Official: Phoenix search ends with Belgian striker Huysegems

The 30-year-old has clinched a move to Wellington, having spent time at the likes of Feyenoord, AZ Alkmaar and Genk earlier in his career Indonesia   By EMMA STONEY

Wellington Phoenix's search for an international striker is over following the signing of Belgian international Stein Huysegems.

The 30-year-old, who has played in the top divisions in the Netherlands and Belgium, has signed a two-year deal at the A-League club.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was delighted with the signing of Huysegems, who remains without an international goal despite earning 15 caps.

"We searched long and hard to find someone who fitted the criteria of the club and I'm delighted we were able to get the deal over the line," Herbert said.

"Like most A-League clubs, we aren't in a position to lure the likes of [Alessandro] Del Piero, but when you look at Stein's background in the Dutch and Belgian first divisions, along with his 15 international caps, I think we've signed a player whose experience and ability to score goals will add a lot to the team.

"You don't play for clubs such as Feyenoord, AZ and FC Twente unless you have ability.

"Stein had other opportunities in Europe so it is really pleasing that he chose to come to Wellington with his family.

"I feel he will fit in here perfectly. At 6"1' he has a good presence and will add a different dimension to the side.

"His European experience, playing against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City, will also stand him in good stead in the A-League."

Huysegems said he had spoken to Melbourne Victory star Archie Thompson - a former team-mate at Belgian club Lierse - before making the decision to head to New Zealand.

"It wasn't a hard choice to come to Wellington and the A-League," he said.

"I've heard good things about the A-League and contacted Archie Thompson who I played with for Lierse in Belgium.

"Archie said if I had the chance to join Wellington to take it. I've read good things about Wellington on the internet and my first impressions are good."

Huysegems met his new team-mates for the first time on Friday and could get his first run out in a friendly match against a local Wellington side early next week.

The Phoenix have their final pre-season match against Western Sydney Wanderers in Christchurch on September 23 before they kick off their A-League campaign against Sydney FC in Wellington on October 6.

Goal Australia now has its own and account, so for all the latest news and features on Australian football follow us by clicking on the above links