Melbourne Victory veteran Archie Thompson has signed a one-year contract extension to end speculation on his future and play on with the A-League champions.
The popular 36-year-old will reprise his role in Victory’s formidable attack for a record 11th season after agreeing to terms.
“I always wanted to stay and, now that it has all worked out that way, I couldn’t be happier,” Thompson said in a club statement.
“To be a one-club player is very important to me and I feel like I can give something back to the club and the fans that have been so supportive of me over 10 great years.”
Thompson’s future with the club was previously tied to the implementation of a new “loyalty player” bonus in the new collective bargaining agreement.
The new regulation will allow clubs to place a proportion of long-serving player wages outside the salary cap as an incentive for long-term deals.
While talks for the new pay deal have broken down, the loyalty player provision has widespread support and it’s understood the Victory have decided to sign Thompson on the assumption it will be implemented.
Victory chief executive Ian Robson said it was always the club’s intention to give Thompson another year.
“Kevin Muscat said all along that he wanted Archie to stay at the club,” he said.
“With the collective bargaining agreement negotiations between FFA (Football Federation Australia) and PFA (Professional Footballers Australia) stalling, we moved to reach a position with Archie that enables him to stay and commence pre-season training as a contracted player on Monday.
“We are all thrilled to have Archie wear the Melbourne Victory strip for an incredible 11th consecutive season and for him to play his part in contributing to our title defence.”
Thompson had been linked with a move to Asian football or A-League rivals Wellington and linking up with former coach Ernie Merrick.
Instead, the evergreen striker will report on Monday for Victory pre-season duty.
Thompson, who has been at the club since the competition started in 2005, is the A-League’s leading scorer with 89 goals in 210 games.