Sydney FC confirm interest in Bernie Ibini

Sydney FC has confirmed that Mariners striker Bernie Ibini is on their radar for next season under new coach Graham Arnold.

Sydney FC has confirmed that Mariners 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 Dongya.

Ibini left the Chinese club late last season to return to the A-League on loan at the Mariners where he scored some key goals for Phil Moss-s side.

Pignata said he-d spoken with the striker-s agent and the Sky Blues are clearly keen on the Nigerian-born 21-year-old excitement machine 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 back-room staff though the exact role is still unclear.

Arnold will sit down with Sydney FC backroom 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 in season eight of the A-League.