Six times capped Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis will make his senior debut on home soil in the A-League after Western Sydney Wanderers announced it has signed the 22 year old forward on a 6 month deal from Italian Serie A club Lazio.
The Sydney born Ikonomidis left Australia in 2012 when as a 16 year he signed a youth contract with Italian club Atlanta followed 18 months later by another youth contract at Lazio. From Lazio, he was loaned out to Serie B club Salernitana and Danish Super league club AGF, for which two clubs he made a total of 32 senior appearances.
However on his return to Lazio, Ikonomidis has been unable to break into the first team which is flying high in Serie A at present. The loan move to the Western Sydney Wanderers brings hope that he could put himself back into contention for a place in the Socceroos 2018 World Cup squad.
In other last minute transfer deals involving current Socceroos, veteran striker Tim Cahill’s playing career turns full circle with the news he has signed a deal with English Championship club Milwall, the club where his senior playing career began 22 years ago. The 38 year old Cahill commented about the move, “I’ve had a great career as a footballer, but to come here now at this stage of my career, with eyes on a World Cup place, it’s such a professional environment. The romance of the story is definitely not lost on me. I’ve always said that if I come back to England, I’d come home.”
“It’s hard to put into words because I’m still taking it in now, walking out, you know first thing I wanted to do with (coach) Neil (Harris) was to walk on the pitch, walk through the tunnel and have that feeling again that brings back so many memories, then once you cross that white line and touch the pitch it brings a nervous sensation that I had when I was 16 years old when I first signed here. So I’m really happy and you know I’ve had a great career as a footballer but to come here now, this stage of my career, with so much at stake, coming here you want to do well, eyes on a World Cup as well.”
Cahill departed Melbourne City in search of more game time in a bid to make it to his fourth World Cup and join an elite band of players who have scored in four World Cup Finals tournaments.
Meanwhile 32 year old Socceroo midfielder Mark Milligan has departed Melbourne Victory and is headed back to the Saudi Arabian Pro-League after signing with one of the biggest clubs in the country Al Ahli. Fortunately for Victory, their earlier transfer window signing of Terry Antonis means they have cover in central midfield for Milligan.