Sydney FC's championship aspirations have copped a massive blow with confirmation defender Matt Jurman has played his final game for the club and will move overseas.
The A-League outfit on Tuesday announced they had accepted a transfer fee from an Asian club, believed to be Suwon Bluewings, for their vice-captain during the current transfer window.
Jurman's exit cruels the heart of a Sky Blues' defence that has conceded just five goals on their way to building a seven-point gap on their rivals atop the competition table.
He had appeared in 11 of their 13 games this season, and was also a member of the club's 2010 premiership and title win in the first of two stints at Moore Park.
However the move ensures Sydney are financially rewarded for helping develop the 27-year-old before his current contract was due to expire at the end of the A-League season.
The club described it as a life-changing move for its centre-back.
"Matt has been a great servant to Sydney FC during two spells and has grown as a defender over the last couple of years," coach Graham Arnold said.
"It's disappointing to lose a player of his quality but this is also a fantastic opportunity for Matt at this stage of his life and career.
"I'm sure the Sydney FC fans will wish him well and he will always be remembered for his toughness and tenacity on the field, and mild mannered good nature off it."
- Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) January 3, 2017
Jurman was thankful for his time in the Sky Blue. "I have had some fantastic memories at Sydney FC and made some friends for life both in the dressing room and among the supporters," he said.
"My game has developed enormously in the last few years and I will always be thankful to the club for that, and also for supporting me with this wonderful opportunity that lies ahead."
Jurman's departure has been linked with the club's interest in out-of-favour Perth defender Rhys Williams, who hasn't played since early December.
Sebastian Ryall is now likely to partner Alex Wilkinson in defence moving forward, beginning with Sunday's clash against Central Coast.