Central Coast have made an offer to All Whites midfielder Michael McGlinchey which coach Graham Arnold hopes will keep him at Gosford beyond the current A-League season.
McGlinchey has been in fine form throughout the season and was the best New Zealand player on show when the Mariners thumped Wellington Phoenix 3-0 on Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.
A move to the right side of midfield has worked wonders for the Wellington-born player, who is enjoying more space out wide and the opportunity to create goalscoring opportunities away from the rigours of a more central role.
McGlinchey, the youngest player to play for Scottish side Celtic, is off-contract at the end of this season but Arnold said an offer had been made and he was desperate to keep the 23-year-old.
"Like all A-League clubs there is a salary cap and a budget, but I'd love to keep Mikey," he said.
"I'm sure (Phoenix and All Whites coach) Ricki Herbert will be keen as well, so tell him to stay away, will you?"
Arnold said McGlinchey, a key player in their rise to third in the league, had been "fantastic".
"The role on the right hand side frees him up and he's got a lot of confidence at the moment," he said.
"New Zealand have got a great player there and he might not look it, but he's only 23.
"Technically he's great and he's got confidence to have a go at people and set up goals."
Arnold described the win as his side's best away performance but felt they still had a lot of improvement in them and were not yet ready to challenge the top two sides, Brisbane and Adelaide.
"We'll just keep trying to improve every week," Arnold said.
"We've got no stars, I don't want any stars, we've just got blokes who are prepared to go out there and work hard for 90 minutes, and carry out the game plan."
Arnold said believed the Phoenix were potentially suffering a World Cup hangover but tipped they would soon bounce back.
"Leo (Bertos) and (Ben) Sigmund and (Simon) Elliott even in now, Timmy Brown, they've come off the back of a World Cup and they've been playing pretty much straight for 12 months, which is new to them," Arnold said.
"But it's only a matter of time. I'd hate to be their next opponent."