Iniesta would make a very interesting signing. (David Ramos/Getty Images)
Iniesta would make a very interesting signing. (David Ramos/Getty Images)

A-League still an option for Iniesta

MELBOURNE Victory and Sydney FC have been sounded out about their interest in Barcelona great Andres Iniesta, who was said to be considering the A-League for lifestyle reasons.

Japanese side Vissel Kobe were firming as favourites to sign the midfield maestro, who scored Spain's winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

Football Federation Australia last week indicated that they would retrieve the $3 million marquee fund war chest, which was binned after a season due to financial constraints.

However even the majority of that is likely to fall well short of Iniesta's wage demands, which are likely to exceed $5 million-per-season.

Could the A-League tempt such a player again? (David Ramos/Getty Images)
Could the A-League tempt such a player again? (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Melbourne City - an obvious fit due to City Football Group's close Catalan connection with former Barcelona chief executive Ferran Soriano and technical director Txiki Begiristain now filling the same roles at Manchester City and orchestrating the signing of Pep Guardiola - were not believed to be interested in signing Iniesta.

The Herald Sun understands representatives of Iniesta have contacted A-League clubs while FFA chiefs were also putting out feelers, as they attempt to facilitate some marquee options for clubs.

Iniesta, 33, last month announced he would leaving the Spanish giants after 22 seasons and more than 400 games.

Reports out of Spain said a big-money deal in China had fallen through, indicating that his preference was a move to Australia for lifestyle reasons.

But there has been a general reluctance from A-League clubs to spend on marquee players, amid the political power struggle that had overshadowed much of the season just gone.

Vissel Kobe owner Hiroshi Mikitani is also the CEO of Japanese electronics company Rakuten, and is said to be pivotal to the deal.

Chinese club Chongqing Lifan announced that the pint-sized superstar won't be moving there.

 

A-League chief Greg O'Rourke conceded that there was widespread support to revisit the marquee concept.

"We will determine with (the CEOs) how this is going to work - do we go out and use $3 million to go and hook one big fish, or three small ones?" O'Rourke said.

"There's some history that would say that (Alessandro) Del Piero, when he was here with (Emile) Heskey and Shinji Ono was actually quite amplifying."

with AAP