The Wellington Phoenix are in talks with off-contract All Whites centre back Michael Boxall as the A-League club firm up plans for a three-game pre-season tour of India.
Boxall was released by the Vancouver Whitecaps last month and Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is keen to sign the 23-year-old to provide cover for Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund.
A Phoenix spokesman said yesterday that no deal had been confirmed, while an Australian report quoted a North American source saying Boxall was mulling over a two-year contract offer.
"The offer is there for him," SBS's The World Game website reported.
"It's up to him where he goes from here but the Phoenix is certainly an option for him. He's played at all levels for his country and he is looking for a new challenge."
The strapping Boxall is a good athlete but would be a back-up behind captain Durante and two-time player of the season Sigmund, unless Herbert shifted Sigmund to right back.
The Phoenix have 17 players on their books and want to complete a 21-man squad with a striker, a centre back and two under-21 players.
Uruguayan midfielder Joaquin Noy is still in Wellington on trial but the Phoenix have just one import slot remaining and are looking at filling that with a foreign striker, possibly on loan.
The Phoenix are also close to finalising a three-match pre-season tour of India.
Retired Phoenix midfielder Tim Brown has driven the idea after representing the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association in India in May.
The plan is for the Phoenix to play the Jets in Newcastle in late August before flying to India.
It's understood one of the games will be against Kolkata club Prayag United, who last month signed former Melbourne Victory star Carlos Hernandez.
The Phoenix open the A-League season at home to Sydney FC on October 6.
- The Dominion Post
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