Melbourne Victory in talks with Sweden World Cup star Ola Toivonen
Melbourne Victory are in talks to sign Swedish World Cup striker Ola Toivonen in what would be another major boost to their title defence.
AAP understands the A-League champions are in discussions with Toivonen about filling the vacant role up front left by the departed Besart Berisha. The 32-year-old has been at French Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse for the past two seasons, but is reportedly on the way out and has previously been linked to Swansea and PSV Eindhoven.
French outlet RMC Sport reports Toivonen's contract with Toulouse has been terminated and the deal with Victory is already done.
Victory have been contacted for comment.
Toivonen has scored 14 goals in 64 appearances for Sweden but retired from international duty earlier this week and appears ready for a new challenge.
He started all five of Sweden's matches at the World Cup in Russia as they finished top of Group F ahead of Mexico, South Korea and Germany before losing 2-0 to England in the quarterfinals. He memorably lobbed a charging Manuel Neuer to score the opening goal in Sweden's 2-1 defeat to Germany in the group stage.
If he signs for Victory, he would be the second player with fresh World Cup experience to join the A-League champions. The other, Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda, would presumably play directly behind him in a new-look attack.
Toivonen, a towering marksman at 192cm tall, began his career in Sweden before moving to PSV in 2009.
He spent five years at the Dutch Eredivisie club, scoring an impressive 78 goals and laying on 32 assists in 199 games across all competitions.
Toivonen was then sold to Rennes in France, but was sent on a season-long loan to Sunderland in 2015-16.
His subsequent transfer to Toulouse has not worked out, with a return of only nine goals from his two seasons making him surplus to coach Alain Casanova's requirements this term.