Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt’s agent has confirmed the star could be on his way to the A-League, after agreeing to a deal “in principle” with the Central Coast Mariners.
Bolt, 31, is set for a six-week trial with the Mariners, a New South Wales club in Australia, starting next month, with a season-long deal on the table should he make the grade.
“The deal between the Mariners and Usain Bolt in principle has been agreed, subject to a couple of benchmarks,” his agent Tony Rallis told the Big Sports Breakfast.
“Mainly, a trial, and of course marquee funds support from the FFA.
“Once the FFA comes back and says that they’ll be part of the process, we’re going to the trial.”
Bolt, a Manchester United fan who attended the World Cup final in Moscow, retired from the track after the world championships in London last year.
He has since trialled with German giants Borussia Dortmund and Stromsgodset in Norway.
“If he’s competitive, he will lift our A-League profile,” Rallis said. “He will create dreams for young people and he will give the A-League a profile no amount of money can buy.
“This bloke’s an ambitious athlete. The A-League needed a hero, and we got superman.
“The owner of Central Coast Mariners has put his hand deep in his pocket and guaranteed 70 per cent of the salary.”
The Mariners firmed as Bolt’s most likely destination after taking the sprint king’s ambitions seriously, despite interest from several A-League clubs.
Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said there was still a lot of work to do on the “surreal” deal, and noted the trial period was extremely important to see Bolt’s skill level.
“It would only be big if he can play and if he can go really, really well,” he told the Seven Network.
“Because if he comes and he’s not up to the level then it actually has a detrimental effect.
“But if he comes and he’s as good as our reports are saying that he can be, then that would be very exciting and I’m sure that this stadium would be pretty full every time we put the boots on.”
Mielekamp said Bolt was known to improve significantly every time he trained, and was an extremely fast learner.
“He’s got a very good left foot and only time will tell what level he’s at, and does that fit the A-League,” he added.