Josh Brillante has sealed his A-League homecoming, signing a three-year deal with Sydney FC.
The 23-year-old fringe Socceroo returns two years after leaving Newcastle for Serie A side Fiorentina, for whom he made two appearances before being loaned out to fellow Serie A outfit Empoli.
He spent the past season on loan at Serie B club Como.
Brillante, a central midfielder who can also play right-back, was a star during his two years at the Jets, so much so that Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou included him in his extended squad before the 2014 World Cup.
But he endured a turbulent spell in Italy, being picked for a shock starting debut against Roma just weeks after arriving, before giving away possession and being substituted after 35 minutes.
Now, the Bundaberg-born Queensland Academy of Sport product is looking for stability and regular first-team football.
“The lure of working under Graham Arnold was a huge drawcard,” Brillante said.
Arnold believed Brillante’s experience abroad had made him a more-mature player, and someone who could help the Sky Blues’ quest to become competitive again in the 2016-17 season.
“Josh is a great acquisition for the club, being a versatile player, and he’s had experience playing for our national teams and Socceroos,” Arnold said.
“As a 23-year-old, he’s young and hungry.
“And he’s taken a brave step coming back to the A-League – that’s the type of player we want at Sydney FC.”
Brillante’s is Sydney’s third off-season signing along with former Melbourne City defenders Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo.
It comes as Shane Smeltz bids farewell to the club, with Malaysian Super League side Kedah announcing they’ve signed the 34-year-old striker.
Smeltz, the A-League’s second-highest scorer with 83 goals, was mainly used as a substitute during his two-year stint with Sydney.
© 2016 The Roar | This article was written by Emma Kemp and appeared on the A-League website on 13th July, 2016