Veteran centre-back Lucas Neill is in advanced talks with two Major League Soccer franchises, and could be set to join Tim Cahill in the United States, according to Holger Osieck
Australia coach Holger Osieck has indicated national team captain Lucas Neill is on the verge of signing with a Major League Soccer franchise.
Osieck, speaking in Seoul ahead of the Socceroos' East Asian Cup opener against South Korea on Saturday, revealed the veteran centre-back had not been considered for the squad as he conducts negotiations with clubs in the United States.
Neill's international team-mate Tim Cahill has thrived since moving from Everton to the New York Red Bulls, and it appears the former West Ham and Blackburn defender could now be joining him in North America.
"Lucas, after we terminated [finished] our [World Cup] qualifying campaign, went on a short vacation, to my knowledge in America, he is in contact with two clubs, is very likely to sign there, and was not available for the team," he said.
Osieck expressed his frustration at being deprived of Josh Kennedy after the veteran striker was barred from joining up with the Socceroos by club side Nagoya Grampus, who face Arsenal in a high-profile friendly on Saturday.
However, the other Asian-based players selected in the squad have all arrived in camp.
"It's not a very good situation because normally, we expect our players that are playing for Asian teams [to be] released for tournament, you can see the Korean team has included a number of J.League players, they have all released those players and I do not agree with the position of Nagoya grampus," Osieck said.
"It was a pretty tough fight to get those [other] players here, but they are all here apart from Josh Kennedy. And we are happy to have them."
With Kennedy missing, Osieck confirmed he was set to select something of an experimental line-up from his fully fit squad, with seven potential debutants under consideration.
"It's a fact that with the absence of Josh, it opens the door for other boys from our group, I had them together already for a good two weeks, had some good and intensive training and now I want to see them when it all counts," he said.
Having relied largely on established veterans in securing a berth at the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Osieck said he was now willing to take some chances in a bid to identify potential alternatives.
"During qualifying, there is no room for any experiments," he said.
"Right now ... we can try players who had been in the squads, been partly on the pitch for a couple of minutes but had not had the opportunity for much playing time.
"First and foremost we have to focus, I need to see what they can and what they will do to step up."
Finally, Osieck said he had not been approached about releasing fringe members of the squad back to Melbourne Victory for their glamour friendly against Liverpool next Wednesday.