Gulden turns down 10-year deal, bigger pay for Swans

Rejecting long-term contracts and bigger pay deals, Errol Gulden says he never entertained leaving Sydney for another club.

Considered one of the best young players in the AFL since his 2021 debut, the 21-year-old knocked back a 10-year offer from a rival to stay in the red and white until at least the end of 2028.

After turning others away, Gulden hinted he had also rejected bigger pay deals.

Gulden, a fan of Premier League club Liverpool, said he drew inspiration from overseas players as he negotiated his new contract.

"The obvious one is Steven Gerrard. He had big deals from Chelsea and things like that but he stayed with Liverpool and won the Champions League in 2005," Gulden said on Thursday.

"It's probably not quite at the same level as the pressure that Stevie G would have been under but I definitely do draw inspiration from guys like that.

"And even Trent Alexander. He's from Liverpool, born and raised through the academy. I'd be pretty flat if any of them ever left so I guess I can't be a hypocrite."

Errol Gulden.
Errol Gulden kicks a goal during the Swans' round-two win over Essendon at the SCG.

Gulden remained tight-lipped about which clubs had attempted to sway him but admitted he considered a contract deal as long as 10 years before ultimately opting for something shorter.

"It can be lost on them, that I'm just 21," Gulden added.

"I don't want to get the world's smallest violin out, I know a lot of people go through all the same things and it's an awesome problem to have, but ... the thought of a 10-year deal, it's almost half my life.

"To lock myself away for that period of time was just something I didn't really want to do in the end.

"Four years is just the right amount for me. It keeps me on the edge enough to want to keep playing good footy and get myself better every day."

Gulden has started 2024 in terrific form, ranked No.1 in the competition for total metres gained and third across the league for inside-50s and score involvements.

The midfielder, who joined the Sydney Swans Academy at the age of 11, had a breakout 2023 season, earning his first All-Australian blazer, finishing fourth in the Brownlow Medal and winning the Bob Skilton Medal as the Swans' club champion.

Gulden was drafted in 2020 with pick No.32 and made his debut in the opening round of 2021. He had an immediate impact, finishing his first game with three goals, 19 disposals and a Rising Star nomination.

His re-signing comes a week after fellow gun midfielder James Rowbottom also inked a four-year deal.

"I'm so excited for the direction that we're heading in and the foundations we've built over the course of the past three or four years. I want to be a part of that and I couldn't see myself playing anywhere else," Gulden said.

"I just want to win as many premierships as I can. If we can win four of five premierships in that period of time, I'll be pretty happy."

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