A-League: Wellington Phoenix re-sign Andrew Durante for another season

  • 18/05/2018
Durante is the most capped player in the A-League History.
Durante is the most capped player in the A-League History. Photo credit: Getty

Phoenix captain Andrew Durante is extending his stay at Wellington in a massive boost for the beleaguered A-League club.

The most-capped player in the competition's history, Durante, 36, has added another season to his decade-long stint at the Phoenix.

After hinting at retirement as recently as March, Durante has come to terms with Phoenix management.

His retention - and that of teenage defender Liberato Cacace on a two-year deal - comes amid speculation that the club is in talks to merge or even sell its licence.

Media reports have suggested the A-League will block a proposed merger with a Sydney consortium, although the club have publicly insisted the licence is not for sale.

Still without a coach for next season, the situation was looking grim for the Wellington club, who this month announced the departure of midfielders Michael McGlinchey and Matt Ridenton.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said the twin signings were consistent with the club's stated intention.

"There has been immense speculation around the club in recent weeks," he said.

"While this is not helpful, we as a club cannot control media speculation, but we can remain committed to working hard to pull together a competitive playing squad for next season."

Dome was delighted to retain Durante, whose 287 appearances put him close to becoming the A-League's first triple centurion.

"Dura brings leadership on and off the field, and is hugely respected within the playing group," Dome said.

"Besides giving us some real solidity to build around, Dura is also taking up a part-management role off the field to assist the team in commercial, marketing and community initiatives."

Dome said Durante was spending part of the off-season in the United States on a Phoenix-funded professional development visit.

A coach would be finalised soon, Dome said.

The Phoenix will field a team at this week's Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament and are working towards a pre-season trip in July to Beijing.

AAP