More clubs are reportedly interested in signing Asian players to improve their lists after seeing them play first hand in the ACL and also due to a few successful stints at A-League clubs.
Korean midfielder Jin-Hyung Song’s move to Newcastle has been a masterstroke along with China’s LeiLei Gao at Wellington and Queensland Roar’s Hyuk-Su Seo who has been at the club since 2005, and other clubs want a piece of the action.
Besides the fact that recruiting elite Asian players would improve a club on the field, there are many opportunities off-field as well.
Sydney FC Chairman Andrew Kemeny believes crowds may increase but was also wary of not just recruiting internationals for the sake of it.
Speaking to the Herald, Kemeny said, “There a lot of Asian people in Sydney who we’d like to come to our games.
“As I’ve said before, our policy is not to focus on imports, but that’s not to say we’ll be ignoring them. In fact it’s something we’re looking at every single day. But it’s a drawn-out, expensive, and very tedious business, and you have to make sure you get it right.
“Right now, we’re looking outside the usual places, and Asia is something which definitely interests us. (Song) in Newcastle, he’s just the type we’re looking for. Maybe not a big name, but the right age and the right quality to give something to the team.”
And it seems the interest is going both ways with Asian clubs expressing interest in current A-League payers.
Adelaide United captain Travis Dodd’s sparkling ACL form has seen him linked with Japanese club Kashima Antlers, whilst Newcastle skipper Jade North (although in talks with North Queensland) is apparently being looked at by ACL reigning champions Urawa Red Diamonds.
It is also believed that two Japanese clubs are in the market for goalkeepers with Sydney’s Clint Bolton and Newcastle’s Ante Covic’s names being bandied around.