Despite the club having never used a Marquee Player slot, let alone one of the foreign variety, a report at The World Game suggests Central Coast Mariners will offer Marcos Flores a contract if he departs Melbourne Victory in the coming weeks. Giorgos Karagounis is firmly in the crosshairs at the Victory but they would have to remove Flores from their books in order to accommodate the Greek captain.
Though it was argued in this space earlier this week that Flores' wages are likely too high to attract serious attention from A-League clubs with an open Marquee slot, and that Central Coast do not have the money to sign big name foreign players, it would seem that Graham Arnold is indeed willing to bring in players beyond his usual domestic recruits. Given his current wages, at least $500,000 per annum, Flores would require the use of a Marquee Player position at the Mariners.
With seven departed players from the 2012/13 Grand Final, Central Coast are already in the process of reshaping the roster and developing a new identity. In Flores the Mariners would gain a potentially prolific player who has excelled before at a smaller market, having won the Johnny Warren medal at Adelaide United in 2010/11. Though the Mariners have brought Matt Simon back from a year in Korea, there is a clear opening in attacking positions in the pre-season with Bernie Ibini off to Shanghai and Daniel McBreen joining him through October. Presumably Arnold could only afford such a signing after his recent sales and not having to pay McBreen over the next five months.
Though he was a disappointment relative to his wages and high profile status at the Victory, Flores was not a disaster in Melbourne. With the emergence of Marco Rojas all year and Gui Finkler before his ACL injury on January 1, Flores was crowded out more than he ever was in Adelaide. After Finkler's injury, Flores scored three of his four goals, including in back-to-back games immediately after the Brazilian went down.
All of that said, there is no guarantee that the Victory will land Karagounis. If they do not and Flores stays in Melbourne, this entire episode will be an embarrassing subplot throughout the season.