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Ryan closes in on richer Brugge deal

23 December 2013-SBS: Dave Lewis

Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan is set to be rewarded for a stunning start to his career in Belgium at Club Brugge with an upgraded contract - just seven months after signing for the club.

Already tied to the powerhouse team – lying second in Belgium’s Pro League – until the end of the 2015-2016, the 21-year-old Brazil-bound shot-stopper is in discussions over adding an extra year to his deal, plus a hefty pay hike in recognition of his feats since arriving from Central Coast Mariners.

With a new deal likely to be penned early in the New Year, Ryan ensured himself plenty of Christmas cheer as he racked up his 20th league appearance for Brugge as it won 3-1 at Gent to move within two points of leader Standard Liege. It was made extra sweet for Ryan by a second-half penalty save.

Coach Michel Preud’homme – himself a former keeper capped 58 times by Belgium – is utterly convinced Ryan will only get better as he continues to evolve and develop.

"The club very is happy with Mat and we are in discussions over an improved contract for him already, although nothing has been signed yet," Ryan’s agent, former Denmark striker Mikkel Beck, said.

"The club want to reward him and of course we are not against the idea but everything has to be right before you sign something new.

"So we are taking our time and I am pretty confident we will find an agreement, possibly early in the 2014.

"He has proven himself an outstanding goalkeeper and while there are also other clubs watching and following him, he is appreciative of what Club Brugge as done for him and is very content there.

"He is not looking to leave the club and it's important for Mat to settle in Europe and Club Brugge is a great place for him.

"We should not forget he is getting used to life in Europe and with each game he is showing more and more."

Ryan was picked ahead of Mitch Langerak by new Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou for last month’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Sydney – a strong indication he could have the inside running over the Borussia Dortmund No.2 heading towards next year's FIFA World Cup.

"He's made huge strides in a short time, not just at Club Brugge but also with his country where he is looking likely to be the No.1 at the World Cup - you couldn't have written the script," Beck said.

"We have to make sure he keeps learning and developing. He is only young still and has time on his side.

"He could play on until he is 40 if he continues to do well and could even do a Mark Schwarzer."

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