Fledgling A-League club the Western Sydney Wanderers are understood to be in advanced negotiations with Japan star Shinji Ono, but remain open to the prospect of luring former Germany captain Michael Ballack to Australia.
Ballack has been heavily linked with a move to the A-League since Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey joined Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets respectively in recent weeks. However, Ono appears set to take the club's marquee player position for their inaugural season after talks with Ballack's representatives stalled.
Ono is set to exit J.League outfit Shimizu S-Pulse after falling out with coach Afshin Ghotbi. The 33-year-old is highly regarded by Wanderers coach Tony Popovic, who is looking to bolster his attacking stocks prior to the commencement of the A-League season on October 5.
Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman, though, insists the club will keep all options open as their first game of the new campaign looms.
"We're continuing to explore all avenues both domestically and internationally to complete our playing roster," Gorman told ESPN.
"We are constantly being approached by agents globally and we continue with our mantra of patience and persistence until the absolute best outcomes can be achieved."
After winning the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord in 2002, Ono moved back to his homeland to J.League giants Urawa Red Diamonds where he earned a place in his third World Cup for Japan. A 2008 transfer to Bundesliga outfit VfL Bochum followed before Ono signed for Shimizu in 2010.
Ono has amassed 56 caps for Japan during his career and in 2002 was named Asian Footballer of the Year.