Al-Ahli up the ante to snatch million dollar man Milligan

Melbourne Victory have lost their battle to keep Mark Milligan, after finally agreeing a $1million transfer fee with Saudi suitors Al-Ahli.

Mark Milligan

Melbourne Victory defender Mark Milligan Source: Getty Images

Just a week after rejecting an initial $350,000 approach for one of their marquee men, they buckled when the second offer was tabled by the Jeddah-based club on Friday, and reluctantly accepted it on Sunday

With just four months remaining on his Victory contract - and a chance for a lucrative pay purse in the autumn of his career - Milligan, 32, made the club aware of his determination to move on before Wednesday’s closure of the January transfer window.

Though he’s already on a hefty wage packet at Victory, believed to be in the region of $1 million, the one-year deal with Al-Ahli is primed to dwarf that figure.

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There is also an option for a further season, if both parties are agreeable.

Coach Kevin Muscat is believed to have been strongly against releasing one of his key assets, but the decision to sell Milligan, who has played 92 games for Victory over two spells, was made at board level.

The deal has shades of 2015 about it when Milligan was sold for the same figure to Abu Dhabi-based Baniyas, before returning two years later.

But there was no Victory offer on the table for Milligan next season, sharpening his desire to snatch at the opportunity when it was presented to him.

He will be a significant loss for Victory, whose A-League form has been less than convincing, and with an AFC Asian Champions League campaign beginning in a fortnight. 



He will now be able to grace the strongest league in the Middle East as well as play in the Asian Champions League with his new club.

It’s unlikely the move will dent 67-cap Milligan’s selection hopes for this year’s World Cup, since new Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk is all too familiar with the Saudi competition and its strengths and weaknesses having led the Green Dragons to Russia prior to his departure last November.


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Published 28 January 2018 at 6:31pm
By Dave Lewis