Melbourne Victory has made clear their disappointment after losing star defender Rhys Williams.
29-year-old Williams was contracted for another season at the A-League champions, but earlier in the week signed with Saudi club, Al-Qadsiah FC.
Despite being reluctant part ways with their center-back – who missed the Victory’s Grand Final win against the Newcastle Jets through injury – it is understood by dailyfootballshow.com that the Saudi outfit’s bid was of an amount sufficient to trigger a release clause in Williams contract.
Williams, who after the departures of the likes of Leroy George, Christian Theoharous, James Donachie, and Besart Berisha had become a mainstay in the Victory’s promotional efforts in the lead into the 2018/19 A-League season, made 32 appearances for the Vuck in his one season at the club.
In a release put out by the Victory, Head Coach Kevin Muscat said that losing a player of William’s skill was a blow.
“We are obviously extremely disappointed to lose a player of Rhys’ quality,” Muscat said.
“We’d planned for Rhys to be here for at least another season, but in the end we honoured the agreement we made when he first joined the club, so we thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best.
“While it’s frustrating when things like this happen, we will continue adding quality players to the squad ahead of the new season.”
Victory has been linked to Nick Ansell in recent weeks, with the former Victory defender struggling for game time since he moved to Portuguese top-flight side C.D. Tondela. Should the Victory successfully pursue Ansell, he would likely partner up with Thomas Deng in the heart of defence.