Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis has revealed he had options in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands before opting for a deadline day switch to Danish club AGF Aarhus.
The 21-year-old winger, who was an unused substitute in Australia’s 2-0 win over Iraq on Thursday, sealed a one-year loan deal with AGF from Lazio on Wednesday night, hours before the transfer window closed.
Ikonomidis, who had been linked with German 2.Bundesliga club St Pauli, revealed to FourFourTwo the switch happened quickly while he was in camp with the Socceroos in Perth.
“I had a few offers on the final transfer day,” Ikonomidis told FourFourTwo.
“I also had Bari in Serie B, I had Twente in Holland and a few clubs in Germany as well, but it wasn’t too easy to negotiate with Lazio in the last few hours of the transfer window.
“We decided to take the safest one where I’d get the most game-time. Denmark is a good league so it came through.”
The switch will enable the Sydney-born youngster to earn crucial game-time, having been loaned out by Lazio to Serie B club Salernitana last term where he made 14 appearances and scored one goal.
Ikonomidis and Lazio were so keen for the Australian to seal a loan move that he hadn’t had the chance to speak with AGF’s coaching staff.
He’ll now fly out with the Socceroos from Perth to Abu Dhabi on Friday night, before hastily making the move from Italy to Denmark.
“It all came really quick. I found out on Wednesday night, we took the opportunity and just went with it,” Ikonomidis said.
“I don’t even know (about the logistics of moving from Italy to Denmark). I haven’t even thought about that yet.
“I just want to focus on the next Socceroos game now and see what they tell me.”
The six-time Socceroo added that the 2016-17 season was a vital year for his development, with game-time crucial to boosting his chances of breaking into the Australia team.
“I’m happy. I’ll be playing every week, week-in week-out,” Ikonomidis said.
“It’s important for the Socceroos that all the players arrive in form with match-minutes in the legs, so I think it’s a positive move for me.”
He’ll also team up at AGF with fellow Australian Mustafa Amini, who Ikonomidis knows well from their time together in under-age squads.