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What will Aziz Behich bring to Dundee United as Scotland’s Aussie influx continues?

Aziz Behich has 52 caps for the Socceroos
Aziz Behich has 52 caps for the Socceroos

Aziz Behich is closing in on a switch to Dundee United.

The Australian international, a free agent after departing Turkish side Giresunspor, is expected to touch down in Scotland this week to put pen to paper.

Behich, 31, boasts 52 caps, has lifted major silverware and enjoyed more than 300 appearances at the top level of the game in Oz, Turkey and Holland.

Here, Courier Sport analyses what the roving left-back will bring to Tannadice.

International pedigree and financial rewards

Behich’s international career is no distant memory. He is firmly in contention to go to this winter’s World Cup.

He played 119 minutes of the Aussies’ penalty shootout victory over Peru last month which secured their place in Qatar.

That was the 52nd cap of an international career which has seen Behich lift the 2015 Asian Cup and go to the 2018 World Cup in Russia — playing all three games against France, Denmark and Peru.

Behich does battle with France World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard

Allied to that impressive pedigree, Behich’s ongoing importance to Graham Arnold’s side could reap tangible rewards for United.

As part of FIFA’s Club Benefit Payments Programme, a share of the profits from the successful hosting of a World Cup is distributed among associated teams who provided players for the competition.

It produces a player-per-day fee of around £7,000 (subject to taxes and deductions).

The paid period begins two weeks before the opening match of the tournament — Senegal against Netherlands on November 21 — and lasts until the day after their nation’s elimination.

Should he sign up at Tannadice this week, even a group phase exit for the Socceroos would see United bank a little north of £40,000 for Behich’s potential selection.

A winning mentality

It would be overstating matters to suggest Behich has enjoyed a trophy-laden career — however, he is a man who knows what it is like to lift silverware.

Behich was a big money capture for PSV

He helped the Socceroos — managed by current Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou — win the Asian Cup in 2015, albeit former Huddersfield and West Brom man Jason Davidson was preferred at left-back for the triumph over South Korea in the final.

Behich also helped well-backed Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir win their first EVER top-flight title in 2019/20.

A £4 million signing for PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2018, Behich looks well equipped to handle pressure and the big occasions. While thick skin and ample quality are required to play for sides like Bursaspor and Basaksehir.

European experience

In little more than a fortnight, United will return to European football.

It is the first time they have qualified for continental competition in a decade and, in all likelihood, classy Eredivisie outfit AZ Alkmaar await — albeit Tuzla City are proving stubborn foes in their Europa Conference League second qualifying round tie.

Ross needs as many players with European pedigree as possible; those guaranteed not to be overawed by the crackling experience and standard of opposition.

Behich firmly falls into that category.

He was part of an Istanbul Basaksehir side which participated in the Europa League group phase in 2019/29, turning out against Roma, Wolfsberger and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Basaksehir went on to reach the last-16 of the tournament.

He also played in Europa League qualifying with Bursaspor in 2014, albeit a chastening defeat against Chikhura of Georgia was one to forget for the Turkish club.


Behich has played the vast majority of his football as a left-back, but — as well as challenging Scott McMann for a defensive role — it would be remiss to overlook his ability to play higher up the field.

Ilmari Niskanen was United’s only left-sided midfield option for much of last season, with Logan Chalmers on loan at Inverness. Tony Watt is able to occupy that role, although his natural instinct is to drift inside and link up with a striker.

Behich will be another option for the left wing and, during his spells in a more advanced role, has illustrated an eye for goal.

His most fruitful stint as a midfielder came while playing for Bursapsor in the 2016/17 campaign, with Behich bagging five goals in six games during one particularly potent hot streak.

That will provide another option for boss Jack Ross ahead of the coming campaign.