PEC Zwolle today announced the signing of exciting young Aussie Trent Sainsbury from the Central Coast Mariners. The deal has been confirmed by both PEC and Mariners with the reported transfer fee being $AU350,000 (E225,000) with some provision for future bonuses for the Mariners. The bonus provision nearly apparently scuppered the deal due to some confusion about what entitlement the Football Federation Australia had to any future bonuses, but all was resolved in the end. He had less than 6 months left on his contract so the transfer fee is understandable.
So what are PEC getting for their money? Well the simple answer is that they are getting undoubtedly the most promising young defender from the A-League. At 22 years of age he has already played over 60 games at A-League and Asian Champions League level. He formed a formidable partnership with Patrick Zwaanswijk in the heart of the Mariners defence last season that lead the club to their first Championship and he was named in the Team of the Week 9 times throughout the season as well as in the Team of the Season. He was also runner-up in the Young Player of the Year Award, which was eventually won by Marco Rojas who has since joined Stuttgart. He has been capped numerous times for the Australian U/20 side.
Sainsbury is an imposing central defence player who is great in the air and with his head. He has a good understanding of the game coupled with great stamina and determination. He is known as a very laid-back character who likes to make a joke and this personality will fit in well into any dressing room. He trialed last season with Southampton and then came very close to signing with Basle in the off-season so this move can be viewed as a bit of a coup for PEC Zwolle.
The move to a ‘smaller’ Eredivisie club should provide him with the opportunity to get regular game time whilst not facing the pressures associated with joining a bigger club. PEC are having a good season and he should be joining a squad in good spirits. Hopefully he becomes a regular in PEC’s starting side with the lure of pressing for a World Cup place, particularly given the unfortunate injury to Rhys Williams from Middlesbrough this week.
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