FORMER Kelmscott Senior High School student Trent Sainsbury has signed with one of the biggest football clubs in the world.
The Socceroos defender has swapped the Chinese Super League for Italian giants Inter Milan in an intriguing and exciting transfer deadline day move.
The 25-year-old, who began his career in the A-League with the Central Coast Mariners, has joined the Nerazzurri on loan from Jiangsu Suning until the end of the season.
The shared ownership between the two clubs is a pivotal part of the move.
The owners of Jiangsu Suning took majority ownership of Inter Milan last year, with new Chinese football regulations easing Sainsbury’s passage to Europe.
Each Chinese Super League side is allowed to own five foreign players, including one from the Asian confederation which includes Australia, but field only three at the same time.
With South American stars Ramires, Roger Martinez and Alex Teixeira – who signed for the club in a $A60m deal last year – on Jiangsu Suning’s books already, it appears Sainsbury has been deemed surplus to requirements.
But the club’s loss could be Sainsbury’s gain, having secured a home at one of Europe’s grand old clubs.
Inter is a three-time European champion and an 18-time national champion.
The first-choice national team centre-back will join an illustrious group of Socceroos to have played in Italy when he makes his debut.
Zeljko Kalac played for cross-town rivals AC Milan, while Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella and current A-League coaches Paul Okon (Central Coast) and John Aloisi (Brisbane Roar) spent part of their careers in Italy.
The Perth-born defender won the 2012-13 A-League title with the Mariners, earning a move to Dutch club PEC Zwolle.
It was there that Sainsbury established himself as a Socceroos regular, helping the national team lift the Asian Cup in 2015.
After three years in Europe, Sainsbury made a big-money move to China, where he increased his annual wage to a reported $4 million.
He is likely to retain that salary while on Inter’s books.
A brief statement on Inter’s website suggested Sainsbury is likely to wear the number 20 shirt – made famous by Uruguayan forward and one-time Socceroos nemesis Alvaro Recoba.
Inter sit fourth on the Serie A table, nine points behind leaders Juventus.