Ibini close to Shanghai switch

30 May 2013 06:55:16 EST

Central Coast Mariners striker Bernie Ibini is moving to China after agreeing to a one-year deal with Shanghai SIPG. 

The Mariners said a deal was yet to be finalised between their player and the Chinese side but it was also reported that Ibini will leave for Shanghai for his medical. 

Ibini has wanted to play abroad for a long time and had a trial with the Club Brugge of Belgium in January this year. While there were talks of the Belgian club showing interested in Ibini, it looks like Shanghai are now the front-runners to sign him up.

Shanghai haven’t had the best of starts to their season and have lost six of their first 11 games. They were promoted to China’s top division last season but are facing the possibility of relegation now. 

Former Chinese national coach Gao Hongbo is Shanghai’s manager and isn’t averse to splurging on players to get the necessary results. 

Ibini joins a list of Mariners’ players who have left the club in recent times - and in turn, raked in the cash for the club - with likes of Matt Simon and Alex Wilkinson joining Korean clubs and Rostyn Griffiths leaving for China.

Apart from them, Mustafa Amini (Borussia Monchengladbach), Tom Rogic (Celtic) and Mat Ryan (Brugge), have joined European clubs. And with Pedj Bojic signing up with Sydney FC and Patrick Zwaanswijk retiring from the game, the Mariners will need to bolster their line-up for next season.

The 2013-14 season of the A-League begins on 11th October this year and will see Sydney FC take on Newcastle Jets in the opener.

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