The Central Coast Mariners have reportedly offered Usain Bolt a professional playing contract to play in the A-League.
The club’s CEO Shaun Mielekamp is believed to have submitted the offer to Bolt’s management, as first reported by The Australian on Sunday afternoon.
The 32-year-old’s future has been the subject of much speculation recently, after a two-year deal was tabled by Maltese club Valletta FC.
While the reports are in the early stages, there are no further details on the length of the contract nor the amount of money on offer.
It is also unclear if Football Federation Australia (FFA) decided to backflip on their initial decision to rule out using the marquee fund to make the deal happen, as Bolt didn’t qualify for the funding.
Bolt’s agent said on Thursday he had turned down the contract from Maltese champions Valletta and will remain in Australia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
The eight-time Olympic champion has been on trial with A-League club the Central Coast Mariners since arriving Down Under in August – and it seems his patience may have paid off.
Bolt scored two goals in a pre-season friendly, with cashed-up Valletta dangling a two-year trial-free contract to entice him away earlier this week.
But Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms opted against a move to the Maltese Premier League team.
“There is a lot of interest in Usain playing football,” he told ESPN.
“We regularly receive similar approaches. I can confirm Usain does not wish to pursue this opportunity in Malta.”
While Bolt’s A-League stint has divided the opinions of players, pundits, coaches and fans, there’s no denying the interest he has gained as a result of his pursuit.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel delivered a scathing assessment of the sprint king’s prospects in the A-League.
“For the A-League it was a fantastic period, it was top, but I can’t believe that he will play in the A-League,” Babbel said.
“I saw him play. For all that love, that’s not enough in 100 years.”
On the flip side, Socceroos legend Mark Schwarzer said Bolt is a “good chance” of making it in Australia, despite his lack of experience.
“I think he’s got a good chance, purely because he’s been there for so long,” Schwarzer told ESPN.
“They think he’s got something and that’s why they’ve also got him there.”
Mariners Coach pours cold water on Bolt deal
Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey has done his best to douse speculation of an impending deal for Usain Bolt, openly doubting whether the sprint king was worthy of a start at the A-League club.
The eight-time Olympic gold medal-winner is on trial with the Mariners, having netted a double in a practice game last weekend.
He failed to show in Brisbane for the side’s 1-1 draw with the Roar on Sunday, with News Corp Australia reporting the 32-year-old was in Melbourne considering his options after being tabled a deal.
Mulvey spoke to Fox Sports following their Round One opener and said it’s the first he’s heard of it.
“It’s news to me, but do you think he’d get in our front three?,” Mulvey said.
“All I know is what we’ve just done, we’ve got Connor Paine, Michael McGlinchey, Tommy Oar, Matt Simon, Ross McCormack – we’ve got a very good front third.
“I don’t know anything about that, is that hot off the press it is?”