All White Mike McGlinchey looks set to join J-League club, Vegalta Sendai in the upcoming January transfer window after the Central Coast Mariners received an offer from former coach Graham Arnold for the midfielder.
The New Zealander is understood to have agreed in principle to a loan move that will reunite him with his former coach although no deal has yet been signed.
Mariners coach Phil Moss said he expected McGlinchey to make the move to Japan next month and would not stand in the way of his star player's big move.
"'Arnie' is a big fan of his, and if he does get that opportunity, in my mind he's more than earned it. He's been one of our best performers for the past three-and-a-half seasons, these opportunities don't come around often so for Mikey's sake, I hope it does come off," Moss said.
The Mariners coach has no problems with Arnold attempting to sign players from his former club: "For me, it would give me an in immense amount of pride to see another player go to a top club in a top league," Moss said.
"If it wasn't Arnie that came looking for him, it would have been someone else. I'd rather know that he's going to a club that's coached by someone who knows him."
Despite the setback, the Mariners are already lining up a potential replacement for the outbound Kiwi, and are hopeful of signing former star Bernie Ibini.
The 21-year-old has been granted extended compassionate leave from his Chinese club Shanghai East Asia be closer to his family in Sydney, and has spent the past week training with his former club.
Ibini had a difficult start to life in China, and is understood to be seeking a return to Australia in the upcoming transfer window.
"If Mikey was to go then that may open the door for us to take the next step with Bernie and get him back on a permanent basis or on loan," Moss said.
Wellington-born McGlinchey, 26, represented Scotland at under-21 level before the former Celtic player committed to New Zealand.
He joined the Mariners in 2009 and has made 118 appearances leading into Thursday's A-League clash with the Wellington Phoenix at North Sydney Oval.
- Sydney Morning Herald