Phoenix sign another striker

The Wellington Phoenix have completed the signing of Chinese Under-23 striker Jiang Chen on a season-long loan deal.

The Wellington Phoenix have completed the signing of Chinese Under-23 striker Jiang Chen on a season-long loan deal.

Chen trialled with the Hyundai A-League side during the Phoenix's recent pre-season trip to China and his signature takes the squad to 20 players ahead of their first match of the new season away to Newcastle Jets on Sunday.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said that while securing the signature of the talented young striker on loan from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda had taken longer than expected, the club was thrilled to have the 23-year-old onboard.

"Jiang trained and trialled with us during our two-match tour of China and (head coach) Ricki Herbert was impressed with what he saw, so we're very pleased to have him with us on loan till the end of the season."

Standing at 1.80m and 72kg, Chen joins Kiwi young gun Costa Barbarouses and Britons Paul Ifill and Chris Greenacre as strike options for the Phoenix in 2009/10.

"He's a front runner and we wanted to bring another striker to the club," said coach Ricki Herbert.

"He's got pace and I think given three or four weeks he could be somebody that can not only come off the bench but also threaten the two that we have there. It's important from the depth point of view."

Pignata said the Phoenix had made the decision not to sign the optimum number of 23 players due to issues around the club's lack of a youth or development team.

"Without a youth team a squad of 20 is probably manageable for now given that the non-playing members of the squad wouldn't be able to get that additional game-time anyway."

"It also leaves us some scope down the track in the event we need to bolster any particular aspects of the squad."

"As it stands we're happy with the balance of the squad and we're looking forward to getting the season under way."