Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold has not given up hope of retaining rising star Tomas Rogic in the face of reported interest from Europe.
The Mariners did without Rogic, who was suspended, and made four other changes but still secured a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory in Gosford on Monday.
Promising midfielder Rogic has been heavily linked with a switch to English Premier League club Reading, while Serie B side Ascoli are also rumoured to be interested.
While some media outlets have reported the departure of Rogic as all but a done deal, Arnold is not giving hope of keeping his precocious playmaker.
“At this moment in time I’d say it is (a possibility) that he’d stay. There hasn’t been 100 percent confirmation of an offer,” Arnold said.
“I read where the CEO of Reading Nick Hammond had come out and said they were interested. They have seen Tommy before. Tommy went over there after he won the Nike Challenge and Reading wanted to sign him. They know what Tommy’s about.
“Until something is official he is a Mariners player.”
Arnold is even more confident about keeping hold of goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who trialed with Tottenham Hotspur earlier this year.
“At this stage … Ryan is 100 percent staying because there is nothing concrete, no firm offer,” he said.
“(The) January transfer window is always a nervous time for coaches, especially here when you have got top young kids that are doing what they are doing.
“For me it’s a privilege if there is 100 percent interest in those kids from overseas and Europe and if they do go overseas I’ll be extremely disappointed, but on the other hand I’d be proud of them as individuals.”
Focusing on the result, which sees the league-leading Mariners maintain a two-point buffer ahead of second-placed Adelaide, Arnold was full of praise for players such as midfielder Oliver Bozanic and stand-in captain Michael McGlinchey.
“When you have a performance like that, and Bozanic comes in and does extremely well in the middle of the park, it puts a lot of pressure on the guys that are out of the team and now they have got to get back in the team,” he said.