Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has accepted an offer to become head coach of the Socceroos but his club are still demanding $1 million in compensation before releasing him.
Fairfax Media understands that while Postecoglou was one of three candidates in the running – the other two being Central Coast’s Graham Arnold and Western Sydney’s Tony Popovic – he is the only one to be offered the role so far by the FFA.
Postecoglou, a former national youth team coach, has always coveted the senior job and accepted the offer that was put to him by the FFA over the weekend.
However, no deal can be done until Victory agree to release their coach. Postecoglou is believed to be on $600,000 per year for this season and next, and the club wants this amount paid out in full, which amounts to around $1 million.
Having already paid out departed coach Holger Osieck, the FFA will now haggle to bring down the price of this payout. It is thought they would be reluctant to pay any more than one season of Postecoglou’s club salary.
Victory’s compensation claim is understandable, considering how long they had to wait for Postecoglou’s services to become available.
They originally wanted him after he led Brisbane Roar to their maiden title in 2011, but the coach stayed another year with the Roar and led them to another title in 2012.
He then finally agreed to join Melbourne, his home-town club, on a three-year deal. In their first season, Victory finished third, and bowed out in the first week of the semi-finals after suffering defeat to Central Coast.
Victory chief executive Ian Robson said there could be movement on the appointment soon.
“We might be making some comment later today. We will go and have some breakfast first,” he said on Fox Sports on Tuesday morning. “There are conversations going on and, for the moment, we want to keep those conversations directly with the FFA.”
While Victory are one of few A-League clubs to turn a profit, they are aware that replacing Postecoglou would be almost impossible, at least in the short term.
Club favourite Kevin Muscat, who became assistant coach immediately after retiring from the club, will take over the reins should the club agree to release Postecoglou.
However, while Muscat would seem a natural to take over on a full-time basis, it is also thought the club would prefer someone with senior coaching experience given the pressure associated with the job.
Victory also had a disastrous time when they promoted from within, as youth coach Mehmet Durakovic was sacked half-way through a season where they failed to make the finals.
Although a deal is likely to be completed for Postecoglou’s services this week, it is thought he will be allowed to take charge for a final home match, against Brisbane Roar on Friday night at Etihad Stadium, where a crowd of close to 35,000 is expected.