Phoenix retain A-League captain Durante

Daniel Gilhooly

Captain Andrew Durante is extending his stay at Wellington in a massive boost for the beleaguered A-League club.

The most-capped player in the competition's history, the 36-year-old Durante has added another season to his decade-long stint at the Phoenix.

Having spoken openly of the likelihood of retirement as recently as March, Durante has come to terms with Phoenix management in welcome good news.

His retention and that of teenage defender Liberato Cacace on a two-year deal comes amid speculation the club are in talks to merge or even sell their licence.

Media reports suggest the A-League will block a proposed merger with a Sydney consortium, although the club have said the licence is not for sale in a rare public statement.

Still without a coach for next season, the situation was looking grim for the Wellington club, who this month had announced the departure of midfielders Michael McGlinchey and Matt Ridenton.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said the twin signings were consistent with the club's stated intention.

"There has been immense speculation around the club in recent weeks," he said.

"While this is not helpful, we as a club cannot control media speculation, but we can remain committed to working hard to pull together a competitive playing squad for next season."

Dome was delighted to retain Durante, whose 287 appearances put him close to becoming the A-League's first triple centurion.

"Dura brings leadership on and off field and is hugely respected within the playing group," Dome said.

"Besides giving us some real solidity to build around, Dura is also taking up a part management role off the field to assist the team in commercial, marketing and community initiatives."

Dome said Durante was spending part of the off-season in the United States on a Phoenix-funded professional development visit.

A coach would be finalised soon, Dome said.

The Phoenix will field a team at this week's Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament and are working towards a pre-season trip in July to Beijing.