Luring the likes of Torres to the A-League getting tougher

Sources say Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres is the subject of a net $6.8 million offer to play in China, which would dash the chances of the Spaniard playing for an A-League club using Football Federation Australia’s proposed marquee player fund.

Fernando Torres

Source: Getty Images

However, the 32 year-old Spaniard has also been buoyed by recent negotiations between his management and Atletico on a new deal, thanks to his current good form, making it extremely doubtful he will find his way to Asia at all this time around.

Torres is among several off-contract stars from European clubs who have been mentioned as possible marquee targets for A-League clubs, topping up whatever finances they can raise themselves with a cut from the FFA fund.

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But it remains to be seen whether the A-League has any real chance of attracting truly global stars before their twilight years, particularly with the huge money currently available in countries like China.

Just to compete with the Chinese offer for Torres, it is estimated an A-League club would have to offer a player like Torres more than $13 million to cover the Australian tax element.

It is anticipated A-League clubs will shortly be briefed on how the multi-million dollar FFA fund will work.

Until then it remains unclear whether clubs that are quickest to succeed with a move on an approved target become the beneficiaries of the financial injection or whether amounts might be set aside for each club.

The FFA are hoping the fund will enable clubs to add serious star power to the competition, increasing attendance figures and television ratings as a result.



Departing A-League boss Damien de Bohun was quoted in a Daily Telegraph report saying: “The key difference with the new marquee fund is that FFA wants to be involved at the start of any discussions, instead of the back end.

“Any investment that FFA makes will be based on clear criteria that will see the marquee player have an impact on the entire league, not just one club or one market.

“The clubs will still need to carry the substantial part of the investment but FFA will build out a package to make the A-League a highly desirable destination.”



Leading player agent Paddy Dominguez, whose clients include A-League stars Aaron Mooy, Jamie Maclaren and David Carney, said he could see the potential for major problems with a marquee fund unless all clubs had equal opportunity.

“I’ve been in the business for 25 years, so I have a very good idea of what a lot of the big-name players make,” Dominguez told The World Game.

“What I don’t understand is how it would be possible to have enough money, considering the financial state of a lot of the A-League teams, to be able to fund global marquee players for each of the teams.

“And if you don’t, if you only fund marquee players for one or two of the teams, surely the other teams would be asking: ‘What about our marquee players?’

“So how then do you accommodate all of the teams, or alternatively how do you decide which of the teams you’d be willing to allocate funds towards?

"I don’t know the workings of it but I’ll be interested to find out what the detail of the criteria is, because that will be crucial.

“Payments to players in China continue to escalate and there have been substantial increases in other global markets, like the Middle East and the MLS, which makes it difficult for the A-League.

“On the positive side for the A-League, it is improving all the time as a competition and it is a great lifestyle here, so if you marry that with targeting the right players you will have a chance of getting some of them.

"But you’re going to have to make absolutely sure you get the process right.”


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4 min read
Published 18 May 2016 at 12:09pm
By Greg Prichard
Source: SBS