Vastavam web: Australia’s Central Coast Mariners have offered sprint superstar Usain Bolt a contract, reports said Monday, but the club’s coach said he knows nothing about it. The eight-time Olympic champion has been on trial with the A-League side since arriving in August to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer. He scored two goals in a pre-season friendly last week and on Thursday turned down a two-year, trial-free deal from cashed-up Maltese champions Valletta. The club had no immediate comment on Monday, but Sydney’s Daily Telegraph said he had been offered only a fraction of the Aus 3 million (USD2.1 million) that his management had discussed months ago when the prospect of a trial was first mooted.
The newspaper said the potential deal put together in May — on the premise of Bolt passing a trial first — was based on Football Federation Australia contributing Aus dollar 750,000 and other sponsors also topping it up. Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth had initially pledged Aus 1.5 million, but the deal now offered to the sprinter was much less than this, it added. The 32-year-old’s form so far has been criticised by several pundits, but his two goals captured the imagination of the sporting public.
Club coach Mike Mulvey said he had heard nothing of an offer, and cast doubt on whether Bolt, who likes to play up front, would make the grade given the quality of players he already has at his disposal. “You have a look at our front line today and you wonder whether he could get into any of those positions. Wouldn’t you?” Mulvey said after the team drew their opening A-League game of the season 1-1 away to Brisbane Roar on Sunday. The Mariners boast Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack on their payroll, after the Scottish international agreed a season-long loan deal.