Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold says Western Sydney’s interest in defensive trio Jordy Buijs, Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo is "flattering" but a bad look for the club’s rivals.
Wanderers reportedly sent an official transfer request to Sydney this week, flagging their intention to submit a formal offer for the trio who are all off contract at the end of the 2017/18 season.
“They’ve done what you can do by the law. I have no problem,” Arnold said.
“I’m very flattered that they want our whole backline.”
The Sky Blues boss was typically antagonistic when he further discussed the interest, saying it was a bad reflection on Wanderers midway through the season.
“I’m nervous for the families of their players, if their players are getting that signal this early that they’re after our backline,” he said.
“As I said, it’s flattering for us. I also know a lot of other teams are looking at our players when they see what we’re doing, as well as the staff.
“They’re well within their rights but to go down that path is maybe a bit early.”
Arnold expanded that there had been "a lot of interest from outside" in his players, likely Europe or Asia, but he wasn't expected an exodus in January, like when he lost Matt Jurman to Suwon Bluewings 12 months ago.
The ex-Socceroos coach insisted the reported interest hadn’t affected his players and was confident they all wanted to stay in sky blue.
“My boys are mentally fantastic, their minds are so clear,” he said.
“We’ve got the game plan ready in our heads. We’re ready to go.
“I know those three boys love Sydney FC. These boys have won three trophies and they want the other two.
“The whole motivation and drive is the FFA Cup trophy was the first of three in the football season.
“We’ve won three from three in the calendar year but they want the three in the season which has never been done before. That’s what we’re chasing.”