Pohang pulled the pin on Brillante
Josh Brillante will spend his birthday week getting his head back in the game after being strung along and then spat out by Pohang Steelers.
It's understood Pohang were the party to pull the pin on signing Brillante, contrary to reports the Sky Blues had blocked the move.
But they must now try to reintegrate a key player who was so hellbent on leaving he'd already farewelled his teammates.
Sydney had been seeking an improved transfer fee from the money-tight K-League outfit, initially unwilling to grant Brillante's release until a suitable sum was forthcoming.
However after a meeting between coach Steve Corica and club bosses it was decided that, given his desperation for a second shot at playing abroad and the fact he's already given three good years, they would cut their losses and grant his release before the Korean window shuts on March 28.
Add to that the fact Paulo Retre has been performing well as a midfield fill-in alongside Brandon O'Neill.
That was last week, before Pohang pulled out of the deal, suggesting they've chosen to pursue alternative options.
It's a massive blow for Brillante, who's off contract and ready to become a free agent in an attempt to fulfil his burning desire to head back overseas.
While his short-term retention is a coup for Sydney on the even of a finals campaign, the whole episode has made for terrible timing.
Pohang first contacted Brillante's management two days before the away Asian Champions League loss to Kawasaki Frontale, a match that would have put him in the shop window but which he sat out after Corica decided he was too distracted to contribute 100 per cent.
He was then subsequently left out of the A-League line-up that faced Melbourne City the following Sunday, with Retre stepping in both times.
It's unclear whether Brillante, who turned 26 on Monday, will return to face Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
However it's believed he has communicated his desire to get back on the bandwagon to both coach and chief executive Danny Townsend.