Sydney FC Sneak In To Snake Lucas Neill

It seemed certain Neill was heading to Melbourne Heart. Sydney had other plans.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

We said earlier in the week that A-League club Melbourne Heart was the frontrunner to acquire the short-term services of Socceroos star Lucas Neill, unfortunately we were wrong. Sydney FC has come from nowhere to sign the Australian skipper for the rest of the A-League season.

Sydney apparently topped their rival Heart counterparts by submitting a more lucrative 11th hour bid.

Neill, recently released from United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl, will join Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero and Socceroos teammate Brett Emerton on a rising Sky Blues team just outside of the playoff picture.

The 34-year-old Neill is expected to debut next weekend against the Heart.

"I'm a Sydney boy and I'm excited to be coming back to Australia to play club football in front of friends and family with Sydney FC,'' said Neill in a statement.

"I worked with Frank (coach Farina) for many years in the Socceroos and I look back on those times with good memories, and it's great to have the chance to enjoy further success together at Sydney FC."

Neill was in Sydney, but had met with Heart officials Scott Munn and John Didulica on Friday morning before telling them he had decided to go with Sydney a day later.

Sydney, courtesy of coach Frank Farina, admitted to having interest in the central defender on Thursday, but weren’t considered a hot favourite to land Neill.

Neill was released from Al Wasl when the club hired a new coach, Guy Lacombe, who brought in two highly regarded imports, sending the club’s allowed import number over the maximum of four. Neill found himself the odd man out two weeks ago, but because the European football transfer window had already closed, was limited in options.

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