Tim Cahill has had one hell of a World Cup.
Australia came into the tournament the lowest ranked team in the FIFA rankings, but, thanks in part to Cahill's efforts up top, the Aussies had a considerably better showing than expected. Despite being eliminated, their performance against Chile was admirable and their one-goal loss to the Netherlands -- who had absolutely dismantled Spain the game before -- was a shock.
It's in the wake of that campaign that both A-League sides in Cahill's hometown of Sydney are after his signature.
An Australian Associated Press report suggests that Sydney FC, one of the A-League's original teams, is after Cahill to replace Alessandro Del Piero, a coup signing for the league who spent two years with the team. Another report from The Australian has the Western Sydney Wanderers in the picture, too.
Cahill is Australia's all-time leading scorer, he's hugely popular in Australia and given his age (34) and the fact his World Cup career is likely over, it's possible he's ready to wind down his career playing in front of his fellow countrymen in his hometown.
But Cahill picked MLS over the A-League once it was clear his career in England was nearing an end. He told the press at his introductory press conference that he "wants to still play at a high level" as reasoning for not even considering the A-League. Those comments were painted as sobering down under, proof that the A-League still has some distance to go before being a major player for international talent.
But the A-League has made progress since Cahill joined the Red Bulls in 2012. The aforementioned Wanderers are sort of the A-League's Seattle Sounders, a recent addition with big, passionate crowds, and Melbourne City (nee Melbourne Heart) are the NYCFC of Australia and will feature David Villa on loan to start the year and have recently signed Premier League and Serie A veteran Damien Duff.
Cahill's signature would probably be the A-League's biggest yet, and despite the fact the money might not work out -- Cahill would have to take a roughly 50 percent pay cut to join the A-League -- a report from The Advertiser out of Adelaide says corporate interests and/or the Football Federation of Australia could be willing to offset the salary and transfer costs.
There's also the question of convincing the Red Bulls to let Cahill out of his contract, which runs through the end of next year. How willing they'll be to do that remains to be seen, but it's hard to put into words how influential Cahill has been in a Red Bulls shirt. His attitude almost single-handedly changed the locker room culture. Even without the armband, the Red Bulls were Cahill's team last year, as he led them to the Supporters' Shield.
But the A-League is still behind MLS in quality, Villa, Manchester City money and Wanderers supporters aside, and in light of the fact he nearly went back to England on loan last year, it'd be a considerable drop in ambition.