Melbourne Victory Head Coach Marco Kurz says ongoing speculation around Ola Toivonen’s future won’t derail the burgeoning sense of momentum around his club.
Toivonen, after an interview with a Swedish newspaper in which he said he was looking at moving closer to his homeland emerged, confirmed an interest in a return to the Allsvenskan on Friday afternoon.
The Victory striker did, however, caution that no decision had been made and that he was, in a characteristic manner, simply giving an honest answer when asked a question.
Just hours later, though, a report in The Age revealed that Toivonen, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was a transfer target of A-League expansion side Macarthur FC.
Coming off a potentially season-saving win over Perth Glory last Friday night and with a derby against Western United to come on Sunday, transfer speculation over the fate of his striker is no doubt an unwelcome distraction for Kurz
Nonetheless, Victory’s gaffer appeared non-plussed on Saturday afternoon, insisting that his squad will not be allowing the noise to distract them from the task at hand and that speculation on player transfers simply part of the job of professional football.
“We are relaxed and calm,” Kurz said on Saturday. “Because we are still in touch with Ola and in the next few weeks we will sit together and find out what his thoughts about the future are.
“He's a good player, but it must make sense from both sides, it’s not only to extend the contract as a player but to extend it as a family man. That's important and different to Australian players.
“He is from overseas and he is a long time away from home.
“But from a football perspective, he is a very good player, and it’s important to hear what Ola's thoughts are about his future.
“The speculation is part of our business. In January starts the new transfer window opening and its normal.
“I am a long-time in the business. It’s usual to have this kind of rumour and discussion."
Victory had, perhaps to an unhealthy degree, leaned heavily on Toivonen through the opening months of their the campaign.
Up until the Glory win, the big Swede had had a hand in all his side’s goals - either by scoring them or providing an assist - and was increasingly dropping further and further down the pitch in order to support the midfield.
Yet last week’s goal in which Andrew Nabbout put in a cross for Robbie Kruse to send home may prove to be a sign of a welcome new addition to the four-time A-League champions attack.
Kruse was masterful against last years premiers; his work in attack and defence, with and without the ball giving insight into just why he has been such a mainstay of Socceroos attacks in recent years.
Having missed the first meeting between Victory and United earlier in the year, in which Victory took a 2-0 only to capitulate and collapse to a 3-2 loss, Kruse’s contribution will be a welcome one ahead of the two-sides rematch at Kardinia Park on Sunday afternoon.
“Hopefully it was a learning process,” said Kurz on the first meeting between the two sides. “I am sure that we will stay in the same position and not make the same mistake to drop down with our attitude and performance.
“It was a hard lesson to learn, we felt too comfortable. We beat them in a [pre-season] friendly game and we were winning 2-0.
“Then we dropped down with our focus, our attitude, and they are too good a team, very experienced with a lot of good players, for us to do that.
“If you are not 100% they will make a lot of problems for you.”
Victory’s gaffer went on to rule Tim Hoogland out for the meeting with United, as well as fellow defender Thomas Deng. Youngster Brandon Lauton is also unavailable but expected to be healthy in coming weeks.