Sydney FC confirmed it has signed attacking star Bernie Ibini on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Dongya on a one-year deal.
Speculation was rife of a deal linking Ibini up with Sydney FC after the Sky Blues unveiled Graham Arnold as their new coach.
It was under Arnold's guidance at Central Coast Mariners that Ibini made his A-League first team debut in 2010, the pair integral in its breakthrough championship in 2012.
After returning to the Mariners in January, Ibini scored six goals in 16 games and becomes the first new face at Sydney FC since Arnold took over from the sacked Frank Farina.
"I'm definitely very excited and looking forward to my first season here next year," Ibini said.
"I'm very happy to be working with Graham Arnold again and having heard his and the club’s big plans for the future, everything is going in the right direction.
"The timing of the move was perfect for me. Not having to travel as far and being able to be closer to home will definitely be a good thing for me and help me perform to the best of my ability."
New kit... What Ibini will look like in a Sydney FC shirt (SBS doctored image)
Arnold believes Ibini, who prefers to play in the wider positions, will excite fans with his style of football.
"Bernie is a great acquisition for the club and I’m convinced he'll be a fan favourite," Arnold said.
"He's an exciting player, a goalscorer and also a Sydney boy. He's just the type of player we need to recruit."
Ibini, 21, will link up with Arnold and Sydney FC's squad when they return to training in mid June, having completed his loan stint at the Mariners and opting to remain in the A-League.
His departure from the Gosford-based club has left Mariners coach Phil Moss disappointed, after it was revealed Ibini had come to terms for a loan extension last month.
'It is obviously disappointing to be losing a player of Bernie’s potential, especially given the amount of faith we have shown in him and hours we have put into him," Moss said.
'We understand Bernie has signed on-loan from Shanghai with Sydney FC, and that Sydney offered a financially superior deal to both Bernie and Shanghai."
'While we may not have been able to match these amounts we were given no right of reply by Bernie’s agent, which is extremely disappointing."
'We can assure our members and fans that we did everything in our power to keep Bernie Ibini at the Mariners, however he has chosen to continue his career in Sydney and we can now only wish him well for the road ahead. Bernie is a great kid from a wonderful family and I hope his development continues."