BERNIE Ibini’s lucrative transfer to ambitious Chinese Super League (CSL) newcomers Shanghai SIPG is complete, with the 20-year-old attacker inking a three-year contract in China this morning.
BERNIE Ibini-s lucrative transfer to ambitious Chinese Super League (CSL) newcomers Shanghai SIPG is complete, with the 20-year-old attacker inking a three-year contract in China this morning.
Following the finalisation of his deal with the men from the 65,000 capacity Shanghai Stadium, Ibini said he has felt at ease at his new Club since he arrived in the middle kingdom to undertake his successful medical on Sunday.
“Shanghai SIPG have made me feel very welcome,” Ibini said.
“I feel this is a great opportunity and a new chapter for myself. While it is not the move to Europe everyone was expecting, I think Australians have seen through the Asian Champions League that the Chinese Super League is of a strong standard.”
“I think it is a little step up and maybe I have to reach my goals in a bit of a different way. That-s a challenge I-m up for. Shanghai SIPG understand that I have ambitions to get to Europe and will help me in the best way they can to reach that goal, just as the Mariners did.”
Ibini-s progression while under the guidance of Graham Arnold and his staff at Central Coast was impressive, with the youngster advancing through the Club-s National Youth League structure before penning his first professional contract with the reigning Australian Champions.
Indeed, Ibini scored 15 goals in 74 first team appearances while at the Mariners, finishing as equal top scorer for the team in the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League campaign.
The former Qantas Young Socceroos representative also played in two Hyundai A-League Grand Finals, winning one, and was nominated twice for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award during his stay with the Club.
Central Coast Mariners Group General Manager, Mr Peter Turnbull, said: “Our system continues to unearth and hone the best young Australian talent and Bernie Ibini is a great example of this. Like Mathew Ryan, Bernie progressed through our youth league system before starring in the first team.”
“We hope Bernie Ibini goes on to achieve all of his ambitions and makes the most of his undoubted ability."
Ibini-s first chance to impress his new fans may come on Saturday 22 June in Shanghai, when the 2012 China League One winners play Wuhan Zall at home.