The final say on whether Harry Kewell joins Perth Glory will go to coach Ian Ferguson and it is expected that captain Jacob Burns will get to have significant input.
The final say on whether Harry Kewell joins Perth Glory will go to coach Ian Ferguson and it is expected that captain Jacob Burns will get to have significant input on whether his ‘good mate- from his Leeds days joins the club, according to CEO Paul Kelly.
Kelly spoke exclusively today to the Hyundai A-League website ahead of his meeting with the Qantas Socceroos' greatest ever player to shed some light on the situation.
“Jacob has played with him at Leeds, I know they-re good mates and have kept in touch over the years and Jacob has been an exceptional player for this club, he is captain courageous and epitomises what this club is about, I think he would have an influence on Harry because he knows him quite well and that is making a statement about Perth Glory,” Kelly said.
“I-d be surprised if he (Jacob) didn-t have his say, he is very close to Fergie and we are a very close-knit group this year.
“Jacob talks to Fergie on a daily basis at leadership meetings, we will take everything on board before we make any decision though.
“We have a process in the club about how we recruit and how we evaluate and at the end of the day it boils down to the coach as to the players he wants.”
While the addition of Kewell would have an impact on the field, a name like Kewell-s can always bolster the profile of a club off of it and get more fans through the gates, but given Perth-s current stadium situation with nib being redeveloped his commercial value won-t come into play for Kelly or the Glory.
“First and foremost it is about football, it is not about any commerciality,” he said.
“He has to fit into the squad, the football mentality and philosophies of the coach.
From a commercial point of view there is nothing we can do because we have restricted capacity at the stadium, so it won-t give us a massive boost on that side, but it-s more about the football than anything else.”
So what of signing Kewell, is the man worth it?
Given reports he is happy to take a pay cut to get back into football and into the national team fold, money doesn-t appear to be an obstacle and Glory are certainly open to using him as a guest player.
“The rules allow a guest player outside your roster so that is something we could look at,” Kelly said.
“Having said that, it-s not as easy as saying, ‘let-s sign Harry Kewell-, there is a lot more to go through before making that decision.
“After evaluating everything we will consider Harry-s case on its own merits, it-s an important year for the club, we have Asian Champions League as well, so you have to take that into consideration.”
Also to take into consideration is Kewell-s match fitness or lack thereof and Kelly is acutely aware signing Kewell to any deal might also mean he doesn-t get back on the pitch in a hurry.
“If we did sign a Harry Kewell he is not going to be ready to play, he has to train, be evaluated, get some match fitness, you-re talking down the track and then he has got to battle for a place in the side.”
While Glory seem open to Kewell joining the club, his relationship with FFA has been turbulent in recent times to say the least, but it is understood the FFA would be willing to assists bringing Harry Kewell back to the Hyundai A-League, a prospect that fills Kelly with joy even though he isn-t holding his breath.
“They have a process of significant marquee support which they have done from Del Piero and Heskey, if they want to give us support financially I-ll love them then.”