Buijs back for second Sydney FC season

Jordy Buijs Source: Getty Images

Sydney FC have fixed the final element to their A-League-winning backline, re-signing Dutchman Jordy Buijs for next season's title defence.

A strong first few months in the A-League has earned the 28-year-old centre-back a second campaign with the Sky Blues, who've been systematically consolidating for 2017-18 and are set to announce further signings over the next week.

Buijs has excelled since arriving in January with Sydney in dire need for help at the back.

With Matt Jurman gone to Korea and Seb Ryall suddenly injured, the well-built addition was given little time to find his feet on Australia's hard pitches and in a climate starkly different to Europe.

But unlike the long list of imports before him who've taken up to a season to adapt, the former NAC Breda and Roda JC man was a seamless fit right from his Australia Day debut against Melbourne Victory.

Since then he's played every game except one alongside master marshaller Alex Wilkinson, in a defence that conceded a record-low 12 goals all season.

Buijs' resolve to stay put was also influenced by how well he and his family have adapted to life in Sydney.

"My family means a lot to me and they made the decision also," he said.

"They wanted to stay, so the three of us are all very happy.

"I have a good feeling at the club. They accept me for who I am, the fans like me, and I have a good connection with everyone.

"It's going to be another tough and difficult season but it's a good challenge to defend the title."

Coach Graham Arnold can now take his off-season holiday in the knowledge his established backline of Buijs, Wilkinson, right-back Rhyan Grant and left-back Michael Zullo are all contracted.

Buijs is back in Holland for his own break and, like re-signed marquee Milos Ninkovic, will miss this month's friendly with Liverpool before returning for pre-season in time to face Arsenal.

He's set to face increased competition for his central defensive spot from Ryall, who overcame his long-term hamstring issue in time to come off the bench in last week's grand-final win over Victory.

Youngster Aaron Calver also proved himself last season and is sure to get a run in a busy 2018 which will include the Asian Champions League.

The majority of Arnold's squad have already been retained, with Brazilian striker Bobo near-certain to keep the second marquee spot at the expense of winger Filip Holosko.

While Holosko has publicly said he wants to stay for a third season, his future remains up in the air and would likely be dependent on him accepting the lower salary of a non-marquee slot.

Source: AAP