Ex-Victory star set for shock rival switch
Besart Berisha will sensationally line up against his old club Melbourne Victory in the opening weeks of the season, with their two local rivals tussling for his signature.
A-League expansion club Western United and Melbourne City have both submitted enticing offers to Berisha, while Wellington Phoenix are also chasing him.
Berisha, who is the A-League's record goalscorer with 116 goals in 186 games, has spent 14 months in Japan with Sanfrecce Hiroshima where he made just seven appearances.
Western United appear to be favourites, as they can guarantee Berisha regular starts, most likely alongside ex-Socceroo Scott McDonald in what looms as a fearsome front two.
City are dangling the carrot of a mouth-watering Round 1 Melbourne derby start against Victory at Marvel Stadium, with in-form Jamie Maclaren set to be away on Socceroos duty.
Western United face Victory away at Marvel Stadium in Round 4, while Victory hosts Wellington at AAMI Park on November 10.
Crucially the Albania and Kosovo-capped striker would not take up a coveted visa spot as he has become an Australian citizen.
Berisha, 34, is expected to make a decision by the weekend.
Victory is understood to have held preliminary talks about a romantic reunion with the man who helped them to two titles during a four-year stint.
But having added Socceroos duo Andrew Nabbout and Robbie Kruse to a frontline led by Swedish superstar Ola Toivonen, both parties realised that opportunities would be limited.
Berisha would bring a winner's mentality to his new club, which both Western United - as a start-up club - and City - having lost so many leaders in recent years including Bruno Fornaroli, Tim Cahill, Neil Kilkenny, Bart Schenkeveld and Eugene Galekovic - both need.
Berisha has scored 132 goals in 213 games in all competitions with Brisbane Roar and Victory.
He sits ahead of Shane Smeltz (92), Archie Thompson (90) and Alex Brosque (75) in the all-time list of A-League scorers.
He would want to prove a point, having been frozen out at Sanfrecce and left out of their Asian Champions League squad, thus robbing him of the chance to face Victory.