Sydney FC have confirmed that striker Bernie Ibini is on their radar for next season under new coach Graham Arnold.
Speaking at the unveiling of Arnold today at Allianz Stadium, Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata confirmed the club's interest in the young Australian striker, who plays for Shanghai SIPG.
Ibini returned to the Central Coast Mariners on loan last season, scoring some key goals for the Gosford club.
Pignata said he'd spoken with the striker's agent and the Sky Blues are clearly keen on the Nigerian-born 21-year-old after being linked with him in late 2013.
"I'll be upfront. Yes we've spoken with Bernie's manager and his club in China about the possibility of joining [Sydney FC]," said Pignata.
"His loan agreement's finished at Central Coast but nothing has been finalised.
"But now Graham's on-board we'll have a chat and see what his thoughts are."
Arnold confirmed today that younger Sydney FC players Hagi Gligor, Rhyan Grant and Terry Antonis were likely to play a big part of his plans.
As for captain, Sasa Ognenovski appeared in the photo call with Arnold on the Allianz Stadium pitch, fuelling speculation the powerful defender would be given the armband under Arnold.
Retiring club great Terry McFlynn is also set to play a part in Arnold's backroom staff though the exact role is still unclear.
Arnold will sit down with the Sydney FC coaching staff on Monday and will make his decisions on the team around him after these discussions.
Sydney has already parted ways with fitness coach Anthony Crea, fuelling speculation Andrew Clarke will join Sydney FC.
Clarke left J-League club Vegalta Sendai in April after Arnold himself departed following a winless six game start to the Japanese season.
The pair previously worked together at Central Coast where they won the championship 2012-13.1 comment