High-flying imports Adrian Mierzejewski and Jordy Buijs are hunting significant contract upgrades from Sydney FC, as the defending champions face the prospect of becoming victims of their own success.
Polish winger Mierzejewski, 31, and Dutch defender Bujis, 29, have both shimmered this season with the ruthless Sky Blues well on course for back-to-back A-League crowns, adding substantially to their market values.
While Mierzejewski is in the first season of a three-year contract, Buijs is only tied to Sydney for the remainder of the campaign, and he is eyeing a potential move to Asia.
Both are under the umbrella of the salary cap, with Sydney’s foreign marquee spots occupied by Bobo and Milos Ninkovic.
It’s understood that Mierzejewski, who has been in sublime touch with eight goals in 12 games after an injury-interrupted start to life at Allianz Stadium, is on $450,000 a year.
His representatives believe he is worth six figures, arguing he has become a domineering A-League force with performances which have revived hopes of a Poland recall at the FIFA World Cup in Russia in five months.
He has 40 caps but has been in the international cold for over four years.
Buijs, who joined Sydney as an injury replacement a year ago, continues to add to his unyielding reputation but is seeking to maximize his remaining years at the elite level with a lucrative move to Asia at season’s end, unless Sydney can triple his $180,000 salary.
It’s a conundrum for coach Graham Arnold and the club’s technical director Han Berger, with Sydney having nine players coming off contract, including skipper Alex Brosque, Ninkovic, Alex Wilkinson, Bobo, David Carney and Matt Simon.
Club legend Brosque is also considering his options, with the club likely to offer a downgraded one-year extension to the 34-year-old who has played all but one of Sydney’s 15 A-League games this season.
Should he feel undervalued, he could simply opt instead for retirement at the conclusion of his contract in June.
The Sky Blues remain light years ahead of the competition in terms of value-for-money talent recruitment, and Arnold is already planning new signings for next season to stay ahead of the pack.
Defender Michael Zullo and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne this week inked contract extensions, with the Sky Blues five points clear of second-placed Newcastle Jets going into Sunday’s clash against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.