Central Coast Mariners star Fabio Ferreira is headed to Malaysia to link up with Super League club PKNS FC.
There had been speculation Ferreira would join Western Sydney Wanderers, but player agent Tony Rallis, whose company has facilitated the move, said the offer from Malaysia best suited the winger for now.
The Malaysian season runs from February to late October and is already 10 rounds old.
Rallis said Ferreira was joining PKNS for the rest of the season and that the timing would make it possible for the player to return to the A-League early next season if an opportunity arose.
Ferreira is contracted to the Mariners until May 31, but the club's commitments are obviously finished for this season since they didn't make the finals.
The 27-year-old has been granted an early release so he can head over as soon as possible.
For over five years now Rallis has been sending A-League players to Malaysia in moves that have proved good for their careers.
Some of those players were struggling to get regular playing time here and rebooted their careers over there before returning to Australia and kicking on again in the A-League.
"I recommend the player and Scott finds the club," Rallis said. "Malaysia is becoming a good stop for a lot of Australian players and Scott knows the scene inside out over there and has been able to make things happen.
"We took Andrew Nabbout and Taylor Regan and Joel Chianese over there and they've all come back better players.
"Henrique was over there as well and Alex Smith is still there. Matt Davies went there and has gone on to captain his club and play for Malaysia.
"We've got a track record there and that allows us to recommend players. I'm proud because players like Nabbout and Regan have gone there and played games after being on the unwanted scrapheap here and they've come back and clubs have wanted them.
"It's a good springboard."
Ferreira arrived here from Portugal in 2012 and played two-and-a-half seasons with Adelaide United before switching to Central Coast for two-and-a-half seasons there.
A player with a lethal combination of speed and skill, he finished this season strongly and scored two goals in the last three rounds. He had five for the season to be the club's second-highest scorer, behind striker Roy O'Donovan's 11, and was third-best for assists with three.
"I'm confident Fabio will do very well in Malaysia and that when the season ends he'll have multiple options to consider, including in the A-League where he's a proven performer," Rallis said.
Ferreira refused to rule out a return to Australia.
“This is a good opportunity for me but at the same time it’s sad because I love Australia and the Mariners have been very good to me,” he said. “The club, the fans, the office, the coaches, the players and everyone has been great so it’s mixed feelings right now.
“I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported me during my time at the Mariners. The club and its fans have always been there for me and for the team.
“You never know what can happen in football,” Ferreira said. “I will go now and I may come back in one, two or three years. This is another opportunity for me but I love Australia, it’s a great country and I can see myself one day back here.”