Western Sydney Wanderers bolstered its midfield stocks on Friday with confirmation that Japan ace Shinji Ono has joined the club.
The 33 year-old arrives in Sydney next Monday with a view to being available for WSW’s A-League debut against Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday 6 October.
“We have been in talks with Shinji and his management for a long time now, we have gone through the process and believe he will add a large amount to our squad across all areas,” Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said.
“He is an experienced player at all levels and has played on some of the biggest stages in the world, his professionalism at the top level will be good for all to see.”
Ono has played for Urawa Red Diamonds), Feyenord, Bochum, and Shimizu S-Pulse and has been capped 56 times by Japan – including appearances at the FIFA World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
Despite concerns over his overall fitness, having played limited minutes for Shimizu in the J.League this season, Ono is a quality player with great technique and vision.
“The signing of a Shinji Ono will bring plenty of quality to our team and plenty of excitement to Parramatta Stadium,” WSW Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman said.
“This complements our policy of developing western Sydney products. Shinji’s class and professionalism will rub off on all the young players we have.
“The added benefit is the international profile Shinji will bring to the Wanderers and give us another way to connect with fans across western Sydney.”
Wanderers gave no further detail on the length of Ono's deal, believed to be $500,000 for one year with a second season option, nor where negotiations with Germany star Michael Ballack stand.
Ono's capture is the latest coup for the A-League after arrivals of Alessandro Del Piero at Sydney FC and Emile Heksey at Newcastle Jets.
The A-League will make its LIVE free-to-air TV debut next season with the blockbuster clash between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets on Friday 11 October on SBS 2.