Fahid Ben Khalfallah reckons he has what it takes to replace departing Gui Finkler as Melbourne Victory’s chief playmaker next season, and says facing Juventus in July’s International Champions Cup will be ideal preparation for the FFA Cup and new Hyundai A-League season.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat will have to replace at least two imports for the 2016-17 campaign, with Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses both joining Wellingon, but Ben Khalfallah doesn’t think a number 10 should be a priority.
The 33-year-old has played almost exclusively on the left wing since joining Victory before the 2014-15 season but insists he can take his game to another level if allowed to play centrally.
“I definitely want to play in midfield and we already spoke about that, with Kevin, during the season. He knows my best position is midfield,” Ben Khalfallah told Goal Australia on Thursday.
Ben Khalfallah added: “If I can play midfield, I will be the happiest player in the world.”
With Victory’s A-League campaign over for another year, Ben Khalfallah is having to watch from the sidelines as his team-mates attempt to progress from their AFC Champions League group for the first time in the club’s history.
If Victory qualify for the quarter-finals, Muscat can tweak his squad and potentially promote Ben Khalfallah, who would relish the opportunity.
Otherwise the former Tunisia international will have to wait for Victory’s involvement in the International Champions Cup (ICC) in July to get back on the pitch.
Ben Khalfallah reckons Victory “can’t have better preparation” for the new A-League season than facing Juventus at the MCG.
“It’s going to be good for us, for the club and I’m thinking about the young players in our team that can see the difference between the top level and us, so how they have to progress,” he said.
“Honestly, we’re very excited and we can’t wait to play against them.”
Victory will be one of four clubs to play in the Australian leg of the ICC, with Tottenham and Atletico Madrid also confirmed.
Ben Khalfallah has one more year on his current deal with Victory but insists it won’t be his final playing contract, while he already has one eye on his post-playing career.
“I want to finish my career with this club and hopefully I can work with this club after my career,” he said.
“I’m 100 per cent sure I can bring my experience with soccer from Europe, to work with an academy or to be a coach.
“Why not in the future to be an assistant coach with Kevin and to learn with him? There is no chance for me to leave the club.”
Fahid Ben Khalfallah spoke to Goal Australia in the lead up to the International Champions Cup Australia, presented by Audi.