Foreign clubs circle Rogic
Tom Rogic … Central Coast Mariners supporters might not see him in action for the club again. Photo: Brendan Esposito
TOM ROGIC'S dismissal against Sydney FC for his reckless tackle on Rhyan Grant could be his final contribution for Central Coast Mariners, as foreign clubs are lining up to sign him in the January transfer window.
Rogic will not be able to play again until the F3 derby against Newcastle on January 19, after the A-League match review panel slapped him with a three-match ban for his dangerous tackle. There is a chance the attacking midfielder might have moved on to the next step of his career by then as the Mariners are tempted to cash in on their prized asset before his contract expires at the end of the season.
The club is yet to receive a firm offer for the highly rated 20-year-old but it's understood Italian, Belgian and other European clubs have signalled their interest. Mariners coach Graham Arnold said Rogic and goalkeeper Mat Ryan could be lured by lucrative offers from abroad but he has reaffirmed his faith in the rest of his squad to maintain strong form, and will not be looking for immediate replacements in the event of their departure.
''The latest is that obviously the January transfer window is coming but we haven't really received or had anything that official that we have to worry about at this moment,'' Arnold said.
''You build a team in June, July and August to try and be successful and win a title, so if we're to lose those two players, as a coach, it would be extremely disappointing. But, from the club's side of things, the nature of the A-League is that clubs are all financially struggling, most of them, and it's the only major income that most clubs get that can benefit the health of the club.''
The potential departures of Rogic and Ryan would leave a significant void in the Mariners line-up but Arnold said that he felt a sense of pride in seeing his players leave to further their careers. Matt Simon, Rostyn Griffiths and Alex Wilkinson have all left the Mariners for more lucrative Asian destinations. Their career progression was seen as a testament to the job done by the club's coaching staff, Arnold said.
''I said to the boys from day one when I first got this job that I will gauge the type of job that I'm doing up here by how many players go on in their careers to become millionaires,'' Arnold said. ''Since I've been at the club, I feel proud of the fact that five players have gone overseas.''
Rogic joins captain John Hutchinson and in-form striker Daniel McBreen as a trio of Mariners suspended for the clash against Perth Glory in Gosford on Monday night, forcing a significant tactical reshuffle for Arnold. Adriano Pellegrino replaces Rogic in the hole behind the striker, while Oliver Bozanic will start at left midfield in place of Hutchinson. Adam Kwasnik replaces McBreen, and Mike McGlinchey will wear the captain's armband. Despite the upheaval, Arnold is looking forward to the chance to measure his squad depth before the start of their Asian Champions League campaign in February.
''It's a good test to see where our squad is at before the ACL kicks in, because we've got a heavy program at the back end of the season, like last year,'' Arnold said.
Correction: The story originally stated that Tom Rogic is 19. He is 20.