Jedinak homecoming on cards if South West Sydney land A-League spot

Hopes of ex-Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak returning to the A-League next season are growing, with the South West Sydney expansion bid confident of snaring the veteran midfielder on a marquee contract should they land a licence.

Jedinak, 34, is out of favour under new Aston Villa boss Dean Smith, and off contract in June, with his future seemingly pointing elsewhere after two-and-half years with the Championship club.

As reported by Fairfax Media last week, discussions between Jedinak and the Campbelltown-based would-be A-League outfit are underway, with Jedinak willing to listen to a concrete offer should they win admittance to the competition.

FFA’s new board meets on December 12, with an announcement on the identity of possibly two new A-League teams for 2019-2020 expected to made soon afterwards.

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South West Sydney, backed by billionaire property developer Lang Walker, are among the favourites in a field of six, and are situated in a region where Jedinak grew up, playing his formative football at ex-NSL side Sydney United.

Asked whether the prospects of snaring Jedinak were realistic, a family source said: “Mile is interested and wants to hear back after December 12 when some decisions regarding expansion have been made.

“He is looking at the possibility of returning to his football roots and to continue with his career as a player, and maybe one day as a coach.”

South West Sydney want to hand Jedinak the arm band and also offer him a pathway into coaching when his playing days are over. They are also willing to cover the relocation costs of his family, should a deal be done.

The expectation is that he would continue as an on-field talisman for at least two to three more seasons under the proposal put to him.

Jedinak, who retired from international football ahead of January’s AFC Asian Cup, has yet to feature since the end of September for Villa, having made nine appearances under Smith’s predecessor Steve Bruce this season.

Jedinak has been mostly parked on the bench under Smith, and is currently recovering from a minor injury and likely to return to the squad for Saturday (AEDT) week’s Midlands derby against West Bromwich Albion.

He made his professional breakthrough for Central Coast Mariners, going on to play for Genclerbirligi and Antalyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig as well as Crystal Palace and Villa in England.

He led Australia to the last two World Cups, retiring with 79 caps and 20 goals.

South West Sydney are looking to make an immediate imprint on the competition, and believe Jedinak could be a galvanizing force.

“The planets are all aligning (regarding Jedinak and the club) but you have to make sure you’ve got a spot on the rocketship first,” added the source.

“We’ll just see how it goes now.”

Villa sit eighth in the Championship, three points off the play-off spots.


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Published 30 November 2018 at 1:55pm
By Dave Lewis