FORMER Jets defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley will today be confirmed as the fourth player to sign with new A-League club West Sydney Wanderers.
Topor-Stanley was released from the final year of his contract in Newcastle eight days ago and it had been widely anticipated that he would join former teammate Tarek Elrich, Aaron Mooy and Kwabena Appiah-Kubi at the start-up franchise.
Although he was excited at the opportunity to work under former Socceroos defender Tony Popovic, Topor-Stanley insisted it was not his preference.
‘‘I was comfortable in Newcastle and wanted to be part of a winning team, but it wasn’t meant to be,’’ he told the Herald last night.
‘‘I didn’t want to leave but you have to do what is best for yourself, in terms of your career and where you are going to play your best football. Working with Poppa is something I am looking forward to. He has been capped so many times for Australia and plays my exact position. I should be able to learn a lot from him.’’
There had been speculation over Topor-Stanley’s future – and a number of other senior players – for months.
The Beijing Olympian was the Jets’ player of the year in 2010 and the club fought off a big-money approach from Sydney FC to keep him.
Eighteen months later the 27-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements.
Van Egmond recruited Topor-Stanley from Perth before the 2008 Asian Champions League in his first stint at the Jets, but their relationship has fractured.
‘‘When things weren’t going well on the park, instead of finding a solution and backing the playing group there was a lot of finger pointing and blame placed in the media, which never sat well with me,’’ Topor-Stanley said.
‘‘Rightly or wrongly as it may have been, we should have been united, especially in the public eye, and it never felt that way.’’
One of the Jets’ highest earners on about $250,000 a season, Topor-Stanley’s exit continued a major clean out of senior players.
Topor-Stanley would not outline the details of his departure, but any financial settlement must be included in the $2.35million salary cap.
The Jets’ policy is not to comment on player retention and recruitment.
Former Socceroo Michael Beauchamp is expected to partner Topor-Stanley in the heart of the Wanderers defence.
He will be among a host of player announcements over the next week, including three other former Jets, goalkeeper Ante Covic and strikers Labinot Haliti and Mark Bridge.
The Jets moved quickly to replace Topor-Stanley, signing Newcastle-born defender Josh Mitchell to a two-year deal on Thursday.