Glory hopeful of retaining Ikonomidis

Socceroos forward Chris Ikonomidis (r) scored nine goals in his first season at Perth Glory.
Socceroos forward Chris Ikonomidis (r) scored nine goals in his first season at Perth Glory.

Will the lure of the Asian Champions League help Perth Glory retain star attacker Chris Ikonomidis?

The early signs look good.

Ikonomidis is contracted with Glory for another two seasons, but is set to attract significant interest from overseas clubs following his standout A-League campaign and hot displays for the Socceroos.

The 24-year-old has flourished under Glory coach Tony Popovic this season, and has settled nicely in Perth.

Although Glory missed out on the A-League championship following their heartbreaking grand final loss to Sydney, they have qualified for the Asian Champions League for the first time in club history.

The ACL could prove crucial in convincing Ikonomidis to stay for at least another season, given it would give him and other Glory players the perfect platform to showcase their talent in front of cashed-up Asian clubs.

When asked what his chances are of staying at Glory next season, Ikonomidis replied: "I haven't spoken to my agent or the club about anything, so we're just going to go as if I'm going to stay for the next two years, because that's the contract.

"We're playing the Asian Champions League next year, and we've got a big player in Bruno Fornaroli arriving at the club. There's a lot of things to look forward to.

"The Asian Champions League definitely raises your profile individually as a player if you get on that stage and do well. And it's exciting for the club."

Ikonomidis was subbed off during extra-time in the grand final, meaning he could only watch on helplessly from the bench as Sydney won the penalty shootout 4-1.

"It was harder to watch it and not be involved," Ikonomidis said.

"It's a cruel way to decide a whole season.

"I had my heart set on winning this one. It would have been the icing on the cake. It wasn't meant to be.

"But I think we can be proud of what we've done this season."

A record grand final crowd of 56,371 turned out for the title decider at Optus Stadium.

Popovic has taken less than a year to turn Glory into a powerhouse, and Ikonomidis said players had noticed the difference.

"When I first arrived there wasn't much talk on the streets or in the cafes about Perth Glory," Ikonomidis said.

"And now I can't go for a walk down the street without getting stopped, fans wanting to chat about the club. It's fantastic. That's what we want to do."

Australian Associated Press