Mifsud keen to make right move
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Mifsud keen to make right move

Waiting game... Michael Mifsud (right) is still weighing up his options. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi.

Waiting game... Michael Mifsud (right) is still weighing up his options. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi.

It's a measure of Michael Mifsud's lofty standing in Maltese football that even when he's not playing, he remains one of the favourite topics of the local sporting media.

Speculation about Mifsud's future has been rampant since his two-and-a-half year contract with English club Coventry City expired last May.

Now a free agent, Mifsud was widely tipped to tie up a move to a new club in time for him to begin pre-season with his new team-mates but this was not forthcoming.

November is upon us and Mifsud is still without a club. This on-going wait has left many perplexed and Mifsud's wall of silence has done little to allay the rumours about the motives behind his delay in joining a new club.

Despite his status as one of the best Maltese players of all time, Mifsud has never been the boastful type. He has always been mindful not to jump the gun when it comes to discussing transfer matters.

Over the past few weeks, whispers that Valletta and Ħamrun Spartans had stepped up their chase of Mifsud grew louder but the darling of Maltese football has yet to make up his mind.

Breaking his silence over his situation, Mifsud has revealed that a host of Maltese and foreign clubs have approached him but he's still in two minds about his next move.

"A number of Maltese clubs have expressed an interest in me," Mifsud said. "However, I haven't really had concrete talks with any of them. To be honest, I'm still undecided.

"I'm also waiting for news on another proposal (from overseas). If this thing goes through, it will be good but at this moment in time, I can't say more."

Although Mifsud refrained from identifying his Maltese suitors, he did confirm that Valletta and Ħamrun Spartans are among those pursuing his services.

Mifsud was keen to stress that he has had no shortage of offers in the last five months but he just wants to make sure that he makes the right choice.

"There has been strong interest from foreign clubs and there still is," Mifsud remarked. "In the summer, I was approached by several clubs, both in England and from other parts of Europe. I still receive phone calls from club officials on a regular basis.

"People have asked me why it's taking me so long to decide but I don't want to rush things. I'm 28 now and I feel I have an extra responsibility to make sure that my next move is the right one for my career and for my personal life. The desire to play football and do well for myself and my country has not diminished one bit.

"I still have several options. If the move I'm hoping to make doesn't materialise, I will consider other possibilities."

Mifsud, who spent the second half of last season on loan with Barnsley, is still willing to continue his career abroad but he's not excluding a return to Maltese football.

"At this moment in time, I'm not excluding anything," Mifsud said.

"I'm prepared to wait until January before deciding on my future. I've always looked after myself and I've got no concerns about my fitness because I've continued to train regularly with the national squad."

As Mifsud is out of contract, he can sign for a new club outside the transfer windows.

Conventional wisdom has it that players usually take a while to get back in groove after a long absence from competitive action. Mifsud's first-team appearances have been limited to the national team in the last six months but he's not worried about his lack of match practice.

"There is a lot of talk about the importance of match sharpness but from experience, I know that it (lack of first-team action) doesn't affect me that much," Mifsud said.

Mifsud has figured in all of the five international matches Malta have played under new coach John Buttigieg. Tha latter's unstinting faith in Mifsud has drawn criticism in some quarters but the former Lillestrom striker believes that the coach has made the right decision.

"I want to thank the national team coaches (Buttigieg and Carmel Busuttil) for their support," Mifsud said.

"I've always worked hard in training to stay fit. I believe that all coaches try to pick their strongest team and in doing that, they also gauge the performances of players during training."

At 28, Mifsud is in the prime of his career but he's not getting any younger. There have been suggestions that, were Mifsud to decide to join a local club, his reputation in international football would suffer a setback. That remains to be seen but Mifsud has already proved his critics wrong once.

When the quicksilver striker parted company with Kaiserslautern and signed a short-term deal with Sliema Wanderers, his chances of catching the eye of a foreign club were instantly written off.

However, less than six months after his switch to the Blues, Mifsud, then still in his early twenties, signed a deal with Norwegian club Lillestrom.

"Whatever my decision, I still believe that I can play in the top European countries," Mifsud said. "I'm a very positive person and I've got confidence in my abilities.

"I'm optimistic about making the right move for my career. I've set myself the target of resolving my future in football by January."

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