Relations between Adelaide United and Western Sydney have soured after the Wanderers’ signing of star midfielder James Troisi for the next two A-League seasons.
Wanderers coach Carl Robinson has finally got his man in convincing Troisi to turn his back on his hometown club.
But the defection of Troisi, who had a season remaining on his Adelaide deal, has angered the South Australian club, with Reds football director Bruce Djite claiming the Wanderers broke a promise in continuing to pursue the 32-year-old A-League-championship winner.
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“They inquired about James a couple of months ago and we wrote back to them that he’s a required player, and we’d appreciate if they did not approach the player, and they subsequently agreed to that and thanked us for the feedback,” Djite said.
“We put a real emphasis on bringing South Australians back, and building a team around South Australians, and to have one of your own leave always cuts the little bit deeper.”
Djite admitted that in September Troisi had been told he could speak to other clubs as the Reds attempted to get his significant wages off their books.
But that changed a month later following the sales of goalkeeper Paul Izzo and talisman Riley McGree to overseas clubs.
Djite said Troisi was then told he was a “required” and “ needed” player.
But the final straw came on the weekend when Troisi – who was understood to be confused over his omission from Adelaide’s leadership group – emailed the Reds saying he wanted his contract terminated.
“What hurts us the most is the timing of it,” Djite said.
“Two weeks out from the season … it does make my job very difficult in terms of replacing the player.”
“(But) it is vitally important that we have players at Adelaide United who want to be a part of the club.”
The Wanderers said they would not comment on their transfer business.
Troisi, who scored the winning goal for Australia in the 2015 Asian Cup final, said it was “fantastic to be at one of the biggest clubs in the league”.
“What I have seen in terms of the training facility and stadium, investing in a fantastic coach, it’s a new chapter and I’m really looking forward to being part of it,” he said.
Troisi said Robinson had tried to sign him in 2015 when the Welshman was in charge of Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps.
“We’ve kept in touch and we have a very close relationship. Carl is a fantastic person and we’ve seen in a short time already what he is able to do in this league,” Troisi said.
“I am coming to the club to be successful and I want to win another title with this club.
“The ambition of the club is high, from everyone I have spoken to, and it’s something I want to be involved in.”