Melbourne waits on Carlos deal

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick says the club would love to retain the services of Carlos Hernandez, but the Costa Rican's playing future would not be determined until after the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick says the club would love to retain the services of Carlos Hernandez, but the Costa Rican's playing future would not be determined until after the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Hernandez, who was rested from Thursday's training session, was the undoubted star of the Victory's comprehensive 6-0 aggregate win over Adelaide in the Major Semi-Final but his future is very much up in the air with the two-year loan deal from LD Alajuelense to end on June 30.

The 26-year-old is keen to stay in Australia, and Merrick said the club wants to keep him, but it will have to negotiate a transfer price with the Costa Rican club which has nurtured him from a promising junior to a player who has played in a World Cup.

Many figures have been bandied about, most around the million dollar mark, but Merrick said retaining Hernandez's services is about a lot more than just writing a cheque.

"There's a lot more than a transfer fee involved in it. All I'll say is that I think Carlos Hernandez is a fantastic player and he alongside another 14 players will retain the services of all of those players," he said.

Merrick said the club had to be mindful of the restrictions of the A-League salary cap and said it was difficult to raise funds for big transfers given clubs can't command transfer fees for internal A-League moves.

"There's too many factors to discuss there, We've got restrictions regarding salary caps, we can't actually transfer players to other clubs within Australia. If a team wants a transfer fee then they've got to transfer them out of Australia. There are lots of restrictions regarding the size of the squad and salary caps," he said.

Meanwhile, Merrick revealed he would not travel to Adelaide on Saturday to watch the Preliminary Final between Adelaide and Queensland.

"We did that two years ago for specific reasons. We pretty well know those two teams well and more importantly know the coaches well. We know they are good teams and what they are capable of and again we'll just focus on how we are playing. I'll watch the game on television," he said.

He also took the opportunity to praise the depth of the A-League, saying that the championship-winning team of two years ago would struggle to measure up in version 4.0.

"I think the standard of the A-League has improved enormously over the four years. I think the team we had two years ago was a fantastic team but the same team now wouldn't perform in the same way and win everything," he said,

"There is no team in this league which is easy to beat and the standard has come up that existing Socceroos are coming back to play here and overseas players want to come here."