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 By AAP

Rhys Williams exits Melbourne Victory, joins Saudi Arabia's Al-Qadsiah

A-League champions Melbourne Victory have been stung by the loss of another key player with Rhys Williams departing for Saudi Arabia.

The fringe Socceroos defender was contracted for another year but has been sold to Al-Qadsiah.

It leaves coach Kevin Muscat with plenty work to do on the recruitment front after the recent departures of Besart Berisha to Japan and James Donachie to South Korea.

Williams, 29, cannot be begrudged the opportunity to take up a Middle Eastern pay day after missing out on Australia's World Cup squad as he moves towards the latter stages of a career that has been blighted by injuries.

"We are obviously extremely disappointed to lose a player of Rhys' quality," 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."

Williams missed Victory's 1-0 Grand Final win against Newcastle due to injury but was one of their most important players over the course of the season.

It's understood Muscat is lining up former Victory stopper Nick Ansell to partner Thomas Deng in the centre of defence next season.

Ansell, 24, joined Tondela last year but made only eight first-team appearances for the Portuguese outfit.

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