Sydney FC dismiss Del Piero Thailand move
Speculation that Alessandro Del Piero is bound for a cashed-up Thai club next season has been dismissed as just that by Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata.
However, former Socceroos defender Shane Stefanutto reckons it is a matter of when, not if, the A-League's greatest import leaves Australia.
Del Piero, 39, is reportedly weighing up his future after a mooted lucrative offer from Thai club PTT Rayong, owned by the nation's richest company Petroleum Authority of Thailand.
Del Piero's brother and agent will reportedly meet in Brazil with the newly promoted Thai Premier League club's representatives this week.
PTT Rayong manager Prawut Thavornsiri said on Tuesday the wealthy Thai team were trying to lure Del Piero to the kingdom from Australia.
"We have sent him (Del Piero) a letter to ask what conditions - including details of his salary - he would want if he came here to play," Thavornsiri told AFP.
"We sent the letter two days ago and Del Piero said he needed a few days for consideration ... I think it's 60 per cent possibility (he will join)."
Earlier on Tuesday, Sydney FC boss Pignata was not resigned to losing the former Juventus captain and Italian World Cup winner.
"I don't like commenting on speculation because that is all it is right now," he told AAP.
"At the moment, he is contracted until the end of the season.
"We will discuss his future when the time is right.
"The deals that his brother and agent talk about is up to them but there is always speculation surrounding a player of his calibre."
However, Roar defender Stefanutto said it would be no surprise if the man who helped put the A-League on the map left at season's end.
"To have him in the league has been an absolute honour," he said.
"He's contributed so much to football in this country in a short time.
"He's a gentleman, a wonderful footballer - it would be sad to see him go.
"But we are not going to keep him forever; there's no doubting that.
"It's been wonderful for the league that we have been able to attract a player of his calibre.
"When I started in the old NSL (National Soccer League), we would never think of getting high-quality footballers like this - (Brazil's) Fernando Rech was about as good as you could get back then.
"So good luck to him (Del Piero)."
Newly promoted to the Thai Premier League (TPL), the club want to state their title credentials with a headline-grabbing signature before the start of the new season next month.
A move to the relatively unknown TPL would be a coup for Thai football whose biggest foreign signing so far was ex-Liverpool great Robbie Fowler - who endured an unremarkable spell in the twilight of his career with Maung Thong United in 2011-12.
In recent weeks, former Arsenal striker Jay Simpson and one-time QPR forward Jay Bothroyd joined top teams in the league.