Phoenix in race to sign defender before Wednesday’s transfer deadline

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The Wellington Phoenix have till Wednesday to sign a defender who they have been trying to bring into their squad for the rest of the men’s A-League season.

Head coach Ufuk Talay has confirmed the club has been negotiating with a defender but they need a deal ahead of the February 8 transfer deadline.

“There is another player we’re currently looking at and we’ll be talking to so hopefully if it works, we can get him over the line and bring him into the squad,” Talay told media.

Reporter: “Can we have a hint?”

“He’s a local player.”

Before heading to Melbourne for Friday’s match against Melbourne Victory, Talay confirmed he had been trying to sign a defender.

“We came very close and then it was just a last-minute change of thought process from the player so we’re still working towards that and I think we should have a better picture where we sit with that one when we get back from Melbourne.”

Asked if the target was local, Talay said: “Most likely a Kiwi player.”

The Phoenix have lost two key players in the past month — midfielder Clayton Lewis (injury) and striker Ben Waine (transfer to English club Plymouth Argyle).

However, Talay has made it clear he sees the need for replacements to bolster the defence.

Despite, the club’s current fifth position in the isuzu-UTE A-League, only three other teams have a worse defensive record in terms of goals conceded.

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Talay: ‘Hopefully, we can get him over the line’


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