Million dollar target: Who will win race for Arzani?
TEEN sensation Daniel Arzani has almost certainly played his last game for Melbourne City, as he edges closer to an A-League record $2.3 million transfer.
Overseas clubs are circling the Melbourne City winger, who is pushing for a Socceroos start in Wednesday morning's (AEST) final group game against Peru.
City Football Group is preparing to launch a mega bid to keep Arzani in the family.
While refusing to comment, their football chiefs are resigned to the fact that he won't be in Melbourne in 2018-19.
It's understood that CFG will propose an Aaron Mooy-style deal, where Manchester City buys Arzani and loans him to a European club, such as their Dutch sister-club NAC Breda.
If Arzani's preference is for a non-CFG move, Melbourne City must decide whether to cash in, or risk losing him a year later on a free transfer, as he is out of contract in 2019.
European powerhouse Juventus and German giants Bayer Leverkusen are keen on the tricky winger, who's impressed in two substitute appearances at the World Cup.
Ajax Amsterdam were keen but have instead settled for Southampton's Serbia winger Dusan Tadic.
A "stepping stone" move to a lesser European club looms as the likeliest option, with Austria Vienna showing huge interest in the 19-year-old.
Champions League hopefuls Benfica and Slavia Prague are also set to make offers.
But it doesn't end there. Dutch duo AZ Alkmaar and John van't Schip's PEC Zwolle will launch serious bids, while Arzani's Russia displays have attracted interest from Germans Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz.
Socceroos assistant Mark van Bommel is also likely to push PSV Eindhoven into making an offer, having yesterday been confirmed as their new coach, with Bert van Marwijk set to follow.
Arzani, who is the youngest player at Russia 2018, was leaning towards staying at Melbourne City heading into Russia but the amount of interest from abroad plus his Socceroos performances have prompted a rethink.
Arzani was full of praise for City coach Warren Joyce and Melbourne City's influence.
"I have a very good relationship with the gaffer (Joyce), the staff there have helped me come a long way, improve physically, mentally and all aspects of my game,'' Arzani said.
Speaking before Arzani was selected for the Socceroos back in April, before CFG football chief Brian Marwood was hopeful he would stay in Melbourne and within the group.
"The plan is to continue to develop him. Playing week in week out, getting valuable minutes in a league that's testing for him I think is crucial,'' Marwood said.
"You can talk about journeys but it will really come down to the player. The player will determine where he ends up. If he continues to do what he's doing. He's got an ambition, he wants to play at the highest level.
"I think he's happy and feels that Melbourne City and the CFG can help him achieve those ambitions and we believe likewise."
His improvement since joining Socceroos camp has been immense, making four substitute appearances and scoring in the friendly win over Hungary.
City have already made a tidy profit on Arzani, as they will pocket $300,000 from FIFA for his selection in Australia's World Cup squad.
That money will increase if the Socceroos progress to the knockout phase.