Central Coast Mariners are losing yet another piece from their championship season, this time with Trent Sainsbury moving to the Eredivisie. The 22-year-old defender will move to Dutch side PEC Zwolle after spending the past three-and-a-half years in Gosford. Sainsbury's move is immediate, coming on the final day of the European January transfer window.
Zwolle, who are ninth in the eighteen-team Dutch first division, get one of the A-League's brightest prospects, while Central Coast expect to replace Sainsbury shortly. The Mariners Medal winner for 2012/13 explained the move in a club press release:
"I am happy but it's going to be hard to leave the boys. The players here are like family to me and the fans have always done the right thing by me - I've loved my time here. The Mariners are a real family club and while I don't know each and every supporter individually, I am sad to leave such a great bunch of people.
"If I can get myself set up there in Holland and make a good career I will be happy. The Dutch first division is big and now I have to go there and give it my all."
Sainsbury joins Oliver Bozanic, Bernie Ibini (who is currently back at the Mariners on loan), Mat Ryan and Michael McGlinchey as high profile departures from last season's championship winners. After going on trial at Bolton Wanderers and FC Basel during the offseason, Sainsbury elected to remain at the Mariners instead of joining the mass exodus. Now, with Graham Arnold also gone, the young defender decided to make his big move to Europe.