Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Marrone leaves Heart for six-figure sum
By Guy Hand
Melbourne Heart's reputation as the A-League's dealmakers is growing, after Socceroo fullback Michael Marrone's sale to China for a six-figure sum.Marrone has been one of the most consistent players in the A-League over the past three seasons, and made his Socceroo debut last month against Macau.The 25-year-old was farewelled at training on Wednesday after the club agreed to sell him to a Chinese Super League club, and he will not play against Sydney FC this weekend.The Heart have refused to disclose the club with which Marrone will have a medical.But it is understood Shanghai Shenxin, the second Shanghai-based Chinese Super League club, is Marrone's likely destination."We've agreed on a fee we're certainly very comfortable with," football manager John Didulica said.Marrone is another of what is becoming a production line of Heart players nurtured, becoming first-team regulars, then transferring abroad.Curtis Good, Brendan Hamill and Eli Babalj have all been sold overseas in the past year after excelling for the A-League club.Marrone, who had been with Adelaide United before a move to ill-fated North Queensland Fury fell down and left him without a club, is a success story the Heart are proud of."To take him from the scrapheap of North Queensland Fury and then move him on to China is a big win for us in terms of building a sustainable club," Didulica said."What Michael brought us was great consistency and great durability."The Heart also appear to have depth to replace him, with Tasmanian teenager Jeremy Walker impressing at right-back when Marrone was on Socceroo duty.But Didulica also flagged the prospect of import midfielder Jonatan Germano, who played regularly in that position in Argentina, shuffling over to cover for him.With the club expecting ex-Socceroo midfielder Vinnie Grella to be back in full training within two weeks, that could ensure an immediate first-team spot once the World Cup star recovers from his injury problems.