JETS chief executive Lawrie McKinna has dismissed reports that attacking dynamo Dimi Petratos could be following Andrew Nabbout to Japan.
Nabbout, Newcastle’s leading scorer, signed a two-year deal this week with Asian champions Urawa Reds.
There were reports on Friday that Petratos, who has been just as influential this season in Newcastle’s rise to outright second, had also attracted interest from the J-League and could be sold by the end of March, when the Japanese transfer window shuts.
McKinna described that proposition as “total rubbish”.
“He has no [release] clause in his contract and we have had no interest,” McKinna said.
One of the reasons Newcastle allowed Nabbout to leave mid-season was a reported $500,000 release clause included in the two-year deal he signed last November.
When Urawa agreed to pay the stipulated transfer fee, the Jets were obliged to let him go.
Newcastle would be loath to lose Petratos, given they are just five games away from their first finals appearance in seven years. They have already been depleted by a broken leg that is expected to end skipper Nigel Boogaard’s season, while striker Roy O’Donovan has been suspended for the next two games.
On the flip side, the Jets hope to be boosted for their next game, against Wellington in Auckland on Saturday week, by the return from injury of South Americans Ronny Vargas and Pato Rodriguez.
Peteratos and Nabbout were named this week in new Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk's preliminary squad for this month's friendlies against Norway and Colombia.
DOMINIC BOSS reports: Sydney FC are set to retain the services of two of their biggest names with Brazilian striker Bobo and Serbian playmaker Milos Ninkovic on the cusp of signing contract extensions.
Fairfax Media understands the club is confident of retaining the services of the two attacking stars after reaching an agreement in principle for new deals for both off-contract marquees.
Sydney FC are set to hand Ninkovic a multi-year marquee deal that will could see the 33-year-old finish his playing career at Moore Park. The former Serbia international has submitted his paper work to become an Australian citizen and is expected to be nationalised before the start of next season, meaning he will not count as a foreign player for the club's A-League squad. The retention of Ninkovic is set to free-up a vital visa-spot on Sydney's roster for next season with the FFA reducing the limit of five positions to four and one reserved specifically for an Asian player.
Bobo is understood to have agreed to terms for a one-year contract extension on his marquee deal with Sydney FC on the back of his scintillating second season with the Sky Blues. Bobo is on the path to set a new record for most goals in a single season, having scored 22 goals this campaign. With five more games in the regular season remaining, Bobo requires just three more to equal Bruno Fornaroli's A-League record set in 2015-16, which included finals fixtures, and 10 more to surpass the all-time record set by Damien Mori for Adelaide City in the 1995/96 National Soccer League season.
Both Ninkovic and Bobo were part of Sydney's A-League side that won the premiership and championship last season, Ninkovic being named player of the year for his role in driving the Sky Blues to their first silverware in seven seasons. The duo scored Sydney's two goals in their FFA Cup final win over Adelaide United earlier in the season, clinching a third trophy in the one calendar year for the club.
Ninkovic arrived at Sydney in 2015 after stints with Dynamo Kyev, Evian and Crvena Zvezda. Bobo joined the club in 2016 from Brazilian club Gremio, after spells with Besiktas and Kayserispor in Turkey.