Melbourne Victory closes in on Kewell signing

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) -- Melbourne Victory are in the final stages of negotiations to sign former Liverpool forward Harry Kewell, the A League club said on Friday.

The 32-year-old Australian was released by Turkish club Galatasaray at the end of last season and has been involved in negotiations with at least two A-League clubs, while also being touted to teams across Europe.

Victory had been reported in local media as having given the Sydney-born striker an ultimatum and, when that passed, posted a statement on the club's website (

"In relation to media reports surrounding the deadline, Melbourne Victory Football Club can confirm that it is in the final stages of discussions with Harry Kewell and his management," read a statement

"We expect to be in a position to announce an outcome shortly."

Securing the services of a player regarded as one of Australia's finest exports would be a major coup for Victory, the twice A-League champions who boast the largest crowds in the league.

Kewell has spent his entire senior career in Europe after going to England as a 15 year old for a trial with Leeds United.

Having been pilloried in the Australian media for his financial demands, including a cut of the gate for away matches, Kewell was given an extra incentive to find a club when he was left out of the Australia team to play Wales in a friendly next week.

Coach Holger Osieck said the 54-cap international was "not in very good shape" but hoped he would be fit again for Australia's opening World Cup qualifier campaign against Thailand in Brisbane on Sept. 2.