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The Stats: Why Perth Glory are willing to wait for Diego Castro's signature

Goal.com logo Goal.com 10-03-2017

Conventional wisdom indicates that Perth Glory should be wary of extending Diego Castro's contract because of his advancing years but the Spaniard's statistics make him irresistible.

Glory owner Tony Sage revealed this week that the A-League club are willing to be patient with Castro's contract negotiations, with the scintillating winger expected to wait until after a post-season break at home in Spain before deciding whether to re-sign.

Castro was a revelation in his inaugural A-League campaign of 2015-16, scoring 13 goals and notching four assists as he went on to win the Johnny Warren Medal as the competition's best player.

The former Sporting Gijon and Getafe forward turns 35 in July - the type of age that often has clubs reticent to offer new contracts - but Castro has become so integral to Perth's play that Sage seems ready to wait as long as it takes for the Spaniard's signature.

"In the end, it's just about his [Castro's] desire and what he wants and what's best for his family," Sage told The West Australian this week.

"We're not going to push him. It's his decision.

Diego Castro wins Johnny Warren Medal

"We'll start to really discuss it hard in July after he's had a month or so back at home and then he'll make up his mind.

"We'll wait like we did last year. He respects that and we respect his decision to do that."

Glory had to wait almost two months after their 2015-16 season came to an end before Castro recommitted to the club for the current campaign.

While Castro had a slightly slow start to the season - he had four goals and one assist to his name by New Year's Day - he has been brilliant since the start of February.

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The Pontevedra-born playmaker has scored five goals and notched three assists in Perth's past five matches, with Kenny Lowe's side avoiding defeat throughout that period.

Plus Castro's body appears to be holding up to the rigours of A-League football and the incessant travel that is a constant element of playing for Glory.

The veteran has missed just two games in December with a hamstring injury and he returned to action earlier than expected.

A quick look at Glory's individual attacking statistics underlines the importance of Castro.

He leads the club for chances created (51) and successful dribbles (47), while he is second in assists (4), shots (36), passes (727) and crosses (111).

"Castro is a phenomenal player," Victory coach Kevin Muscat said in the lead-up to Saturday's clash between the Big V and Perth.

Glory keep hold of Castro

"So I'm mindful of when we're attacking our responsibility is to ensure that when we've got the ball that he can't hurt us.

"That might sound confusing but he's at his most dangerous when you're attacking, so [we need to make] sure he's looked after because he supplies the likes of Taggart, Keogh and [Chris] Harold."

With nine goals to his name, Castro sits behind only Adam Taggart (11) and Andy Keogh (10) in Lowe's squad.

Castro may have dominated the headlines last week in Perth's 3-3 draw away to Wellington Phoenix for his stunning equaliser - a direct free-kick from a tight angle with just nine minutes remaining - but the Spaniard's performance was about more than one goal.

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Melbourne Victory - Perth Glory Preview

He created more chances, had more touches of the ball and attempted more crosses than any other Glory player in Auckland, while he and Keogh led the visitors for shots with five apiece.

It's no wonder Sage and Lowe are willing to wait for their marquee man - Castro is one of the best players we've seen in the A-League.

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