Western Sydney captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley is on the cusp of leaving the A-League to take up an overseas opportunity
Photo Source: AAP
Western Sydney foundation player Nikolai Topor-Stanley is likely to have played his final A-League game for the club, with the defender on the verge of a move to the UAE Pro-League.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic revealed on Thursday that Topor-Stanley had been ruled out of Friday's grand final re-match with Adelaide to allow him to negotiate a deal with the newly promoted Dubai-based Hatta Club.
It's understood the 31-year-old, who's in the final year of his Wanderers contract, will travel to Dubai on Friday with agent Ante Alilovic to sign a lucrative one-year contract with Hatta with the option for a second season.
"The situation with Nikolai has changed this morning where he's got an opportunity possibly overseas that we're allowing him to have a look at today and possibly pursue," Popovic said.
"He won't be available for tomorrow but we've got Jonathan (Aspropotamitis) and Brendan Hamill that are ready to step in."
Rumours of Topor-Stanley being on the outer at the Wanderers had been circling all winter, with the 31-year-old defender believed to have been offered in August to rival A-League clubs.
Popovic declined to expand further on the situation, but was confident the matter would be finalised by the weekend.
Asked if the loss of the club's record-holder for most appearances would be a blow to their season, Popovic revealed the veteran wasn't an automatic selection against the Reds anyway.
"We've built a squad that we feel that anyone can play and there was no guarantee Nikolai was playing tomorrow," he said.
Topor-Stanley's spot at the Wanderers appeared on borrowed time after the club acquired three centre-backs over the off-season, including former Socceroo Robert Cornthwaite, Jack Clisby and Spanish import Aritz Borda.
Highly regarded youngster Aspropotamitis and Hamill remain from last season, with one of the pair likely to partner Cornthwaite against the Reds following last week's 4-0 loss to Sydney FC.
"That'll take time to gel. Three of the back four were different from last year. We had a new back four at the start of last season which took time to gel (too)," Popovic said.
Topor-Stanley's final act for the club is set to be his mindless red-card dismissal for pulling down Melbourne City star Bruno Fornaroli last month in the FFA Cup.
His departure will leave Shannon Cole as the final foundation player since the club's inaugural season in 2012-13.