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Fulham agree Aussie defender deal

last updated Saturday 04th August 2007, 10:55 AM
Adrian Leijer
Adrian Leijer

Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer completed a dream transfer to English Premier League side Fulham.

The 21-year-old from Jan Juc has signed a three-year contract after transfer negotiations between Melbourne Victory and Fulham were concluded overnight.

Speaking from Olympic Park Stadium prior to tonight’s match against Wellington Phoenix, Leijer revealed his delight at securing a place among football’s elite.

“It’s just a fantastic opportunity for me to join a club in the English Premier League,” Leijer said. “Now that I’ve got this opportunity, all I can do is continue to work as hard as I can to make sure I make the most of it.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing in the Hyundai A-League. My time with Melbourne Victory has helped me develop as a player and has now provided me with this outstanding opportunity.

“I’d like to thank Ernie Merrick and everyone associated with Melbourne Victory. The club has been good to me, not only over the last two years, but also the last couple of weeks with the way they helped make this deal happen.”

Coach Ernie Merrick was full of praise for his young charge, highlighting not just his ability as a player, but his maturity as an individual.

“You don’t often get a better person than Adrian Leijer,” Merrick said. “He’s an outstanding athlete, and also a very mature young man. This is a wonderful opportunity for him to develop his career at the highest level. It really is a great story, and well deserved, too.

“Fulham’s interest in Adrian is also a big affirmation of our junior development pathways here in Victoria. Adrian was identified by the current VIS coach Ian Greener, who recommended him to me when I held that position. He was a standout in the junior state championships, and has gone on to represent Australia at under 17, under 20 and under 23 level, and is now knocking on the door of the Socceroos.”

Victory CEO Geoff Miles paid tribute to one of the club’s favourite sons.

“Adrian has been a terrific player for Melbourne Victory, and has also represented Australia with distinction at international level,” Miles said. “He’s a true ambassador both on and off the pitch and this move is a great acknowledgement for his hard work and talent as a footballer. We wish him every success with this move to Fulham Football Club.

Leijer will be farewelled by teammates and fans at tonight’s Pre-Season Cup play-off match.

David Healy [Leeds] £2m Paul Konchesky [West Ham] £3m Chris Baird [Southampton] £3m
Steven Davis [Aston Villa] £4m Aaron Hughes [Aston Villa] £1m Diomansy Kamara [West Brom] £6m
Lee Cook [QPR] £2.5m
Adrian Leijer [Victory, Australia]£1/4m
Heidar Helguson [Bolton] £1.5m Michael Brown [Wigan] £2m Franck Queudrue [Birmingham] £2.5m
Claus Jensen [released] Mark Pembridge [released] Tomasz Radzinski [released]
Matty Collins [Swansea, free] Mark Crossley [free]  

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