Socceroos swap at Victory to mark new era
Socceroos attacker Robbie Kruse looks set be the first Melbourne Victory signing of the Marco Kurz era.
Kruse will fill one of the two designated player spots alongside Swedish sharpshooter Ola Toivonen, replacing Keisuke Honda and James Troisi.
The arrival is timely, as Victory is on the verge of losing midfielder Terry Antonis, 25, to South Korean club Suwon Bluewings.
Antonis, who starred for Victory last season before injury slowed his finish, was eager to give it another shot overseas after earlier stints with Greek club PAOK and Dutch side VVV Venlo.
Kruse has won 75 caps for the Socceroos, scoring five times, despite suffering two serious injuries which left him sidelined for nine months apiece.
After a short-lived stint in China, Kruse rediscovered his mojo with German second tier side Bochum, scoring eight goals in 44 games, and was subject to offers from several clubs in Germany and Asia.
But Kruse is now in Brisbane, and mulling over the multi-year offer from his former club Victory, which he's expected to sign within 48 hours.
Kruse, 30, will play a pivotal role for Kurz and gives him some attacking flexibility as he plots to find the right balance after the stunning Toivonen-Kosta Barbarouses partnership was broken after the Kiwi joined Sydney FC.
The former Bayer Leverkusen player is capable of playing on either wing, as a number 10 (attacking midfield) or even as a (second) striker.
Kruse has always spoken glowingly of Victory, crediting the club with reigniting a career that was threatening to go to waste.
"Had it not been for Melbourne Victory I'm not sure where I'd be right now, but I guarantee you I wouldn't be in Germany," Kruse told the Herald-Sun in 2012.
"After some convincing, Ernie Merrick gave me an opportunity to resurrect my career.
"When I walked into the Victory changeroom, I was intimidated by some of the players, including Kevin Muscat, and they set the rules and told me what was expected of me.
"It grounded me and now, when I look at how professionally I do everything, Melbourne helped me establish that."
Victory declined to comment on Kruse and Antonis' futures.
Capped three times by Australia, Antonis was recalled to the Socceroos squad for the friendly in South Korea last month but did not feature.