EXCLUSIVE: Australian striker Andrew Barisic considers Arema departure as doubt over Indonesian football persists

The Canberra-born hitman could be on the move once again, though he is happy to remain at Arema should Indonesian football get its act together

By Paddy Higgs

Australian striker Andrew Barisic has revealed he has several suitors for his signature, as uncertainty continues to surround the future of Indonesian football.

Former Gold Coast United frontman Barisic has spent the last two seasons in Indonesia, first with Persebaya 1927 then with Indonesian Premier League rivals Arema FC.

But with Fifa pushing for the merger of the recognised IPL and the rebel Indonesian Super League, there is conjecture over when the new Indonesian top-flight will kick off.

And with the 2011-12 IPL season ending in April, it means scores of players - including Barisic and a host of other Australians - could find themselves out of work for months.

The 26-year-old is content to stay at Arema, who resume AFC Cup duties in September when they face Saudi Professional League outfit Al-Ettifaq in the quarter finals.

But with no football guaranteed past that, Canberra-born Barisic is fielding interest from elsewhere in a bid to protect his livelihood.

"No-one knows when Indonesian football is going to start again, as the two leagues have to be one," Barisic told Goal.com in Melbourne.

"Arema have been good to us.  I've had some interest from other people.  I've spoken to the club and they're happy to let me go on a free transfer.

Barisic scored eight goals in the 2011-12 campaign for Arema, having scored the same amount for Persebaya the season before when the club was then in the Liga Primer Indonesia.

"[The coach] just dropped me… and sacked me via SMS"
- Barisic on his departure from Persebaya.

He had left for Persebaya shortly after Gold Coast United's 2010-11 season ended with a preliminary-final defeat to Central Coast Mariners, scoring twice in 17 apperances - with only three starts - for the former A-League outfit.

The former Melbourne Knights forward immediately endeared himself to Persebaya fans by scoring on debut, but a change of coach - from now-Indonesia Under-23 coach Aji Santoso to Portuguese manager Divaldo Alves - after his first season led to Barisic's exit.

"Things changed a lot.  There was a few things which I can't publicly say, but a few things from his side he shouldn’t have asked or done," he said.

"So I knew from the start it wasn't going off well.  He wanted to bring his own striker in, but I'd already signed a two-year deal… He just dropped me… and sacked me via SMS."

The matter is still in the hands of FIFPro, but Barisic jumped at the chance to join East Java rivals Arema, helping them finish third - one point behind Persebaya - in the 2011-12 campaign.

He will gladly remain with Arema if Indonesia's two leagues can agree a merger before he can find a home elsewhere.

"I'm happy there," Barisic said.  "We've got the AFC semi-finals… They've been brilliant to us since I've been there.  I'm still an Arema player [at the moment] and I'm looking forward to playing in the AFC quarter-finals."

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