How the saga involving Jason Culina ends will take its natural course. But the fact an A-League side is holding its own in negotiations with the current PSV and Socceroos midfielder is being lauded as a milestone for the domestic game.
Culina is a first choice for national team coach Pim Verbeek and arguably plays at the highest standard of any of Australia’s overseas stars in Eindhoven after appearing for PSV in this year’s Champions League.
The 28-year-old son of former Sydney FC coach Branko is rarely injured and was one of the country’s outstanding players leading into the 2006 World Cup.
His form over the past 12 months for the national team hasn’t perhaps maintained that same level. But he has retained his position in Togel PSV’s midfield under coach Huub Stevens and has been offered extended terms to remain with the Dutch club when his current deal ends in June.
Reports suggest Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb are the other major European player in the hunt for Culina’s silky services. But it’s the ballsy ambition of expansion A-Leaguers Gold Coast United which has made the overseas heavyweights sit up and take notice.
United have reportedly offered Culina a three-year $3.6 million deal to become the club’s marquee acquisition with Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg believing the fledgling club have presented the most attractive all-round package.
“My understanding is that we are his top choice but if something comes up that interests him more, then I’ll accept it,” Bleiberg told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“To date, the only Socceroos players who have come home have been just one step from retirement. With Jason you are looking at a player in his prime.
“Even at a big club like PSV, he …