Defending champions Sydney FC have received a major boost, with master marksman Adam Le Fondre on his way back to the Sky Blues to fuel their A-League title defence.
The Englishman, who scored 45 goals in 68 appearances for Sydney across two stunning seasons, looms as an X-factor arrival likely to provide the finishing finesse which has often eluded the club’s strikers so far this season.
Currently in the UK after landing a third title in three seasons - most recently in the Indian Super League with the City Football Group-backed Mumbai City - Le Fondre, 34, has agreed to terms on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
He is likely to be eligible for the last five rounds of the regular season - starting with the May 5 visit to Western United - plus the finals series.
The run-in also includes home clashes against Melbourne Victory and crosstown foes Western Sydney Wanderers, and Adelaide and Brisbane away.
Le Fondre struck 11 goals in 20 appearances for Mumbai in his five-month stint, after finishing the A-League’s second top scorer in consecutive seasons before that.
Speaking to The World Game from England last month, Le Fondre revealed it was uncertainty over COVID-19 which prompted his departure from the Harbour City.
He also predicted he’d already be in double figures had he stayed put because of the free-flowing nature of the competition this season.
“When I was there (in the A-League) it was more like a chess match,” he said.
“But there are young players coming through and it has been really exciting with a lot more goals. It’s end to end stuff and It’s great to see.
“The games have been really open and I was sat there watching and thinking ‘wow, I would have scored at least 10 goals by now.”
Coach Steve Corica’s current attacking triumvirate of Kosta Barbarouses (six in 16), Bobo (six in 12) and Patrick Wood (three in 13) haven’t consistently ignited, though Sydney still lie fourth on the ladder three points behind leaders Central Coast.
“I was happy to stay (with Sydney) but then COVID-19 arrived,” Le Fondre reflected.
“I didn’t want to leave. I loved it in Australia and it ticked a lot of boxes for me and my family.
“But the landscape had changed in the league because of the pandemic.”