EXCLUSIVE: Heart confirm failed Karagounis approach

The agents of Giorgos Karagounis offered the veteran Greece international to Melbourne Heart, who were unable to match Fulham when the Premier League club returned to negotations

Melbourne Heart have confirmed they entered preliminary discussions to sign Giorgos Karagounis, but were not able to secure a deal to bring him to the A-League, with the Greek veteran agreeing a one-year contract extension at Fulham.

Speaking to Goal.com Australia on Tuesday, Heart's general manager of football John Didulica said the club were approached by Karagounis' representatives, but could not compete with Fulham when the English Premier League outfit opted to retain the 36-year-old midfielder.

Melbourne Victory were also heavily linked with a move for the Greece international, but it now appears both A-League clubs were used by Karagounis' agents to force Fulham's hand in negotiations.

"As a club, when a player like that's offered, you're duty bound to follow it through and see exactly what their demands are and what's motivating a move to Australia," Didulica said.

"We did that ... ultimately it's the player's decision.

"It's not an easy task to talk a player out of playing premiership football."

"Any club worth their salt, if they're offered a player of that quality, will make enquiries and at least have the discussion with the player's reps. Or do some due diligence on what's motivating a move to Australia.

"Ultimately though Karagounis has got an opportunity at Fulham and it's very difficult for clubs in Australia to compete with the Premier League on salary, on conditions, on prestige.

"I think every club at least has a conversation or finds out exactly what their situation is.

"It didn't really progress too far given Fulham's interest."

With Karagounis off the market, Heart are set to continue their search for reinforcements in midfield and attack, although it remains to be seen if they will attempt to lure a big name to the club as a marquee signing.

"Our preference is to try and find a defensive midfielder. We want to ensure we can get the right person to add to our midfield group. And that will [help us to] make a decision on who we sign as the attacking option," Didulica said.

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