FBK extension: Victory 'my first and only choice'

Fresh from agreeing a new two-year deal with Melbourne Victory, Fahid Ben Khalfallah says he wasn't interested in talking to rival Hyundai A-League clubs despite a torturous and long negotiation process.

The former Bordeaux winger has proved to be one of the best acquisitions of the 2014-15 season by any club, scoring five goals and supplying nine assists to fire Victory to within 90 minutes of Premiers' Plate success.

Having initially agreed just a one-year deal, the future of the French-born Tunisia international has seen been the subject of scrutiny for some time.

Head coach Kevin Muscat confirmed he was keen to keep the 32-year-old as early as March 6, but with Besart Berisha filling the club's international marquee spot and big earners such as Guilherme Finkler taking up room in the salary cap, reaching an agreement with the man affectionately known as 'FBK' has been far from simple.

Lengthy financial negotiations aside though, Ben Khalfallah has insisted he had no hesitation in opting to remain at AAMI Park. 

"It was very easy," he said.

"I wanted to stay in Melbourne. It was the first choice and the only choice. 

"I know (a) different club was interested but I didn't speak with the other club because my first and only choice was to stay here, for me, for my family. I'm in the best club in Australia. We are the biggest club and I work with good people.

"The club is happy, I'm very happy and my family is happy, especially my daughter. She put me [under] more pressure than everyone inside the club.

"When you are happy it's not about the money. Of course I can maybe raise more money in another place or another country … [but] I have everything. My life is very good. The city is fantastic.

"The club is the biggest club and we have to prove it [on] Sunday, to win the Premiers' Plate," he added, referring to first-placed Victory's final match of the regular season at home to the Central Coast Mariners.

The difficulty of keeping a talented squad within the salary cap has been highlighted by Perth Glory's spectacular fall from grace this month, the Western Australian club having been disqualified from the finals series after being deemed to have systematically breached the player payment limits set by Football Federation Australia.

But despite opting to keep veteran Ben Khalfallah until the end of 2016-17, when he will be 34, Victory's football operations manager Paul Trimboli is confident the heavyweight side will get the balance of negotiations and recruitment right in the coming off-season.

"The nature of the salary cap and working within it, it always presents challenges," he said.

"All you can do is prioritise the players you want to keep and work within the range. We've re-signed some of our other young players as well so we've got a good stable base to the squad moving forward. Over the next few months we'll fill out the rest of the spots."

Ben Khalfallah meanwhile insisted the delay in agreeing a new deal wasn't all about remuneration, as the talented forward sought assurances about the club's on-field ambitions. 

"It's difficult in Australia with the salary cap," he said.

"I wanted to know next year, what the goals of the club (are). We have the same goal – we want to win, this year, the next year.

"With this you have to smart. And the club is very smart. When you bring [in] players like Mathieu Delpierre, Daniel Georgievski, sign a lot of players like that, you have to be smart. And they are smarter than the other teams."