Melbourne Heart striker Eli Babalj will trial with AZ Alkmaar as he explores a return to Europe, while Victory have begun freshening up their squad by releasing four players
|By GOAL AUSTRALIA
Melbourne Heart striker Eli Babalj has returned to Europe to trial with Dutch Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar as he desperately tries to win an overseas contract.
The Yugoslavian-born 21-year-old first joined Melbourne Heart in 2010 but spent 2012 playing with Serbian Superliga powerhouse Red Star Belgrade, only to return to the Victorian capital in January when they failed to completely pay his AU$100,000 transfer fee.
Australia international Babalj signed a new deal with Heart until the end of the 2013-14 season, scoring once in nine appearances.
But - with a clause in his deal allowing him to do so - he has now returned to Europe during the off season to conduct trials, starting at Alkmaar - the former club of fellow Australians Brett Holman, Joey Didulica and James Holland.
Meanwhile, Ange Postecoglou's overhaul of Melbourne Victory's squad has continued after he allowed four out-of-contract players to depart the club.
Versatile midfielder/defenders Diogo Ferreira and Spase Dilevski, goalkeeper Tando Velaphi and defender Sam Gallagher have all been released by the club after their deals expired.
Ferreira and Dilevski were involved under Postecoglou this season but struggled to find a regular place in the first XI, while Velaphi and Gallagher hardly featured for the former Brisbane Roar manager.
Postecoglou thanked the quartet for their work during his first season with Victory.
"All of those guys were great clubmen and certainly put in a lot of hard work during their time with us," Postecoglou said on Friday.
"Unfortunately the boys won't be a part of our future campaigns but we as a club wish them nothing but the best and sincerely thank them for their efforts both on and off the pitch.