Central Coast Mariners can this afternoon confirm that defender Trent Sainsbury has been sold to Dutch Eredivisie outfit PEC Zwolle on a two-and-a-half season deal.
Sainsbury, who was signed by the Mariners in 2010 from the Australian Institute of Sport, has developed into one of Australia’s outstanding defenders during his time with the yellow and navy.
With the mid-table Dutch club submitting a firm bid for one of Australia’s hottest defensive talents, and the player keen to progress his career in one of Europe’s top leagues, Central Coast have agreed to trade the talented 22-year-old effective immediately.
“I am happy but it’s going to be hard to leave the boys,” Sainsbury said on Friday. “The players here are like family to me and the fans have always done the right thing by me – I’ve loved my time here.”
“The Mariners are a real family club and while I don’t know each and every supporter individually, I am sad to leave such a great bunch of people.”
Sainsbury said he doesn’t necessarily view the move to the Netherlands as a stepping-stone to another of Europe’s top competition, because the Eredivisie is in itself one of the world’s foremost domestic leagues.
“If I can get myself set up there in Holland and make a good career I will be happy,” he said. “The Dutch first division is big and now I have to go there and give it my all.”
Central Coast Mariners Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bruce Stalder, thanked Sainsbury for his exemplary service to the Club.
“I may only be new to the Mariners but around the whole Hyundai A-League and Australian football there is great respect for Trent Sainsbury the player, and Trent Sainsbury the person,” Stalder said.
“But importantly, the Club has secured a good transfer fee for Trent which will be reinvested back into the playing squad and other Club initiatives.”
“In regards to the specific loss of Trent, we expect to be able to announce a new defensive signing within the coming days.”
Sainsbury played 69 competitive matches during his time with the Mariners, and was instrumental to the Club’s 2013 Hyundai A-League Championship triumph.
He also won the 2013 Mariners Medal. The Mariners Medal is voted for by the players of the Central Coast Mariners on a 3-2-1 basis, and is a reflection of an individual’s consistency and contribution to the team through the entire campaign.