Three months ago, Parma claimed victory over Sydney FC in a protracted negotiation over pay out timing in Terry Antonis' transfer fee. Today, the 19-year-old is recovering from a thigh injury, no longer part of Parma's plans and back in Sydney awaiting the chance to get back on the field with the Sky Blues.
While not exactly breaking news, the closure of the European transfer window earlier in the week signaled the official end of the saga for Antonis as Parma never paid Sydney. The injury he sustained before the U20 World Cup came at the worst time, though it seems there might not have been any guarantee that Parma would have actually completed the transfer either way.
Despite already missing three months, Antonis is not close to appearing in Sky Blue, according to manager Frank Farina. The manager was quoted in the Daily Telegraph, saying:
"He's suffered a horrendous injury, it's a lot worse than a lot of people realize. We've had specialists look at it and say they've never seen anything like it. So he's got a long way to go to get back to where he was.
It's great to have him here for next season but we have a duty to care to him and make sure he's 100% before he tries to come back. He's a great, young talent and I thought he finished last season, the last six or seven games, really strongly as one of our best. We're happy to have him, in fact I never wanted him to go. I told him I was keen for him to stay another year.
"But if he comes back too early, there's a chance he could miss the year - you don't want any young player to go through that. The world was his oyster at the end of last season - the [U20] World Cup to look forward to, Parma. But the injury being a particularly nasty one has put him back a long way, and we have to be very careful with him."
Sydney have no shortage of strong attacking players, despite Antonis' injury absence, as Farina planned throughout the offseason to replace the young talent. With the likes of Corey Gameiro and Richard Garcia added to an already strong front line, the Sky Blues should not have any trouble keeping among the top scoring teams in the A-League.