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Transfer Profile: Bernie Ibini

In what has been a busy off season, Jeonbuk Hyundai added even more depth to their attacking talent with 26-year-old Australian Bernie Ibini making the move to Korea. To get a better idea of the target man, we spoke with Football Nation Radio's Athos Sirianos about Ibini's time in the A-League and what K Leauge fans can expect this season. 


How was he viewed at Sydney FC? League wide?

Bernie Ibini caught the eye of Australian football fans when at 17 he won the National Youth League Golden boot for the Central Coast Mariners. He would make his debut for the Mariners First Team soon after and quickly became a fan favourite, and one of the league’s most exciting players.

After an impressive showing for the Mariners, in the Asian Champions League, he was signed by Chinese Super League team Shanghai SIPG and became one of the most expensive Under 21 players in Asia.

Ibini’s time in China was short-lived as he returned to Australia following the death of his father and was loaned back to the Mariners.

But it was during his time in Sydney when Ibini showed the league what he was capable of. He scored seven goals in the 2014/15 season and became one Sydney’s most dangerous attacking players.

Strongest aspects of his game?

Ibini’s speed makes him an exciting player to watch and a nightmare to defend against. Given his height, he provides an awkward match-up for defenders who do not always anticipate how versatile he can be.

He has good aerial abilities and has a good eye for goal, making him a well-rounded player.

Weaknesses?

While Ibini has always had the qualities to play at a high standard, his potential has never fully been realised, having experienced several interruptions throughout his career.  One of the flaws to Ibini’s game over the years has been his defensive contribution, which is significant if he is to be utilised out-wide.
 
Reason for leaving?

After making a name for himself in the A-League, Ibini has been an active player in the transfer market having had stints in Canada, China and the UAE. The 26 year-old only managed seven games at UAE side Emirates Club and he has now made the move to South Korea in the hope of a fresh start and to settle after so many moves.


Where do you think he would be best utilized with Jeonbuk?

While Ibini has the size and strength to play as a striker, he is also a capable winger and enjoys putting crosses into the box and scoring from distance. Ibini has also been known to be an impact player, meaning he could fill a need off the bench late in games.

What should K League fans expect from him?

K League fans can expect a fast and exciting player who can shoot from distance, and provide magic in times of need. Ibini has been known for stepping up in big games. He was often Sydney FC’s secret weapon off the bench and very rarely let the team down.

Best moment in A-League?

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