Sydney FC have made history by signing young Australian prodigy Daniel De Silva on loan from rivals Central Coast Mariners.
The 21-year-old becomes the first A-League player involved in an intra-league loan deal, just a day after Football Federation Australia announced changes to the competition’s transfer system.
De Silva won’t be allowed to play against the Mariners under the terms of the one-year loan arrangement, which was met with some surprise and criticism on social media – with fans questioning why the a club would allow such a talented youngster to join a competitor.
The attacking midfielder – who has three years to run on his Mariners contract – was determined to leave Gosford and now has been granted his wish, after several weeks of protracted negotiations.
Professional Footballers Australia had been engaged to help facilitate De Silva’s departure with his circumstances complicated by the fact he is also tied to Italian club Roma.
The Mariners were adamant they would not release him for free to a rival club while transfer fees between A-League clubs are prohibited – but the new loan rules have enabled a compromise.
De Silva, who has made 54 A-League appearances with the Mariners and Perth Glory, becomes new Sky Blues coach Steve Corica’s second signing after former Central Coast winger Trent Buhagiar.
“Danny is a great signing for us, as there were a number of other A-League clubs who wanted him,” Corica said in a statement.
“He is a quality young player who will benefit and learn from the talent we have at the club already, and I think we will see the best of him this season.
“He improves our squad and is another dangerous, young, attack-minded midfielder for our Members to get excited about.”
De Silva, who spent time on loan with Dutch club Road JC from 2015 to 2017, will make his Sky Blues debut in Wednesday’s pre-season clash with the Sutherland Sharks.
“I want to win trophies and do it playing the type of exciting football the Sydney FC Members expect to see.” De Silva said.
“I’m also looking forward to playing and working under Steve Corica too. Everything he has had to say about the club and the way he intends to play excites me.
“I can’t wait to join the boys and get training ahead of the new season.”