Richard Garcia is edging closer to a transfer to Australian A-League club Melbourne Heart.
Former Socceroos forward Garcia has been on trial at the A-League club after departing English Championship outfit Hull City at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, and has eased doubts on his fitness after several injury plagued seasons by passing a medical.
Eli Babalj, Heart’s 2011-12 leading scorer, meanwhile, had been linked with a return to the club after the departure of Robert Prosinecki as Red Star coach on Monday and reports the Serbian SuperLiga outfit had not met the terms of the transfer.
Red Star have one payment remaining on what was reportedly a $600,000 deal for Babalj, and Heart football operations manager John Didulica does not expect the Young Socceroo to return to Melbourne.
“We haven’t processed the transfer paperwork as yet, because Red Star still haven’t complied with the terms of the transfer agreement,” he told Goal.com.
“That said, we have received a large installment from them. We’re just waiting on one final payment to be received, which they’ve assured us is on its way.
“… They’ve advised us that that will happen and we can only take them at their word, and hopefully it happens in the next 24 hours.”
While known more as an attacking utility, Garcia has been earmarked for a central midfield role at Heart and has impressed while training with the club.
Didulica said he believed some of the concern over the 30-year-old’s injury history had been ‘overstated’, and just a few finer details remained to agree upon before the West Ham graduate signed.
“We had the medical tests on him last week, and he was in excellent physical condition, so hopefully we can finalise the deal,” Didulica said.
“I don’t see why there is any reason why he can’t do well with us and potentially then get back into Socceroo calculation.”