DA NANG (VNS) — Argentine striker Gaston Sebastian Merlo is eager to get back on track with SHB Da Nang team after a five-month injury lay-off in Argentina.
He began training with the team at Chi Lang Stadium again last week in the hope of securing a new contract for next year's V-League.
The goal poacher, who has scored a total of 68 goals for Da Nang since 2008, has recovered 80 per cent of his fitness after a knee ligament operation.
"I'm ready to play now. It's the worst injury I've sustained in the four years I've played for Da Nang. The team doctor, Ruben Araguas, has given me the all clear to resume training," Merlo said.
"I've started running and training again with my teammates. However, I need time to fully assess my recovery before the new season starts," he said.
Managing director of SHB Da Nang, Bui Xuan Hoa, said they were ready to sign a new contract with Merlo.
"We are in negotiations with Merlo. If he passes a medical and recovers fully, we hope to set him up on a new contract soon," Hoa told Viet Nam News yesterday.
A source said Merlo's agent was asking for VND6 billion (US$285,000) per year for his client.
However, the 27-year-old striker refused to confirm the amount, but said that he wanted to continue playing for Da Nang.
Merlo has fallen in love with the football-crazy city of Da Nang since he sarted playing for them in 2009. In his debut season, he scored 15 goals to help Da Nang win the V-League after a 17-year wait.
He was also honoured with the Best Foreign Footballer Award as well as Top Goal Scorer in the V-League for the past three years, and won the National Cup with his team in 2009.
"Da Nang is like my second home. I enjoy everything here – the people, football, climate and an easy life. I have experienced success with the team and earn a comfortable living from football," he said. — VNS