Sydney FC have officially unveiled new signing Joel Griffiths while Newcastle Jets confirmed they failed to secure his services.
Griffiths spent four seasons at the Jets before moving to Beijing Guoan in 2010 with the 33-year-old last playing for Shanghai Shenhua alongside former Chelsea stars Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
The former Socceroo, who won the Johnny Warren Medal in 2007/08, will make his A-League return after the transfer window opens on January 14 and Griffiths is excited to be returning to his home city after feeling the time was right to come back to Australia.
“I’m really happy to be joining Sydney FC and can’t wait to get into training with the team and then start playing games,” he said at a press conference on Friday.
“Sydney is my home, Sydney FC is a great club and has tremendous training facilities and I’m looking forward to playing in the A-League again.”
“I spent four years in China and really enjoyed the experience and the football.
“But the time was right for me to come back to Australia and I’m happy I’ve got the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends.”
Sydney FC coach Frank Farina was thrilled with the signing and hopes Griffiths can help resurrect Sydney’s flailing season which sees them bottom of the A-League table after 10 games.
“Joel is a quality player, a proven goal scorer and it’s great that we have signed him to play with Sydney FC,” Farina said.
“He has pace, he knows how to finish and he’ll be a tremendous addition to the squad.”
Meanwhile, the Jets were left empty handed from their pursuit of their former captain.
Jets CEO Robbie Middleby revealed his side had held discussions with Griffiths but could not persuade him to return to the Hunter Valley.
“We had been in discussions with Joel and his management since he signalled an intention to return to the A-League,” Middleby said.
“We respect his decision to sign with Sydney FC and wish him all the best for the future.”