THE high-flying Western Sydney Wanderers players are set to stay after the club’s executive chairman Lyall Gorman confirmed his intention to keep hold of the majority of the crop of the squad for next season, including marquee player Shinji Ono.
Gorman has reserved the highest praise for the club’s inaugural roster by outlining his desire to re-sign most of those coming off contract.
The Wanderers extended the contracts of six players recently, including captain Michael Beauchamp and will not look elsewhere until they have secured most of the 11 others in the final year of their contracts.
”We’re looking at retention rather than recruitment,” Gorman said. ”Our first priority is to reward and honour the existing playing group and from there we will understand better what the gaps are and where we need to focus our energies. But clearly we’ve been delighted with the outcomes and performances of our playing group this year, both on and off the field.”
After the Wanderers 1-0 win against Melbourne Heart on Saturday, when they played the majority of the match with 10 men, Gorman said there were no plans to sign new players until they concluded all contract renegotiations.
”We’ve just got to sit down now and look at the next round of retention of our current playing group and then see how those players react to the tabled offers and then start to actively explore those over the next couple of months,” Gorman said.
There are two days left in the January transfer window and the Wanderers have already dipped in by signing former Brisbane Roar winger Rocky Visconte. There will be no further transfer action as the deadline looms closer, however.
”We’ll be having no player movement either way, in or out. We obviously had Rocky Visconte coming in a couple of weeks ago to cover Tahj [Minniecon], who’s out for the season, but other than that we’re looking at no player movement at all in the January window,” Gorman said.
The Wanderers have held preliminary discussions with the management of Ono but are not expecting to agree to terms immediately.
Ono has expressed his desire to continue wearing the red and black hoops beyond this season and while the club is happy with his performance, they are not rushing for a new deal. The Wanderers are wary that contract negotiations may distract the Japanese star from his on-field duties and will continue holding intermittent talks with his agent.
”We’re in discussions on a regular basis without distracting ourselves from playing football each week,” Gorman said. ”Shinji has clearly expressed his desire to stay both in the A-League and at the club. We’ve just got to now work out how it might look.
”It’s about balancing the process so nobody becomes destabilised by it.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.