Tim Cahill made the right decision by joining the New York Red Bulls and the MLS.
It will keep him in good physical condition, it will give him a healthy pay packet as he reaches the later stages of his playing career, it will give our current finest export a profile in a competition of standing, and it will give Australian fans a reason to watch the MLS, a competition often held up as what the Hyundai A-League could be.
Cahill’s switch, only awaiting a medical and agreed personal terms, has caused more of a stir than one might expect.
Some have questioned his departure from the Premier League and asked why would Everton let him leave?
Cahill has been the Merseyside club’s best player in the last decade; in many ways the Australian defined the side under David Moyes – committed, loyal, proud, fiercely local, unglamourous yet unflinching and a constant threat to those with more resources.
But Cahill is not the force he once was. The physical demands of the EPL are well known and only the exceptional and freakish - such as Ryan Giggs - are able to withstand it over the long term.
Everyone else is subject to the business of football, regardless of their commitment.
Eight seasons, 278 appearances and 68 goals will keep Cahill forever a Blue – but he only scored three times in 2011/12. At a club like Everton, which must fight every step of the way, there is no room for sentiment and a reported $4.3 million salary – or a $2m incoming transfer fee.
Indeed, Cahill’s departure isn’t so much the surprise – it’s his destination.
Rumours had been circulating for months that he would join the Aussie exodus to the Middle East.
But New York undoubtedly offers a richer personal experience for Cahill and his family, as well as a league that will still ask questions of him and a club that requires success (and offers a respectable wage).
The Red Bulls have yet to win any trophies, despite the massive investment of billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
The club currently leads the Eastern Conference and boast the likes of Thierry Henry with Rafael Marquez, but the Bulls have lacked a goal-scoring midfielder; Cahill’s late-arriving threat could deliver thse goals, and his signature is something of a coup for the club and the MLS as a whole.
Some have expressed disappointment that Cahill didn’t instead choose to return to Australia but it was simply never going to happen.
No club here could afford him; certainly not Western Sydney Wanderers FC, who are being bankrolled by FFA, and where Tony Popovic is aiming to build a young and hungry squad.
Instead, Cahill’s move could become the Socceroos’ American dream, as one of our senior players extends his career in a less physically taxing environment.
No doubt Holger Osieck will be privately pleased with the decision as he plans for Brazil 2014, as should Australian fans. We might not get Cahill in a backyard but we should have him at his best when we need him most. Those American corner flags better watch out.