LONDON: Saudi Pro League side Al-Qadsiah have pulled off something of a transfer coup by signing Australia international defender Rhys Williams.
Melbourne Victory were very keen to hang on to the 29-year-old, who has been capped 14 times by the Socceroos, but Al-Qadsiah have managed to get him out of the last year of his contract and lure him to the Kingdom. Al-Qadsiah are reported to have paid Melbourne Victory €400,000 ($466,000) for his services.
"We are obviously extremely disappointed to lose a player of Rhys' quality," Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat said. "We'd planned for Rhys to be here for at least another season, but in the end we honoured the agreement we made when he first joined the club, so we thank him for his contribution and wish him all the best.
"While it's frustrating when things like this happen, we will continue adding quality players to the squad ahead of the new season."
Griffiths started his career in England, playing for Middlesbrough, Burnley and Charlton before moving to Australia two years ago, where he played for Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory.
Named in the A-League team of the year, he will be expected to help shore up a Al-Qadsiah defence that conceded 41 goals in 26 league games last season, meaning they flirted with relegation for much of the campaign before finishing one point and one place above safety.
Griffiths will hope to last longer in the Kingdom than countryman and former Melbourne teammate Mark Milligan. The national team midfielder joined Al-Ahli in January but his contract was terminated last week.