Luke DeVere has confirmed his is leaving Brisbane Roar for Korea.
DeVere has signed a three-year deal with the Korean side.
The Australia Day clash will mark DeVere-s 65th and – for now – final appearance in Brisbane Roar colours and while acknowledging that leaving the club on the brink of the Hyundai A-League finals was a hard decision, the 21-year-old felt the move to South Korea was the right progression for his career.
“At the end of the day, it-s tough to leave the Roar, especially at this point in the season but at the same time, it-s a good opportunity for me I feel,” DeVere said.
“We-ve had a great season and if the team goes on to win the league, it will be great and would have been nice to stay and be a part of but this is a great opportunity for me and one I want to take up.
“It-s something that has to be done sometimes in football – developing my game is very important to me and a big part of what I want my career to be about.”
Head Coach Ange Postecoglou was full of praise for DeVere, highlighting his ever-increasing football talent and growth in maturity as the former Qantas Young Socceroos captain-s greatest strengths as he chased his dream of playing overseas.
“We never want to stand in the way of any player who is looking to develop his career and Luke has done a fantastic job for us in the past couple of years, particularly this year,” Postecoglou said.
“It would have been nice for him to be there right up until the end but he-s made that decision so we-re supportive of that and I-m sure he-ll go on to bigger and better things.”
While confident in the abilities of the other defenders within the Roar ranks, Postecoglou made it clear that signing a new centre-back was a priority but said the coaching staff would be selective about any new players brought into the Brisbane camp.
“I don-t want to bring someone in for the sake of it, we-ve been very particular about the type of players we want to bring to the club and the worst thing we can do right now is panic,” the Brisbane boss said.
“We-re certainly looking for someone to bring in, more so from the depth point of view because we-re a little light in the defensive area.
“The reality of it is that we won-t be able to get someone in Australia because everyone is in competition and with foreigners, I-m not a fan of just bringing foreigners over for the sake of it – I-d rather develop Australian talent.
“I-m working the phones at the moment and we-ll see how it all pans out.”
DeVere, who won Brisbane Roar-s Gary Wilkins Medal for Player of the Year in the 2009/10 season, named the overwhelming success of former Roar hardman Sasa Ognenovski in the K-League as a one of the motivating factors in his making his career-changing decision.
Since his move to South Korea in 2009, Ognenovski has won the 2010 AFC Asian Player of the Year award, received his first Qantas Socceroos call-up and captained his side Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma to a Asian Champion-s League title – all achievements DeVere believes are within his sights if he grabs the opportunity with both hands.
Football aside, DeVere admitted the move would pose some personal challenges made even harder by the absence of loved ones but said the excitement of the move would make any difficulties less significant.
“It-s obviously going to be a big move and it-s going to be tough times for maybe a few months because it-s a big adjustment to make,” the former Gap Gators junior said.
“But that-s football and if you want to be successful and if you have ambition, then at some point you-re going to have to leave friends and family behind and go on to new things.
“From what I saw of the club, it-s fantastic and I-m looking forward to getting there and setting up with them.
“The town was a nice place with lots of friendly people so it-s something I-m looking forward to.”