FORMER Adelaide United defender Dylan McGowan is the latest Australian to make the move to a top league in Europe, sealing a multi-year deal with Portuguese Primeira Liga side Pacos Ferreira.
The 25-year-old revealed he turned down big money offers from Asia in favour of the Portuguese venture in the hope that it will help him to catch the attention of Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou.
"It's a really good move for me at this stage of my career to be in a top league like this and I'm ecstatic really that it's all locked away," McGowan said.
"It was done and dusted in January really, they saw something that they liked in me and once that interest was there it was a straight forward decision to make it happen.
"It's a high quality league and I'll be playing against some huge clubs. On the weekend I went to watch them against Porto and there's obviously Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, too - Champions League and Europa League clubs, so that'll be exciting for me to play against that quality of opposition."
After three seasons with Adelaide United, that included the 2015-16 A-League championship, the centre-back has his heart set on a Socceroos spot with a World Cup potentially 12 months away.
"I had bigger money offers from all over Asia, most notably from Korea but I wanted to give myself a really good chance of making the Socceroos and show that ambition that's required to be in the national team, so hopefully this move can put me in the window for that and then I can play well enough to get that chance," he said.
As the reigning European champions and having born top-level managers as well like Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas Boas, Portugal is a hotbed for football development.
McGowan will be playing for the team that finished seventh in the top-flight last season and under 33-year-old prodigy Vasco Seebra, whom he is confident will help take him to another level.
"They've just got such a huge history in football, the Portuguese. They've got so many coaches doing well and they produce so many quality players," McGowan said.
"It's rated really highly in Europe and it's a league that's scouted very heavily, so if I can come over and do well hopefully it'll pave the way for other Australians as well to make the move here."
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