Boost for Corica as Sydney FC bag Gucci
SYDNEY FC's hunt for a new striker has been rewarded with the signature of Iranian goalscorer Reza Ghoochannejhad on loan for the rest of the season.
The 31-year-old is expected to arrive in Sydney on Thursday, after the loan deal was agreed with his Cypriot club, APOEL, and could be in line to make his debut against Melbourne City on Sunday.
Ghoochannejhad brings a goal-scoring pedigree to the Sky Blues, having recorded 17 goals in 44 games for Iran, including scoring against Bosnia at the 2014 World Cup.
Sydney tried to sign him in the off-season as a marquee but his wage demands then were too high, and he joined APOEL instead. But limited game time has frustrated Ghoochannejhad - nicknamed Gucci - and he has been keen to finalise a loan deal to join the A-League Premiers.
His signing will be a significant boost for Sydney in both the A-League and the Asian Champions League, allowing them four visa players in the ACL squad under the "3+1" rule where the fourth player must have an Asian background.
"I'm excited to be joining Sydney FC and looking forward to the challenge of the A-League and Champions League," Ghoochannejhad said in a club statement.
"To be joining Australia's most successful club is a fantastic move for me, and to test myself against the best in Australia and Asia will be an unbelievable experience.
"Sydney FC's record in recent times is phenomenal and they have some fantastic players. I can't wait to link up with my new teammates, help them add to their success and bring more trophies to the club."
Ghoochannejhad was born in Iran but emigrated with his family to Holland aged four, and came through the youth system at Dutch side SC Heerenveen before stints with other sides in Holland, the Middle East and Charlton Athletic in England.
Before joining APOEL he returned to Heerenveen for a productive two-year spell in which he scored 32 goals in 75 league and cup games.
The addition to Sydney's squad is timely, with Siem de Jong likely to be out for at least another fortnight due to bruising on the knee, and with captain Alex Brosque nursing an ankle problem.
It also gives Ghoochannejhad more than five weeks to settle in to his new club before the ACL campaign kicks off, and comes with Sydney having dropped to third place on the A-League ladder after Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory.
His availability against City on Sunday comes subject to paperwork being ratified by authorities in Australia and Cyprus and his international transfer certificate arriving in time, with the FIFA transfer window for incoming A-League deals closing on Thursday.