Jamie Maclaren mulls Melbourne City departure

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
25/01/2024
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An A-League legend could be leaving the league

Maclaren, who is 30-years-old, has been linked to Japanese, Saudi Arabian, and other non-Australian clubs in recent months. 

News Insights

  • Melbourne City and Maclaren have yet to agree to a new contract.
  • Maclaren’s current contract is set to expire this June.
  • City manager Aurelio Vidmar wants Maclaren to stay.
  • Japan, Saudi Arabia, or England could be Maclaren’s destination, should he leave City.

Jamie Maclaren, one of the A-League’s best ever players, could be on his way out of the league if he doesn’t agree to a new contract with Melbourne City before this June. The forward has been linked with moves away for months. His future still remains uncertain.

Maclaren says no comment on his future

To many, Jamie Maclaren is the best player ever to ply his trade in the A-League. The 30-year-old Sunbury native has scored 144 league goals. No player has scored more. He’s won four straight A-League Men Golden Boot awards and five overall. Now though, it seems he’s ready to leave his home nation’s league behind. 

Maclaren and Melbourne City have been in a contract stalemate for months. Occasional reports claim that progress has been made, but both parties have typically kept their lips sealed about any potential new deal. That was until this week at least. 

Maclaren, who joined Melbourne City in 2019, spoke about the uncertainty surrounding his future on Thursday in response to a recent report claiming that the star forward had rejected City’s latest contract offer. 

There are obviously negotiations between myself and the club, and other interested parties, [but] nothing’s agreed, nothing’s turned down, nothing’s accepted,” Maclaren said on Thursday.

The Melbourne City talisman then went on to speak about the future of the club, saying “I’m not the only player coming off contract. We’ve got a lot of boys on loan so there will be a lot of changes at Melbourne City next season whether I stay or go,” before stressing how big a role his family will play in deciding what to do next. 

Before I’m a footballer, I’m a father and I’m a husband. Something like that makes you realise there are bigger things to look at, and I’m not a selfish person,” said Maclaren.  “I’d rather see [my decision] as a collective and make sure everybody is happy in my life and around me because they’ve supported me through the s*** and through the good.”

Maclaren’s manager, Aurelio Vidmar, was more clear about what he wanted to see happen next for Maclaren. 

The policy within the club is not to discuss any player's contract and I think it's been here since day one and that's not going to change,” explained the City boss, before endorsing a new contract for Maclaren, saying “Whatever it is within the club, they need to sort it out…We know the player that Jamie is and he's been a great player for the club. We'd love to keep him here and in the end they've got to decide what's in the best interests of both parties.

Maclaren’s current Melbourne City contract expires this June. 

Potential transfer destinations for Maclaren

If Maclaren does leave Melbourne City, the legendary striker will have no shortage of suitors vying for his signature. Reports claim top J-League clubs are interested in signing the 30-year-old.

Being an Aussie makes Maclaren a hot commodity in the Asian market as clubs in the AFC Champions League can only have so many non-Asian players registered in their squads. With this in mind, Middle Eastern teams, including some free-spending Saudi Arabian clubs, have also been linked to Maclaren. 

The Melbourne City forward has scored seven goals in 12 matches for the City Blues so far this season. This is well short of what we’d typically expect from Maclaren, but it’s still a solid return for an ageing forward player. 

Melbourne City have finished in the top spot for three straight seasons. They’re currently 8th in the A-League Men’s table. The betting sites still back them as being contenders come Finals season though. 

If things continue the way they have been going, this season could end up being a sort of ‘Last Dance’ for Maclaren and company at City.