Finders keepers … Hull City want to sign Mat Ryan. Photo: Getty Images
CENTRAL COAST Mariners goalkeeper Mat Ryan could be on his way to Britain after Hull City submitted a bid to sign the youngster.
The English Championship team has made the first approach for the highly-rated goalkeeper and the Mariners confirmed there are several other European clubs chasing his signature too.
"It is disappointing that these private commercial discussions are in the public arena, but I can confirm Hull City are one of a number of clubs to have expressed an interest in signing Mathew Ryan in January," chairman Peter Turnbull said.
Ryan, 20, returned from Socceroos duty on Friday night after being an unused substitute in the friendly win over South Korea, and has come home to the first of, what is likely to be, a host of offers. The bid from Hull includes an attractive transfer fee and a reported three-year contract for the goalkeeper, which would begin in January 2013.
Ryan is in the last year of his contract with the Mariners and could leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The January transfer window will be the last chance for Central Coast to cash in on their prized goalkeeper, unless the club can convince him to stay at Gosford.
"Hull have tabled an offer for Mat as a result of his good form in the Hyundai A-League, selection for the Qantas Socceroos as well as his undoubted potential,'' Turnbull said.
After winning goalkeeper of the year last season, Ryan made his first splash in Europe during the A-League off-season when he trialled with Tottenham Hotspur for a week and West Bromwich Albion for two days. He had another scheduled trial with Wigan Athletic but was forced to withdraw due to a shoulder injury.
Hull are fourth on the Championship table and are looking to bolster their stocks between the posts in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League.
Swiss player Eldin Jakupovic is the only goalkeeper on a permanent deal at the club but appears to have fallen out of favour with manager Steve Bruce and is yet to make his league debut since joining in July. Ben Amos has been brought in on loan from Manchester United but Bruce is eyeing Ryan as the long-term custodian at KC Stadium.
The Tigers have only just started negotiations with the Mariners and can expect competition from several clubs also vying for the player some see as Mark Schwarzer's long-term replacement.
"Negotiations with Hull are still at an early stage,'' Turnbull, said.
''However, we will continue to talk with them and several other clubs over the coming weeks in order to arrive at the best possible outcome for Central Coast Mariners FC and Mathew.''