The Socceroos’ Asian Cup hopes have been dealt a huge blow after it was confirmed star midfielder Aaron Mooy will be out for three months with a knee injury.
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After weeks of speculation about a potential new club home, Socceroos defensive ace Trent Sainsbury has finally put pen to paper on a three year contract with reigning Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven.
The centre back had been heavily courted during the summer, most notably by English Championship clubs Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa, but has decided that a move to the continent was for him.
After two years spent in the footballing backwaters of China with Jiangsu Suning (including an ill-fated loan spell with Italian giants Inter), Sainsbury returns to the Netherlands, where he previously enjoyed a spell with PEC Zwolle before joining Suning.
The cultured ball-playing defender will be looking forward to playing in an elite European competition again, and for European staple PSV too no less.
Sainsbury enjoyed a stellar World Cup campaign on the back of regular impressive performances in the green and gold jersey. In fact, his agent claimed that he was already fielding calls and expressions of interest merely “33 minutes into the France game”, such was his client’s impressive marshalling of the stoic Aussie defence.
Thus it comes as little surprise that he reunites at PSV with the same leadership team that took the Australians to this summer’s international showpiece. Eindhoven manager Mark van Bommel and assistant Bert van Marwijk have played somewhat of a role reversal, with the latter just wrapping up a spell in charge of the Socceroos with the former as his number 2.
Sainsbury will be happy to have finally ended the speculation surrounding his future and make a move to a storied club playing in the elite stages of European football. PSV face a banana-peel double-header in a matter of days to decide in which European competition they will play- the Europa League, or the much more storied Champions League. Fans of Sainsbury and PSV alike will hope for the latter.
Ultimately, the move seems to be one that suits all parties involved. PSV gain an experienced and hungry defensive addition, and Sainsbury finally has his big break, and gains his big move to a larger, more prominent European league.
Hopefully, Australian football’s most promising defensive export will quickly establish himself in one of Europe’s most historic clubs, which can only be good for the future of Australian football.