Rudan aims for key player extensions as Wanderers boss signs up for three more years
After agreeing to a new three-year contract, Marko Rudan is keen for Socceroos striker Brandon Borrello and Dutch import Jorritt Hendrix to join him in putting pen to paper at Western Sydney.
The Wanderers announced on Thursday that Rudan, who will be in the dugout for Friday’s meeting with Melbourne City, has been rewarded with a fresh head coach deal after fielding interest in his services.
The 48-year-old said he gave serious consideration to following Ange Postecoglou and Kevin Muscat overseas but has vowed to continue the job he has started at the Wanderers.
The club ended a longstanding finals drought under his guidance last season and sit in third spot after 11 rounds of this campaign.
And, hell-bent on silverware, Rudan views off contract striker Borrello and midfielder Hendrix as key pieces of the puzzle as he seeks to steer the Wanderers to their maiden A-League Men championship.
“The guys that are coming off contract are asking, ‘what are you doing? It’s important for me to know’,” Rudan told AAP.
“We can’t stop offers coming in for key players, but this announcement means I’m committing to the football club and committing to the players as well.
“Brandon is big and Hendrix is big… Brandon and I have a strong relationship, he has turned his career around and that’s a credit to him.
“He has a coach here who loves him and believes in him and wants him to succeed.”
While he’s desperate to retain his most-trusted professionals and potentially add more in the January window, Rudan wants his legacy to be that the Wanderers capitalise on their huge catchment area and become a production line of talented youngsters.
Kusini Yengi (Portsmouth), Calem Nieuwenhof (Hearts), Liam Bonetig (Celtic) and Anthony Pavlesic (Bayern Munich) have all boosted the club’s coffers by sealing deals internationally in the last 12 months.
“We have to be producing our own and if not our own, we have to look at the best young ones around,” Rudan said.
“We have to start to sell players because the club hadn’t done that in a long time.”
Rudan admits he could have joined them and tested himself overseas.
He was linked with a move to Japan last month and says the success of Muscat and Postecoglou has stoked the fire to one day prove himself as a manager elsewhere.
He recognises he may not see out his three-year contract on his terms, saying “I work everyday as if I’m going to get the sack”.
“Ange is a mentor of mine and he represents all of us (Australian) coaches and he’s been highly successful,” Rudan said.
“I’m very ambitious, there’s no doubt about that… There was strong interest from Japan and that’s a destination I’m really open to when you see what Ange and Kev did.
“The club knew about it, I was very open with them and they knew I was coming out of contract.
“But I never wanted to leave, while I could have been better off financially it would have meant leaving my family and this group of players halfway through and not one part of me wanted to do that.
“I thanked my players and staff because in this current climate, (it’s rare) you have the ability to re-sign and continue to see out your vision.
“But I’m driven along with everybody else here to bring the first championship ever to this club.”