The former Australia striker had been linked with an exit earlier in the season, but has committed to United until the end of the 2014-15 A-League season
|By CHRISTIAN MAMMONE
Adelaide United striker Bruce Djite has pledged his immediate future to the Reds after signing a new two-year contract.
It was announced on Tuesday that Djite, who is in his second stint with United and has scored 22 times in 75 A-League appearances, will remain with the club until the end of the 2014-15 season.
The 25-year-old's future was in some doubt after struggling for form in a part-time role off the bench, as coach John Kosmina opted to go without a recognised striker to accommodate Argentine duo Jeronimo Neumann and Marcelo Carrusca and marquee star Dario Vidosic.
However, the powerful right-footer returned to the starting fold three weeks ago with a goal in the 2-1 loss to league leaders Central Coast, before bossing Melbourne Victory and Wellington's defences in impressive back-to-back home wins.
The reward of a fresh deal follows two seasons with Adelaide in 2006-07 and 2007-08, a three-year spell in Turkey with clubs Genclerbirligi and Diyarbakirspor and short stays with now-defunct Gold Coast United and Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Sainty.
Djite, who has owned a property in Adelaide and referred to the city as 'home' since he first departed in 2008, said the welcomed and continued support of the Reds faithful - coupled with the squad Kosmina is assembling - made the decision to extend his stay a simple one.
"I look at the squad now and I remember welcoming guys like Eugene [Galekovic] and Cassio with open arms when they first came to the club, so obviously I love the place," Djite said via club statement.
"The fans have been fantastic and the team is superb and I think that's a big thing, when you've got so many good players you want to be part of that.
"Having good players attracts good players as well.
"We can achieve some special things in the next few years and I think we're definitely on the right track.
"If I'm going to stay in the A-League I think this is the club to be at."
Although Djite has represented Australia nine times and achieved a bundle of domestic accolades including the 2007-08 A-League Young Player of the Year, the US-born forward feels he is yet to reach his potential.
"I still think there's a lot more to come and hopefully I'll hit my best within these next two years," Djite said.
Kosmina, who initially signed Djite at United in March 2007, shared the former AIS junior's sentiments.
"He's been an asset for the club and a bit of an unsung hero," Kosmina said.
"I think he's matured as a person a hell of a lot since he first arrived at the club as a 20-year-old.
"He's got good leadership skills and I still think his best football is in front of him."
Djite became the club's fourth player to have inked a new deal in the space of month following the re-signings of Neumann, vice-captain Cassio and Portuguese winger Fabio Ferreira.