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Petke offers flimsy response to Cahill transfer rumors

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Head Coach Mike Petke hears nothing, sees nothing and speaks very little about the Tim Cahill-to-Australia rumors.

Cameron Spencer

Head Coach Mike Petke doesn't have a lot to say about the transfer rumors surrounding Tim Cahill.

Cahill, who scored two goals in two games for Australia in his last World Cup campaign, is, supposedly, being pursued by both A-League clubs in his hometown, Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers.

For Petke, he's heard nothing of it. He told the assembled press corps during this week's conference call...

"I'm the head coach," he began. "There's definitely nobody contacting me directly. You would have to get in touch with our media, with [Director of Communications] Brian Tsao or [Communications Officer] Corey Hanlon here or [Sporting Director] Andy Roxburgh, who answers that as our sporting director.

"As far as I know, I have read the reports but I've also read a million reports over the last week about speculation about many things. There's no doubt in my mind that a team in Australia, or all of them, would be interested in Tim. Just like I'm sure teams around the world are interested in Tim.

"He's a Red Bulls player right now," he asserts. "Like I said, I've only read the reports you have. I have not been contacted or have not been told about any contact made but that would definitely be something you'd have to talk to Andy Roxburgh about."

Which is sort of a flimsy response: "I haven't heard anything, it's not my job." There's no way this move becomes serious without someone notifying the head coach one of his key players is about to be sold. So it's a dodge.

As for Cahill, he spoke to The Australian for the first time since Australia's ouster from the World Cup. He didn't have much to say, either.

"I need to concentrate, and go back (to the Red Bulls), and we've got a game on Friday against Toronto," he said.

"It's something for me, I've never entertained speculation."

Cahill's not expected to be ready for Friday's game against Toronto FC, but a flight halfway across the world hasn't stopped the man before.

In order to make the move happen there are, as Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop said, "issues and complications to deal with," the big one being money.

Cahill is making $3.5 million and is under contract with the Red Bulls until the end of next year. It's difficult to imagine Roxburgh and Petke letting one of their most important players go without getting some kind of transfer payment, so lump whatever transfer fee the Red Bulls and MLS might demand on top of the $1.87 million budget Sydney FC are rumored to be working with.

That doesn't account for Cahill's desire to leave MLS, either. He reportedly wants to play in the Asian Cup, and chose MLS over the other options -- A-League included -- because he wanted to "still play at a high level."