Buijs keen to take contract offer

If being pursued by a rival club is said to be one of the greatest compliments a player can receive, that's not the way Jordy Buijs sees things.

The Sydney FC central defender was on the radar of the Sky Blues' cross-town rivals last week when Western Sydney Wanderers notified the club of their interest in the Dutchman.

But that didn't phase Buijs in the slightest. A 5-0 rout in the Sydney derby followed, but the joy from that resounding victory had nothing to do with potential interest from the other side of town.

Instead, it was another looming contract offer that flattered Buijs the most.

"I'm flattered that Sydney FC wants to tie my contract up for two or three years," he said. "With Sydney FC, this is my first priority. Of course, I think they tried something before the derby, I don't know. I don't think about these things too much because this is my club and I enjoy a lot about this club."

The 29-year-old has flourished into one the Sky Blues' most important players since arriving last January.

His form and fitness have improved significantly in his second season with the club and he appears set to be rewarded with a long-term contract renewal. Buijs becomes a free agent in June, but Sydney FC are eager to retain him and are looking to sign him for up to three more seasons.

Buijs is yet to finalise a new deal, but says he's more than happy with life at the A-League champions. Already, he has won three trophies with the club, having won only one in his career before Sydney - the second division title in the Netherlands with De Graafschap.

"In one year, three titles is a luxury," he said. "This is my second, third and fourth. We have two to go, so I want my fifth and sixth."

A hard-working, fiery defender with the rare trait of being deadly from set-pieces, he has quickly established himself as a favourite with the Sky Blues' faithful, with whom he has struck up a relationship. In each of the 22 wins he has experienced with Sydney FC, Buijs is not only the first player to join the fans in celebration, but is often the most exuberant.

"I'm not the best player, but I am one of the players who will go up front in the fight. It's natural. I like the fans too because they support us every week, not only home but also away. Sometimes you need this relationship to start to grow and I have this feeling as well," Buijs said.

Meanwhile, Sydney FC are to welcome Milos Ninkovic back into the match-day squad for Friday night's game against Melbourne City at Allianz Stadium, but there may be no room for the Serbian playmaker in their starting line-up.

Last season's A-League player of the year has overcome a calf injury that has kept him out of Sydney's past three games, but will likely have to settle for a place on the bench.

"He is in the squad tomorrow night. He has worked hard to get back and he has got to fight for a place to get back in the starting 11 because the starting 11 has been fantastic. You reward people because of their performances," coach Graham Arnold said.

"Ninkovic is obviously an outstanding player, but it just shows you the quality of the squad we have that he may have to start on the bench."

This story Buijs keen to take contract offer first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.