Sydney or Southampton? Alessandro Del Piero set for decision on future
• Former Juventus forward narrows shortlist to two clubs
• Reports in Australia claim deal with Sydney is already done
Alessandro Del Piero is preparing to make a decision on his future, with Sydney FC and Southampton believed to be his final options.
The former Juventus forward's brother and agent, Stefano Del Piero, told the Gazzetta dello Sport that Sydney's offer of a reported £1.3m per season is "a valid option and a concrete proposal." Meanwhile, Southampton are understood to have put together a two-year deal worth £1m plus bonuses per season.
The Gazzetta reported that a meeting between Del Piero's representatives and the Sydney FC chief executive took place on Monday in Turin, while the Australian has gone further and claimed that the deal is already done and that an announcement will be made on Wednesday.
In Australia, the 37-year-old Del Piero would become a football ambassador and the biggest signing in the A-League's history, while in England he could continue to compete at the game's highest level. Southampton are keen to land Del Piero, having opened the season with three defeats to sit bottom of the Premier League.
Juventus announced early last season that they would not renew Del Piero's contract and he was also linked with moves to the Middle East, China, Argentina, the United States and Switzerland. His brother acknowledged meetings with the Swiss club FC Sion, but the Sion president, Christian Constantin, told the Gazzetta that "for the moment he's not ready to join us."
Australian media reported details of Sydney's offer last week, which would make Del Piero the highest-paid athlete in the country's four football codes, which also include rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules football.
The A-League, which has had several teams fold in the last two years due to financial problems and falling attendances, needs Del Piero as a high-profile draw card. Its previous marquee signings have been Dwight Yorke, who also played for Sydney in 2005-06, and the former Liverpool forward Robbie Fowler, who was with the now-defunct North Queensland team and Perth Glory from 2009-11.
Del Piero scored a club record 286 goals in all competitions over 19 seasons with Juventus, although he managed just five and only two in Serie A last season in limited playing time as the Turin club won its first Serie A title since before the 2006 match-fixing scandal.
- Sydney FC
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