French defender William Gallas will join Perth Glory as an international marquee player for this season.
As revealed by thewest.com.au this morning, the 36-year-old free agent former Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham star will sign a one-year deal.
Glory coach Alastair Edwards and CEO Jason Brewer confirmed the deal this morning.“What better player in world football to bring to Western Australia than someone with 84 caps for one of the best footballing nations in the world?” Edwards said.
“He has played alongside some of the best players in world football and worked under some of the most decorated managers and coaches of all time, including Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, people whom I have the utmost respect for.
“I have spoken to William about the proud history of our club and that we have the league’s best and most passionate fans.
“Equally importantly, we have discussed our vision and philosophy and the values that are driving the club forward.
“Gallas fits into our vision of providing the best environment for our youth to flourish.
"He knows that he is coming into a wonderful culture built around great experienced players and some of the most talented young players in Australian football."
A Glory statement quoted Gallas, saying his aim was to help lead Glory to the A-League title.
“I hope to help my new team mates and club achieve success in this season and hope to help deliver to the fans of Perth the championship they are looking for. I look forward to this new challenge and hope to excite the fans,” Gallas said via his agent.
Gallas was released by Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur at the end of last season.
He was linked to Manchester City and Crystal Palace last month and was also reported to be considering a move to the A-League with Melbourne Victory.
Gallas will become one of the club's biggest signings, alongside Liverpool great Robbie Fowler, who played one season in Perth in 2010-11.
Gallas has spent more than a decade at top London clubs Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, where he played 24 matches as vice-captain last season.
He won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and played at two World Cups during an international career that included 84 games for France.
His arrival would be another big win for the A-League, which has enjoyed a dramatic rise in popularity since the arrival of international stars Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono last year.
Gallas would also be expected to lift Glory's membership figure, which is already tracking better at this stage of the season than in recent years.
Gallas' signing is positive news for Glory ahead of their opening home fixture against Melbourne Heart at nib Stadium on Sunday.
A bumper crowd is expected to attend after the club, in conjunction with Football West, donated 5000 tickets to the local soccer community.
However, Glory will be without young defender Josh Risdon, who is expected to miss the next two months with a knee injury.
Risdon was injured in the opening minutes of last week's draw away to Newcastle Jets.Initial scans cleared him of damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, but he will have further scans to determine the full extent of the injury today.
Edwards said Risdon's injury was a blow for the club and player, who featured in the A-League All-Stars team which played Manchester United in July.
"Josh is one of the most exciting and talented players in the country, our Mr Consistent and one of the first guys on our team sheet every week," Edwards said.
"We'll see how things pan out during the week but it's just bad timing because he was going from strength to strength.
"He played against Manchester United and he was probably knocking on the door for Socceroos contention.
"But the surgeons nowadays are magicians and we've got a really good physio department, so he'll be back.
"The positive is that it wasn't an ACL, which would've been the season."Former Sorrento junior Jack Clisby is the favourite to replace Risdon at right-back this week, while teenager Matt Davies will also be in contention.