Trent Sainsbury has left Belgium to continue his club football in Qatar, while his Socceroos teammate Martin Boyle could also be on the move.
Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury has joined Qatar Super League club Al-Wakrah in a bid to recapture a spot in Australia’s starting team at this year’s World Cup.
Sainsbury’s move from Belgian outfit KV Kortrijk comes as his Socceroos teammate Martin Boyle ponders his immediate future after his club Al-Faisaly was relegated from the Saudi Professional League.
Hampered by a knee injury and a lack of football, Sainsbury lost his place in Australia’s starting 11 at the recent World Cup playoffs, where Bailey Wright and Kye Rowles performed heroically in the heart of the defence to help the Socceroos qualify for Qatar 2022.
And with towering Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar set to have fully recovered from his own serious knee injury in time for the World Cup, 30-year-old Sainsbury is facing a tough battle to secure a spot in Australia’s back four.
Sainsbury remained in Qatar after the playoffs, with the new QSL season kicking off on August 1.
Boyle could also be on the move following Al-Faisaly’s relegation to the second-tier of Saudi football.
The Scotland-born 29-year-old winger – arguably the Socceroos’ most dangerous attacking weapon – only joined Al-Faisaly in January from Hibernian on a deal reportedly worth more that $A4.3m.
However, with reports suggesting that Al-Faisaly may seek to reduce its wage bill, Boyle could be on the move again.
That’s despite a Scottish press report suggesting that Boyle wants to stay to help Al-Faisaly gain promotion and return to the Saudi top flight.
Hibernian reportedly has the first option to buy back Boyle if he returns to the UK.
Meanwhile, Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy is yet to play for his Chinese Super League club Shanghai Port this season.
Shanghai Port has played seven matches since the start of the new season on June 3 when Mooy was in Socceroos camp in Qatar.