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Anthony Caceres seals shock move from Central Cast Mariners to Manchester City

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Central Coast Mariners midfielder Anthony Caceres has completed his transfer to Manchester City, although he may never kick a ball for the English Premier League giants.

A $500,000 transfer fee between the two clubs is thought to have been agreed, but while Caceres is rated as one of the A-League's best young talents, it would seem unlikely City would be purchasing him for use in their star-studded first team.

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A much likelier outcome is Caceres will be lent back to A-League club Melbourne City, who are owned by Manchester City's parent group, the Dubai-based City Football Group.

That could trigger alarm bells at Football Federation Australia's headquarters, with many clubs having flagged concern about Manchester City hoarding A-League players and then lending them to their Australian offshoot.

It is also possible Caceres could be farmed out to another club in England, just as Manchester City have done with former Brisbane Roar star Luke Brattan, who is on loan with Bolton.

"We need to celebrate when players at the Central Coast Mariners are sold to bigger clubs. It's our charter. It's our intent," said coach Tony Walmsley on Friday. "When I brought Anthony Caceres to the Mariners his potential was obvious. This move demonstrates how far Anthony has progressed and symbolises how giving youth a chance works for both the Central Coast Mariners and young aspirational footballers."


Caceres is thought to have suffered a major falling out with the club's hierarchy this season and is understood to have been seeking a move for the past few months.

He was dropped for the Mariners' 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix on New Year's Eve and remained out of the side that drew 3-3 with Melbourne Victory last Friday.

Sydney FC were understood to have been leading the race for Caceres when it was clear he was unhappy with life in Gosford, with former Mariners coach Graham Arnold keen to link up again with with the attacking midfielder.

However, the Mariners refused to let Caceres leave on a free transfer and with owner Mike Charlesworth holding out for a transfer fee that met the player's release clause, the English club entered the fray.

Another disgruntled Mariner, forward Nick Fitzgerald, has already been granted a release by the Mariners and has been touted as an injury-replacement player for unlucky Melbourne City striker Corey Gameiro.