According to media reports the Western Sydney Wanderers are poised to sign Japanese midfielder Shinji Ono after reportedly terminating talks with Michael Ballack.
It's believed Ballack's wages were deemed too expensive by the Wanderers and they've now instead turned their attention to Ono.
Ono, one of the most famous players in Asian football could become the Wanderers inaugural marquee player within two weeks.
Terms between the 32-year-old and the Wanderers are still being thrashed out, but it is understood Ono is available at around $800,000 a season - roughly half the price of the other mooted marquee, former German international Michael Ballack.
However, with Ono retaining cult-like status in his native country and with Alessandro Del Piero boasting enormous popularity in the same country, Football Federation Australia, which owns the Wanderers, would quickly recoup his wages through the sale of television rights to Japan alone.
Ono is ready to quit the J-League after a falling out with the management of his hometown club, ending his two-year stint with Shimizu S-Pulse.
He is so highly rated by Tony Popovic that it is understood the Wanderers coach would prefer to sign Ono over Ballack. He is known as Tensai - ''Genius'' - in his homeland.
Popovic played in the J-League for Sanfrecce Hiroshima from 1997 to 2001, scoring 13 goals in 87 games, and knows first-hand the talent of Ono. During the same period, Popovic was just starting his career with Asia's biggest club, Urawa Red Diamonds.
In 1998, Ono was selected for Japan's World Cup squad aged just 18, and went to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, eventually making 56 appearances for his country.
After leaving Urawa in 2001, Ono was bought by Dutch giants Feyenoord, where he scored 19 goals in 112 games during a four-year spell where he became the first Japanese player to win a European trophy.
In an interview with the Herald in January, his club teammate, Socceroo Alex Brosque, said that Ono was a ''living legend of Japanese football''.
''He's just so loved everywhere you go, he's a massive star here,'' he said. ''He's still got that class factor about him and his skills are right up there.''
Meanwhile, the Wanderers are understood to have finalised their inaugural four-man board.
Wanderers executive chairman Lyall Gorman has been given permission by the FFA to take one of the four places, alongside former ALP president Warren Mundine- who until this season claimed to be a passionate Sydney FC fan.
Another position has been taken by one of Frank Lowy's associates, who was formerly involved in the Westfield Group, with the final place filled by a prominent Sydney-based Chinese-Australian businessman.
The Wanderers also announced their foundation captain yesterday, with Michael Beauchamp getting the nod to take the armband.
Beauchamp, 31, spent the first four years of his career in western Sydney at NSL clubs Marconi and Parramatta before making a name for himself with the Mariners.
He went to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and returned from a stint in Germany to play solitary seasons with Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC before joining the Wanderers this season.
''It's a huge honour to be handed the armband to wear at any club, but it is certainly that little bit more special to receive it for a club in its foundation year that represents everything about my boyhood days and dreams,'' he said.
''I'm definitely a leader by my actions and I'm someone who will motivate on the pitch in the heat of the battle.''