Australia midfielder Brett Emerton is expected to play his last game for English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers against Everton Saturday before he heads home to play for Sydney FC in the top-flight A-League.
The Sydney-born 32-year-old had terminated his contract with the Rovers a year early by mutual consent and had already passed a medical test paving the way to sign a three-year deal, Australia's Fairfax newspapers said Thursday.
Sydney FC declined to comment on the reports but confirmed a player announcement would be made at a media conference at 5 p.m. local time (0700 GMT).
The signing represents another recruiting coup for the ailing A-League, which has suffered declining crowds and financial troubles at a number of clubs in recent years.
Former Leeds and Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell was unveiled as Melbourne Victory's marquee player last week in a move hailed by administrators as a red-letter day for soccer in Australia, where the round-ball game remains a bit-player in a sports market dominated by Australian Rules and rugby league.
A burly, versatile player comfortable in central midfield or on the wing, Emerton began his career playing for Sydney Olympic in the now-defunct National Soccer League before joining Dutch side Feyenoord in 2000.
He crossed to Blackburn in 2003 and has notched over 200 games for the Lancashire side, while scoring 18 goals in 87 international appearances. He is the second-most capped of the current Socceroos lineup behind Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (90).
Emerton will return to Australia next week for the Socceroos' first World Cup qualifier against Thailand on September 2 in Brisbane.