Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic could be left with a huge defensive void this A-League season with reports Socceroo Matthew Spiranovic will leave for the Chinese Super League.
According to News Corp Australia, Spiranovic has agreed on a transfer with an unnamed club in the CSL, where Australian international teammate Tim Cahill now also plies his trade.
Spiranovic, who played in the Socceroos' Asian Cup triumph in January, joined the Wanderers before the start of the 2013-14 season after leaving Qatari side Al-Arabi and having also gained experience in Germany and Japan.
The 27-year-old quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in the A-League, and last season also showed he has the versatility to slot in the midfield when needed.
If he were to depart, he would be the 15th player to do so since their shocking 2014-15 season and would come as a major blow to Popovic's hopes of a revival.
Captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Brendan Hamill would likely become the coach's first-choice centre-back pairing.
The Wanderers have declined to comment on the reports.
Meanwhile, Cahill has continued his blistering form for Shanghai Shenhua with a fifth goal in six games.
The Socceroos veteran struck just before the hour mark at Hongkou Stadium on Wednesday, prodding in at close range to help the side to a 3-1 upset win over CSL leaders Beijing Guoan in the national derby.
Lining up alongside Cahill was new teammate and Newcastle United and Chelsea striker Demba Ba, who also found the scoreboard on his second appearance since moving from Turkish side Besiktas.