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I want to turn Sydney FC into Man U: Arnie

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Off-contract Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has declared he's set on staying put next season and turning the club into the Manchester United of the A-League.

Arnold confirmed he's been "talking and communicating very well" with Sky Blues officials about a new contract, as he batted away links with other clubs including Tasmania's well-financed expansion hopefuls.

And his vision was simple - guide Sydney to their first trophy in six years and continue the grand plan he set out on arrival in 2014.

"I made a statement when I came into this club two years ago that I wanted to help this club become the Manchester United of the A-League," Arnold said.

"My ambition - my main goal - is to deliver a trophy to this club. It's been a long time and that's the purpose when we come into work.

"You always get phone calls from agents and other clubs, but for me it's about being happy in my life and in my job."

"I'm a Sydney boy and I'm happy at Sydney FC."

Arnold has been linked with Dutch outfit NAC Breda and fellow A-League club Melbourne City, who could be without a coach next season after John van 't Schip indicated he'll likely return to Holland after his contract expires at the end of this campaign.

Tasmania's consortium are also reportedly targeting him in their drive to become one of two new teams to be introduced the 2018-19 season.

The 53-year-old couldn't resist a dig at the Apple Isle.

"I've always wanted to coach outside of Australia, Tasmania might be a good start," he joked.

"It's a couple of years away, it's something I really haven't thought about."

Sydney will attempt to extend their six-point lead at the summit on Saturday night by taking three points from an under-performing Perth at nib Stadium.

Should second-placed City and third-placed Melbourne Victory draw in the season's second derby on the same night, the Sky Blues could be eight points clear at Christmas.

Arnold confirmed midfielder Brandon O'Neill will return to the starting XI to replace suspended Josh Brillante, while David Carney or George Blackwood will return to the squad in the absence of banned substitute striker Matt Simon.

The coach praised O'Neill's decision to sign a new two-year contract this week, despite a swathe of players and agents across the league holding out for Football Federation Australia to secure a new broadcast deal that could see the salary cap rise substantially.

Sydney still have another 13 players coming off contract and are set to face swelling demand for their talent if their unbeaten run continues.

"It seems everyone is sitting on their hands and waiting for the TV deal to be done," Arnold said.

"So for us to sign one of Australia's best talents so early shows the kid appreciates what this club is giving him in his development."

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