Manchester City look to have sealed their first signing of the January transfer window, with the Central Coast Mariners revealing that they have agreed terms over the future of Anthony Caceres. The central midfielder is set to complete his switch to English football with immediate effect, although it is likely that he will be quickly loaned out for the remainder of the season.
The 23-year-old Australian began his youth career with the Marconi Stallions in the Fairfield suburb of Sydney before moving to Central Coast Stadium in 2012. He won the A-League championship in 2013 and last season was rewarded for his impressive performances with the Damien Brown Medal, awarded to the club's most consistent player as voted for by teammates after each individual game.
In the Mariners' official statement to confirm the Caceres deal, head coach Tony Walmsley said: "We need to celebrate when players at the Central Coast Mariners are sold to bigger clubs. It's our charter. It's our intent.
"When I brought Anthony Caceres to the Mariners his potential was obvious. This move demonstrates how far Anthony has progressed and symbolises how giving youth a chance works for both the Central Coast Mariners and young aspirational footballers."
Although no fee has been disclosed, Fox Sports believed the deal to be worth in excess of AU$300,000 (£143,000, $206,000). The same report believes that Caceres, who has previously attracted attention from the likes of Sydney FC, West Sydney and the Melbourne Victory in addition to an unidentified suitor from Japan's J-League, will remain in his homeland on loan with City's sister club, Melbourne City, until the current A-League season ends in April.
Manchester City have already completed the signing of one Australian player already this season. In October, former Brisbane Roar midfielder Luke Brattan arrived at the Etihad Stadium before being quickly dispatched to Bolton Wanderers. He failed to make a single first-team appearance for the cash-strapped Championship strugglers, however, instead featuring for their U21 and development teams before being recalled in December.