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Ibini reunites with Sydney FC on loan deal

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/07/2016 Emma Kemp

Sydney FC have scored a major A-League coup, securing the return of winger Bernie Ibini on a season-long loan.

Ibini left last year to join reigning Belgian Pro League champions Club Brugge on a three-year deal, only to break his leg badly in his first training session and miss the season.

Now, the 23-year-old two-time Socceroo will be back in Sky Blue for the first time since playing a key part in Sydney's run to the 2014-15 grand final.

Ibini, set to reunite with teammates on Friday, said he'd be fit to start playing in round one.

"I played some of the best football of my career the last time I was here," Ibini said.

"We had a great run.

"There's no reason why we can't repeat that with the quality in our squad this year."

Nigerian-born Ibini was a strong attacking outlet for Graham Arnold's side with seven goals from 28 A-League games, the sort of contribution that will be highly welcome following a goal-shy 2015-16 campaign devoid of finals action.

"I think everyone is well aware of what a great talent Bernie Ibini is and how highly I rate him," Arnold said.

"He is quick, has a great football brain and plays quality attacking football.

"He's also has a fearsome shot, and I know opposition defences don't enjoy playing against him."

Ibini joins the day after striker Matt Simon's re-signing for a further year, and is the latest arrival in Arnold's off-season rebuild.

Twelve players have departed to make way for new blood.

On board so far are former Melbourne City defenders Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo, ex-Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and fringe Socceroos midfielder Josh Brillante.

The club might still be on the lookout for a proven out-and-out striker.

Arnold said the team were looking strong.

"With a couple more signings, we'll be in a very good position come round one," he said.

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