Maestro … Del Piero could be up for $2m. Photo: Anthony Johnson
ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO appears certain to continue playing in the A-League next season and Fairfax Media understands the Italian superstar could sign a new deal with Sydney FC as early as Wednesday.
After months of talks between Sydney FC and their marquee man, it is understood Del Piero has agreed to a new one-year contract worth up to $2 million per-season. His agent, brother Stefano, arrived in Sydney late last week to finalise the contract extension as well as negotiate the finer details of the deal, such as new marketing strategies. Sources close to the negotiations revealed the two parties have agreed to the terms of the contract and his signature is imminent. While Del Piero is not believed to have put pen to paper yet, a source said the deal could be finalised as soon as Wednesday.
Despite the lengthy process of the deal, the nature of the negotiations were said to be straightforward. Sources revealed the two parties agreed in principle to a new deal some time ago but did not rush signing on the dotted line as they wanted to streamline marketing strategies.
Fairfax Media understands the deal will be an extension of Del Piero's existing contract, including the same terms and wages. It is understood that there have not been any complications throughout the negotiation process and discussions were held to clarify specific details that required adjustments.
As the bulk of his personal media and marketing team remains in Italy, his representatives and Sydney FC made minor adjustments to the way Del Piero is promoted in his second season in Australia based on the experiences of his first season. The new deal will give both parties a better understanding of how to promote Del Piero down under, as well as allow Sydney FC more freedom with their marketing operations.
''It's not so much that the club wants to get the brand, the image and complicate all that, I believe it's just a little bit of tweaking about how to conduct ourselves with him in other marketing type activities, attending events or things like that,'' a source said. ''You can imagine that when he signed up, there was a lot to go through and when you travel a year down the track, or not even a year, the practicalities come into play and it's a matter of ensuring those things are understood and clarified.''
Sydney FC are pleased with the impact of Del Piero and are experiencing an average attendance of more than 18,500, their best since the first season of the A-League. His arrival has given Australian football an unprecedented global exposure with games televised live in Italy and merchandise sold overseas. The former Juventus captain became the club's record goalscorer for a single season when he struck his 11th goal of the campaign in Sydney's 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar. Del Piero has stated his affection for Australia and his desire to stay in the harbour city.