Football: Not if, but when for Rojas move

Marco Rojas (L) of the Melbourne Victory celebrates with Archie Thompson after scoring against...
Marco Rojas (L) of the Melbourne Victory celebrates with Archie Thompson after scoring against the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park in Melbourne in December. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
When Marco Rojas left the Wellington Phoenix in 2011 he always seemed destined for bigger things.

Despite getting his professional start in Wellington he moved to one of the fashionable clubs in the A-League in the form of the Melbourne Victory, who boasted trophies in their cabinet, a powerful roster and a bigger fanbase.

His first year with the club was largely forgettable as the Victory slumped to eighth-place on the ladder amid uncertainty around their manager, a lack of cohesion and a failed attempt by Harry Kewell to assert himself on the A-League.

But this season Ange Postecoglou has taken over as head coach for the Victory and in 16 starts the diminutive Rojas - who stands around 1.68m tall - has scored 10 goals and added six assists in his breakout year.

If reports out of Melbourne are to be believed, scouts from English club Liverpool and Italian giants Juventus will be in the stands at AAMI Park on Saturday night to watch Rojas when the Victory meet Sydney FC.

The Herald Sun newspaper reported today that both clubs have tracked the All Whites winger lately, which could lead to an offer in the January transfer window.

Rojas, who is managed by his father Rodi, previously stated that he wanted to see out this season with the Victory, while his dad also indicated Rojas Jr was likely to do so, but that was before interest had been shown by such well-known European clubs.

Rojas told the A-League's official website last week that he had heard chatter about a potential move.

"I'm aware of it. I'm speaking to the people I need to speak [with] to go through that process and when I'm ready I'll make a decision about my future," he told the website.

"I don't know what's happening at the moment I'm still processing that with the people close to me and we'll come to a decision when I think I've made the right one and we'll go from there."

Postecoglou has stressed that development is the most important thing for Rojas this year while others have been more lavish in their praise of the talented attacker and he was even dubbed the 'Kiwi Messi' by pundits from across the Tasman.

There's no doubt that such a comparison is hyperbole but it shows the regard he is held in over the Ditch.

If Melbourne fielded a bid for the 21-year-old during the transfer window they could stand to make a considerable amount from a transfer fee.

But if he chose to see out his contract with the Victory and leave at the end of the season the club would only get a much less substantial training compensation, the Herald Sun reported.

The Victory are third on the A-League ladder after 17 rounds and Rojas' combination up front with Australian international Archie Thompson has been one of the most productive in the competition this season.

A move to Liverpool could see Rojas line-up against All Whites team-mate Winston Reid, who plays for West Ham United, while a move to Italian champions Juventus would make him the first Kiwi to play in Serie A.

- Daniel Richardson of APNZ

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