Tomi Juric could return to Luzern’s matchday squad within a week, and is determined to finish a frustrating season with a bang before embracing “a fresh challenge” elsewhere.
By
Dave Lewis

26 Feb 2019 - 7:03 PM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2019 - 7:03 PM

That’s the word from the Australia striker’s father and adviser Branko Juric, 12 days after the Swiss Super League club’s sporting director Remo Meyer said the 27-year-old had been omitted from the senior squad for “sporting and strategic reasons”, with the apparent intention of forcing a transfer before the end of the season.

Whilst confirming the forward will exit Luzern at the conclusion of his two-year deal at season’s end, Branko Juric said he was already back working with the first team and was closing in on a recall under new coach Thomas Häberli.

The former Swiss international replaced compatriot René Weiler two days ago and has expressed his intention to reintegrate Juric, who is close to recovery from a hairline fracture to his toe.

“Juric got hurt, that hurt us. We could have needed him,” Häberli told Swiss media outlets.

“At the end of the season Tomi will be looking for a fresh new challenge,” said Juric senior.

“A lot depends on how he goes between now and then. If he’s performing well of course finding the right club will be easier.

“There are some clubs interested already but we will just see what happens.

“The relationship with coaching staff is solid and Tomi is very determined to perform strongly for the club, but he is also looking for a fresh opportunity.

“He’s training and working his way back into the team, and he’ll probably be in the squad if not this weekend then the weekend after.

“He’s not quite 100 percent ready and has been carrying a small injury but it’s not not that bad and everything is getting better.”

Meyer, apparently acting independently of the coaching staff, sparked uncertainty over Juric’s position by announcing earlier this month: “(Tomi) Juric has been struggling since last summer, I felt he was not 100 percent present. He is free to negotiate with other clubs.”

Having made just eight appearances for a single goal in all competitions this season, it’s been a hellish six months for Juric whose ill fortune was compounded by missing out on Socceroos selection for last month’s AFC Asian Cup.

In the light of Australia’s tame quarter-final exit they could well have done with the rangy target man, who was Bert van Marwijk’s second choice striker at last June’s 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Juric was troubled by a knee injury at that tournament and was below par.

The season never ignited for him at the club he joined in 2016, and he will now be assessing his options for 2019-2020, with the A-League among several possible destinations.