenge. Western Sydney Wanderers have recently been linked with the Frenchman and you can see the appeal of a move to the A-League’s 2012/13 premiers. There is already a connection between Ribery and the Wanderers manager, as Markus Babbel used to play for Bayern Munich between 1994 and 2000.

Wanderers have also recently opened their brand new, state of the art stadium. Looking to make a big impact in their new home, Ribery could be the perfect man to take Australia by storm. If their pursuit of Ribery fails, why not go for fellow winger Arjen Robben who is also out of contract? Although often overshadowed by their neighbours Sydney FC, who dominate outright odds in A-League betting, Wanderers got to the semi-final of the FFA Cup last season and have plenty of potential.

Blighted by injuries in recent seasons, striker Andy Carroll could be available this summer after West Ham United confirmed he would not be playing for the London club next term. Deadly in the box when he plays, his problem has been health. Carroll is a real handful on his day and Australia could be the perfect place for him to regain his fitness and start enjoying his football again.

A factor that may scupper the deal is his young family and business interests in the UK. This summer, Carroll was listed as the 14th wealthiest sports person aged 30 or under with his personal wealth having rocketed to £19m. He may also demand high wages after coming from the Premier League, but A-League sides will hope the lifestyle in Australia will be more than enough to waive other lucrative offers.

sydney
“sydney” by  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Juan Mata might be a slightly more fanciful signing. He’s still playing at the highest level and is likely to have big offers from Spain and Turkey, with Istanbul giants Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray linked. Nonetheless, Mata doesn’t seem like the sort of man that puts money before everything else. Known for his charitable efforts off the field with the Common Goal organisation, Mata could favour a move that allows him to more freely pursue his interests off the field in a big city like Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne.

Whatever ends up unfolding, Australia remains an attractive destination and should be confident of bringing in top stars in the twilight of their careers.

About the author

avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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