Durante signs on for Sydney FC's ACL tilt
Sydney FC's last-minute Asian Champions League recruitment drive has continued with the frantic signing of Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante.
Sydney must finalise their squad for the campaign by late Tuesday, and the Sky Blues captured defender Durante on Monday afternoon just hours after approaching him.
With the blessing of his A-League club, Durante will commence training with Sydney on Wednesday ahead of next week's opening clash against Suwon Bluewings and will return to Wellington prior to the next A-League season.
Durante joins North Queensland Fury striker David Williams as short term signings for the ACL campaign, while the club is also believed to be closing in on Perth's Jamie Coyne.
The future of midfielder Stuart Musialik is yet to be decided with coach Vitezslav Lavicka to make a call on whether to extend his contract beyond March on Tuesday.
The capture of the experienced Durante is a boost for Sydney's defensive stocks which suffered this A-League season for the loss of Simon Colosimo to Melbourne Heart.
Durante led the Newcastle Jets to the 2006/07 A-League championship but did not get to compete in the ensuing ACL campaign because he signed with Wellington.
"To get a second chance is amazing," Durante said.
"I only heard about the possibility of me joining them at lunch time and the deal had to be done today if I was to be eligible.
"Obviously I was keen to go because it will be a fantastic experience.
"... I think Sydney could go well in the competition because they have been playing well in the last few weeks and have signed a couple of players."
Lavicka said Durante would add versatility and depth to his squad.
"His experience is also very important for the team," Lavicka said.
"We have many young players and he will be able to use his experience to benefit us both on and off the pitch.
"I am very happy with Andrew and David coming to us and I think we can add more players tomorrow. We will see."
Sydney's recruitment drive has been hit-and-miss so far after missing out on the likes of Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Newcastle Jets), Jade North (Wellington) and Paul Reid (Adelaide).