Marco Rojas close to deal with VfB Stuttgart
All Whites star Marco Rojas is on the verge of signing with German Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart.
German newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported "the deal is as good as perfect" for the 21-year-old, who was the A-League player of the year with Melbourne Victory.
Australian football website The World Game reported Rojas and his father/manager Rodi flew to Germany on Thursday to complete the move.
Personal terms had already been agreed with Rojas only needing to complete the formality of a medical before the deal could be announced.
Hamilton product Rojas got his professional break at the Wellington Phoenix via a scholarship from supporters group Yellow Fever.
His stellar 15 goal, nine assist 2012-13 campaign led to interest from European heavyweights Juventus and Liverpool and the move to Stuttgart represents a significant step up for the livewire attacker.
The Bundesliga is now arguably the premier league in the world, with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund set to square off in the Champions League final after demolishing Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively in the first legs of their semifinals.
Before boarding the plane on Thursday, Rodi Rojas told The World Game the Bundesliga was "a terrific league".
"Any player would only benefit from going there and lifting the level of his game. Playing there would hopefully bring out the best in Marco as it would any young footballer with ambitions to reach the top.
"You also look across Europe and a lot of the leagues are in financial trouble and that can play on the minds of players, but that is not the case in Germany. We are very close to securing something for Marco and there are just a few little things to do before we can confirm anything officially."
ESPN reported in 2011 that Stuttgart's annual average salary for a player was more than NZ$3 million.
Stuttgart's home ground is the 60,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Arena and they are currently ranked 10th in the 18-team Bundesliga.
They have won five Bundesliga titles in their 119-year history.
The Dominion Post