Sydney Olympic FC are on the verge of announcing Euro 2004 champion, Angelo Charisteas, has signed to the club.
The club says a contract has been sent to the 33-year-old player and pending an extension on his military service in Greece, the player will be on Australian soil for the start of the season.
“We’ve agreed to terms, he’s happy to come down,” Sydney Olympic’s media manager George Mpliokas told Neos Kosmos.
“We’re in the final stages, we need to have it [the contract] returned, have it finalised till it’s all well and good and then we’ll be making an official announcement.”
Charisteas is a walking legend in Greece after he scored the winning goal against Portugal to win the Euro 2004 championship.
In his career, he’s played for the German Bundesliga at Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Bayer Leverkusen as well as Dutch sides Ajax and Feyernood.
The club has remained tight lipped on how much it’s handing over just to sign the international, but it says the investment is well worth it.
“Part of the agreement, and something he’s brought up himself, is that he did want to engage with our youth academy and we love that idea,” Mr Mpliokas says.
“We’ve had a lot of success in developing players and getting them ready for their professional careers, particularly in Asia and Europe.”
Although many of the young Greek Australians in the junior teams’ ranks might not remember the Euro 2004 win, they will still be following the star player everywhere to get the best advice possible for a fledging career.
Olympic has started the careers of greats like Alistair Edwards and Tim Cahill, and has always looked to bring in international professionals to give their experience to up and coming players.
It famously brought former Liverpool legend Ian Rush to Sydney for three games in 2000.
The signing might be the most imminent, but Olympic have made no secret of the fact they also want to sign Liverpool defender Sotiri Kyrgiakos and former AEK player Pantelis Kafes.
Waiting for the January transfer window to close, the club hasn’t been able to improve on much other than an agreement in principle.
“Our focus is with Charisteas at the moment, because we’re in the final stages of negotiation and because we have a close mindset of when we’ll be playing and we want to get the contract signed and delivered, and then we’ll be able to work on bringing the other guys over,” Mr Mpliokas says.
The club must also juggle Football NSW’s regulations, with rules restricting the number of marquee players playing at one time.
At least for Charisteas, having some game time at Olympic will put a huge spotlight on him for later A-League prospects.
The signing will be a huge win for the Greek community too, who will be rushing to the stands of Belmore Sports Ground.
The club has had a strong Greek Australian legacy, spanning over 50 years, and was first called Pan Hellenic Soccer Club.