Sport Western Sydney Wanderers submit transfer request for three Sydney FC stars

06:15  07 december  2017
06:15  07 december  2017 Source:

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Sydney FC have been stunned by the news Western Sydney Wanderers are looking to sign three key players after receiving an official transfer request from their cross-town rivals only three days before they face each other in Saturday's derby.

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In demand: Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson.© Janie Barrett In demand: Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson.

Western Sydney Wanderers have added more fuel to Saturday's Sydney A-League Derby by submitting a transfer request to Sydney FC in hope of signing three of their starting players.

The Wanderers have already turned their attention to recruitment for next season and have placed a number of players from their fiercest rivals at the top of their shopping list.

Fairfax Media understands Sydney FC received a letter from their cross-town foes on Wednesday night confirming the Wanderers are set to make approaches to sign three of their starting defenders for next season. Sources confirmed in the cross-hairs for Western Sydney are FC's central defensive pairing of Alex Wilkinson and Dutchman Jordy Buijs.

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Buijs and Wilkinson were the backbone of the  Sky Blues' A-League title-winning team last season, setting a new record for the most lean defence in the competition's history.

The pair continued their form from last season by ensuring Sydney FC have the best defensive record thus far in the 2017-18 season, conceding eight goals, four fewer than the Wanderers, having played an extra game.

The Wanderers are also in pursuit of Sydney FC left back Michael Zullo who has enjoyed a resurgence at Moore Park since regaining fitness after recent years of being plagued by injury.

The former Australian international is being targeted as a potential replacement for Spaniard Raul Llorente, who comes off-contract at the season's end.

While Llorente has been a consistent performer for the Wanderers, the club is looking at the prospect of freeing up a foreign spot by a potential acquisition of Zullo.

The three are in the final year of the contract and as of December 1, are free to speak to rival clubs to sign contracts for next season. Under A-League regulations, clubs wishing to speak to players of rival clubs must submit written notice to their employers.

Sydney FC sources are confident of retaining all three players who will be offered renewed contracts for next season. Wilkinson is the least likely to leave and it's understood he has a clause in his contract that triggers an automatic one-year renewal.

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Christmas came early for Josep Gombau who received two gifts from "Santa" to claim his first win as Western Sydney Wanderers coach, however that's all been overshadowed by more farcical use of the Video Assistant Referee. A goal and assist from veteran striker Brendon Santalab clinched the 2-0 win for the Wanderers over the Mariners at Central Coast Stadium to help the club bounce back immediately from their gut-wrenching derby defeat a week before.


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