Now only seven months out from the World Cup, Cahill is in a race against time to find a new club who can offer him regular playing time in a bid to book his ticket to Russia.
But for Cahill, the timing could not be worse. Due to technicalities, he is not considered a free agent and cannot play for another club until the club’s transfer window opens. The majority of transfer windows open on January 1, so Cahill will have to wait a month before he is available for selection.
His dreams of a fourth consecutive World Cup hinge on this decision, so where could Cahill end up?
Yokohama F Marinos
Yokohama is part owned by City Football Group, so it would seem odd that CFG would terminate his contract if he was to eventually move to Japan. But Yokohama is the club where former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou is reportedly about to sign and where fellow Socceroo Milos Degenek currently plays. Postecoglou, Cahill and Degenek would provide familiarity to get the best out of each other.
The J-League kicks off in February, so Cahill would be without football for nearly two months if he takes this option. But Yokohama also represents the best opportunity for Cahill to get regular game time in his campaign for a fourth World Cup appearance.
Shortly after Cahill’s announcement, Adelaide United’s general football manager Ante Kovacevic confirmed he would speak to manager Marco Kurz about the prospect of luring Cahill to the Reds. With the departure of Karim Matmour, the club are confident they can also fit Cahill into their salary cap.
“He is definitely a very good player to consider but Marco must also assess whether he would be a good fit for the team,” Kovacevic said.
It would be poetic if Cahill finishes his career in the same place it started. Cahill was born and raised in western Sydney and a return home will be a marketer’s dream. But Cahill is tactically incompatible with the coach Josep Gombau’s preference for a short passing game, putting his wish for more game time in limbo.
Cahill got his break at Millwall and played over 217 games for the Lions between 1998 and 2004. A return to South London would be a fairy tale, but there would be no guarantee of game time in such an intense league and with the club in the midst of a relegation battle.