Jamie Maclaren is set to join Melbourne City. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Jamie Maclaren is set to join Melbourne City. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

City closing in on Maclaren

SOCCEROOS striker Jamie Maclaren is edging closer to joining Melbourne City after the Asian Cup to replace outcast Bruno Fornaroli.

City are understood to have overcome their salary cap squeeze by negotiating a heavily back-ended deal for former Brisbane Roar marksman Maclaren.

Midfielder Osama Malik is the latest player to depart City, sealing a move to Saudi Arabia.

Malik's exit opens up a second spot in the roster after Scot Michael O'Halloran departed, plus further salary cap space.

Malik, who joined City in January 2016 from Adelaide United in a trade for Stefan Mauk, is City's longest serving current player behind Fornaroli.

City have also sounded out Andrew Nabbout and current Roar centre-forward Adam Taggart, but Maclaren is the most feasible option, despite some issues still needing to be thrashed out before Germans Darmstadt release him.

Maclaren will be inside the salary cap this season, before transitioning into City's new $1 million-a-year marquee man from June, in a multi-year deal.

Manchester-based chief Brian Marwood negotiated the deal, with an Aaron Mooy-esque City Football Group pathway plotted for Maclaren, 25, who has scored nine goals in 38 games with Darmstadt and Scots Hibernian in the last 18 months.

City see Maclaren as a replacement for Bruno Fornaroli. AAP Image/Albert Perez.
City see Maclaren as a replacement for Bruno Fornaroli. AAP Image/Albert Perez.

City are hoping that Maclaren replicates his Roar strike rate of 43 goals in 59 games.

Maclaren, currently at the Asian Cup, could be available for as few as 10 A-League games but said a move was imminent.

"There is something happening for the future but for now it's all about this (Asian Cup),'' Maclaren said.

"I've always enjoyed my football in the A-League I've scored 51 goals (with Roar and Perth Glory) and I'm so proud of my achievements there. I watch every game and keep tabs on the league which is growing all the time."

News Corp Australia


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