FOOTBALL

Wanderers split with striker Bulut

Wanderers split with striker Bulut
Western Sydney Wanderers have immediately parted company with out-of-form striker Kerem Bulut.

Kerem Bulut has been fired, released from Western Sydney with immediate effect to chase a reported move to Thailand.

A cult hero with Wanderers fans, Bulut returned to the A-League club amid much fanfare at the start of this season.

But cracks started to show just a month into his unhappy homecoming and the controversial striker has been on the outer with coach Tony Popovic ever since.

After six goalless appearances, the club announced on Wednesday he's been released from his two-year deal to pursue other "professional opportunities".

The writing was on the wall in recent weeks when Bulut was repeatedly left out of the match-day squad despite being fit and the Wanderers' well-publicised goal-scoring woes.

Popovic has been cagey on the subject but it's understood the 24-year-old was deemed too inconsistent both on and off the field.

Conjecture about Bulut's future has been rife, with the most recent reports linking him to Thai Premier League side Chiangrai United, the club of former Wanderers foundation striker Mark Bridge.

Bulut's exit leaves the seventh-placed Wanderers even shorter up front, with preferred striker Brendon Santalab now banned for three games including next month's Sydney derby, and 19-year-old Lachlan Scott still finding his feet.

Popovic has been hustling behind the scenes to bring in the cavalry, with the club so far linked to Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov, Didier Drogba, Eduardo and Jamie Maclaren.

His hunt for a reliable source of goals will continue throughout the January transfer window - potentially the club's most important yet given their imminent Asian Champions League campaign starting in February.

The Wanderers have already signed goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic, who will be available when the window opens on January 4.