Sydney FC lure young Aussie midfielder home

Injury-depleted Sydney FC have continued to strengthen their line-up ahead of the resumption of the A-League season, signing Australian left-sided midfielder Robert Stambolziev.

Stambolziev, 24, who spent the past eight years of his career playing in Europe, comes in as an injury replacement for Young Socceroo Corey Gameiro until the end of the season.

The signing is coach Graham Arnold’s third of the month following deals to bring Senegalese internationals Mickael Tavares and Jacques Faty to the club.

The Melbourne-born winger began his career abroad in the youth team at English club Bristol City before moving to Greek giants Panathinaikos in 2009.

He then spent several years in the Greek lower leagues before joining newly promoted Greek Super League outfit Niki Volos in 2014 where he made six appearances.

“It’s fantastic to be coming home to Australia and signing for the Hyundai A-League’s most prominent club,” Stambolziev said.

“I’ve been here for a short time on trial and I’ve been able to see the huge amount of quality in this squad.  

"I know Graham Arnold has a reputation as a great coach and the club has a family feel and good culture among the players.

“I can see it is really geared for success and I’m hoping I can be a part of that.  Being an Australian I already know the passion of the Sky Blues supporters and it will be an honour to represent them.”

Arnold believes he has seen enough of the former youth international to know he will offer the squad something extra this season.

“It’s great to be able to bring in an attacking Australian player who will add depth to our attacking line up,” Arnold said.

“He’s got pace and can play out wide as well and has had good experience playing in England, Greece and Cyprus over the last eight years.”

Stambolziev represented Australia at U-20 level but recently was reported to have declared allegiance to Macedonia.

PHOTO: Sydney FC