Big stumbling block in bid to land Zlatan

THE chances of Perth Glory pulling off Australian football's biggest coup since Alessandro Del Piero - aka Operation Zlatan - have hit a major stumbling block, with A-League officials confirming he would not be able to play for Glory until well into January.

Despite Perth planning for him to make his debut later this month against Sydney FC, in the event he agrees terms on a six-game guest stint, the A-League transfer window is shut until January 3.

Under FIFA rules that would be the first opportunity to switch his registration from LA Galaxy to Perth Glory, and thanks to a bye Glory don't play from then until January 11.

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The only way round it would be to seek an exemption from FIFA - of the sort usually reserved for signing goalkeepers when a club has no-one fit, or when a player has been allowed to end a contract early due to non-payment of wages.

Ibrahimovic played for Galaxy a week ago and remains under contract to the MLS club for several more weeks.

"Because he is under contract he cannot join until the January 3 window opens," A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said.

"There are possibilities if his LA contract was terminated and he was a free agent but all things being equal he would not be allowed as a guest until for January 3."

A-League boss Greg O’Rourke.
A-League boss Greg O’Rourke.

How a January arrival would work remains unclear, with Ibrahimovic talking to clubs in Europe, including two in La Liga, about playing the second half of the European season there.

The planned A-League deal is being engineered by the very same man who did the Del Piero deal.

Seven years ago, experienced businessman and player agent Lou Sticca was instrumental in bringing the Italian maestro to our shores.

Now he's behind the scenes helping the Glory make contact with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent to gauge his interest in a stint Down Under

Sources who made overtures to his representatives earlier this year about his future plans say it is likely to cost some $2.5m to land the maverick striker even for a short-term guest deal.

Lou Sticca.
Lou Sticca.

LA Galaxy expect him to move to Spain, to join Granada - currently third in La Liga and intent on mounting a serious title challenge. He is also in touch with Atletico Madrid.

Whether the Spanish side would entertain him spending time in Australia in between remains to be seen, but it was made clear earlier this year that he would expect a figure well north of $1m even for a short-term deal - and that figure is net.

Perth would have to pay his income tax and fringe benefit taxes, plus lavish accommodation, flights and sundry expenses for both Ibrahimovic and a likely entourage including his own physio.

However, it's understood sponsorship deals could largely lighten the financial burden.

GALLOPING INTO CASH

FFA board members expect to confirm the appointment of a new CEO this month after compiling a short list of candidates this week, but the role will come with a salary a long way short of David Gallop's $1.25m a year.

With control of the A-League wrested away from FFA the new CEO has a slimmed-down job spec, with a slimmed-down pay packet the consequence. Candidates have been told the basic package will be around $500,000, with the potential for a small amount more depending on who gets it.

SCOUTING REPORT

MATILDAS coach Ante Milicic is back in town after spending a period overseas, and faces an intensive four months of scouting W-League players for the national team, A-League players for Macarthur United - who will enter the competition next season - and overseeing the Matildas' Olympic qualifying campaign in February and March.

We hear there's no chance of him walking away from the Matildas gig, despite the pressure of combining it with being head coach of an A-League start-up.

POLISH REHAB

CROCKED Wanderers import Radoslaw Majewski hasn't been sighted since tearing knee ligaments before the start of the season, but for good reason.

Majewski has been back in Poland, working intensely with a machine that speeds blood flow through his knee, after the Polish playmaker decided to gamble on not having the ligaments operated on.

The 32-year-old was in touch with teammates on derby day last weekend, and told them he'll be back in Sydney in a fortnight.