Huge Iniesta development opens door for A-League move

Emma Kemp

Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop says A-League clubs have "expressed interest" in Andres Iniesta as a rumoured move to Japan appears to have fallen through.

 

Iniesta has been linked with moves to China, Japan and Australia since announcing he would not join another European side after leaving Barcelona.

The Spanish legend confirmed "all possibilities are open".

But Australia's chances of snaring such a big fish with FFA's modest new $3 million war chest appear slim.

Yet hours after J-League club Vissel Kobe appeared to back away from reports of an offer worth 25 million euros a season, Gallop revealed FFA means business and said there were clubs willing to top up any potential offer.

"I won't name who but I do understand that A-League clubs have expressed interest, and that's a start," Gallop said on Thursday.

"He'll have offers from around the globe but the A-League offers a great competition to play in and the Australian lifestyle, and we saw with Del Piero and others that that is an attraction.

"It would require a significant investment, primarily from one of our clubs, but we've got some funds available as well and if we can contribute - it would be a contribution, not the bulk of what he could earn - then we think it's money well spent."

Could Barcelona's Spanish star Iniesta end up in the A-League? Pic: Getty

Iniesta addressed the speculation overnight, revealing there are still "little details" to resolve before he decides on his next club.

"I said that I would not go to Europe and apart from that all possibilities are open," Iniesta told beIN Sports after Barcelona thumped Villarreal 5-1.

"They said I'm not going to China, now they say Japan is an option and I've also heard Australia.

"You will know when I tell you. There are things to seal, little details and I will try and choose the best option."

Gallop's comments come as the chief executives of four clubs, understood to be Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers, met with A-League chief Greg O'Rourke on Thursday.

The quartet are believed to be in the market for recognised big-name players next season and were set to discuss their budgets and how the funds, provided by Fox Sports, will be used.

FFA said it would draw up a list of targets and float desired names with clubs, who could also approach the governing body with their own signing targets.

Gallop said the strict marketability criteria used for the centralised 'guest marquee' fund of 2016 - dubbed the 'Tim Cahill Rule' - still applied.

"For us to invest some or all of the $3 million we're going to have to be satisfied that it is a player who's going to turn the dial," he said.