Released Central Coast star Mitch Austin is set to be unveiled as a Melbourne Victory signing on Friday, with fellow winger Connor Pain reportedly heading the other way in a player-swap deal.
Austin was released from the club late on Thursday after declining the second-year option on his contract, despite having played the required number of matches to trigger it.
The pacy 25-year-old was a top performer in his debut A-League season with the Mariners, whom he joined from England's lower tiers last year.
His raw skill has turned heads, with Kevin Muscat's side seemingly the winning party as Austin looks to continue his fledgling career at a competition heavyweight.
But the situation clearly left the Mariners vexed on Thursday.
"Mitch requested to terminate his contract, which highlights why the FFA should re-consider the rules around transfer fees between A-League Clubs," Mariners executive vice-chairman Peter Storrie said in a statement.
"If not, the smaller clubs are just going to develop players and lose them to bigger clubs with no compensation."
With transfer fees prohibited in the A-League, Victory have reportedly offered Pain as compensation.
The 22-year-old one-time Socceroo will be up for more game time in Gosford, having made just one start from 12 appearances for Victory last season as he played second fiddle to now-Wellington marquee Kosta Barbarouses.