Harry Kewell is back in the A-League after signing a one-year contract with Melbourne Heart. The 34-year old returns to Melbourne where he last played as a regular squad member, though that was in 2011/12 with Melbourne Victory. After returning to England for family reasons, Kewell has appeared in just three matches as an injury replacement player in Qatar with Al-Gharafa.
It's been two weeks since word first broke about Heart's interest in Kewell. In that time Newcastle Jets revealed they too were in talks with Kewell but that he had declined their offer. From that moment forward it was only a waiting game to see when the Socceroos legend would ink his deal with Heart.
Kewell will be 35 before the season starts in October yet much will be expected of him at Heart. Not only will an increase in attendance be a major factor, as Heart were second bottom in the A-League in 2012/13, but Kewell will need to help deliver a finals appearance for the younger Melbourne club. That baseline of success was not met in his one previous A-League season, despite a strong second half of the year at Victory in 2012.
"It’s always been my intention to come back and play in the A-League. John Aloisi and I have known each other a long time and we have played together, so I’m thrilled to be part of Melbourne Heart at an exciting time."
Heart also announced Kewell's signing the same day as memberships (season tickets) were made available to the public for the 2013/14 season. The club is trying to make inroads against Victory's membership base so Kewell's capture will certainly be the highlight of this season's package. The rivals meet for the first of three times on the A-Leage's opening weekend, October 12 at the Etihad Stadium. The Melbourne Derby is among the biggest games of each season and will be made only more appealing for the whole of Australia with Kewell's return as the focal point.