Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Wanderers open Ono A-League contract talks
By Liam FitzGibbon
Western Sydney have opened contract talks with marquee star Shinji Ono as both parties look to extend his stay beyond this A-League season.While the Wanderers have already re-signed the bulk of their squad for the 2013/14 campaign, they are yet to tie the Japanese playmaker to a new deal.It appears increasingly likely that Ono will remain in the red and black for another season, after he and coach Tony Popovic confirmed their intentions to agree on a new contract."I want to stay but I don't know (what's happening yet)," Ono said on Thursday."I think my agent is talking with the club - I don't know."... But I want to stay. I love it here."The 33-year-old former Japan star has improved throughout the season, with his form instrumental in the Wanderers' ascent into the top four.He has contributed four goals and three assists from 16 matches.Popovic revealed on Thursday contract talks were under way but said the club would not rush into re-signing Ono."All along, we've said that we're very happy with Shinji and obviously there's a process that needs to be taken," Popovic said."But he knows the club's desire and he knows my desire of wanting to keep Shinji and we'll see if we can make that happen."... The process has started now and hopefully both parties will be happy and we'll see him here again next year.""There's no timeframe on that. I mean I'd be happy if it was the end of the season - I wouldn't be worried when it is (done)."We're not going to rush anything and, as long as he's happy and he's happy playing, we're happy with how the process is going and that's the main thing."The Wanderers will shoot for a third straight victory when they host Melbourne Heart at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.Another win could conceivably lift them as high as second and, while they continue to surprise in their debut campaign, Ono felt the Wanderers were getting what they deserved."It's not a surprise because we believe in ourselves and we're training hard every session, so it's no surprise," Ono said.