Contract rebel Max Burgess has returned to his roots - agreeing a two-season deal with Sydney FC three months after splitting with Western United.
The 26-year-old midfielder decamped to his hometown in March, unable to settle back in Victoria after arriving late for the start of the season following a standoff with the club over his future.
United refused to free him to play for another A-League club this season, preferring instead to let his contract wind down.
But with his deal expiring at the end of this month, The World Game can confirm Burgess is set for a third spell with the Sky Blues, for whom he has made one previous senior appearance.
His arrival - ahead of next month’s AFC Champions League group stage in Uzbekistan - could coincide with the exit of midfielder Alexander Baumjohann, whose two-year contract with the champions expires at the end of June.
The 34-year-old German has struggled to cement a regular starting spot since arriving from Western Sydney, with 13 of his 23 appearances this season coming off the bench.
It’s understood Burgess - who also had stints with Newcastle and Wellington Phoenix - may have already been liaising remotely with Sydney’s strength and conditioning staff to bring him up to speed as quickly as possible on arrival.
A huge hit for United in 2019-20 after arriving along with coach Mark Rudan from Wellington, Burgess made just one appearance this season, a 27-minute spell off the bench in United’s 3-2 loss to the Central Coast Mariners on February 7.
Sydney FC were contacted for comment.