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Sydney FC sign ex-Wanderers playmaker Alexander Baumjohann to make derby statement

03:32 GMT+3 02/07/2019
Alexander Baumjohann Western Sydney Wanderers
The Sky Blues have again looked to their arch-rivals to build their squad for a back-to-back championship tilt

Sydney FC have fired the first shot at derby rivals Western Sydney after the signing of ex-Wanderer Alexander Baumjohann on a two-year deal.

The A-League champions made the announcement of the 32-year-old's capture on Tuesday morning, in a move that is sure to spark tension in next season's Sydney derbies.

Baumjohann impressed in his first A-League season after being brought Down Under to the red and black by Markus Babbel, scoring three goals and getting three assists in 20 appearances.

"I’m very excited and very happy to sign for such a big club like Sydney FC," the German playmaker said via a club statement.

"I came to Australia last year not knowing a lot about Australian football. However, it didn’t take me long to see that Sydney FC is the biggest club in the country by far and in all aspects of the game.

"Sydney FC’s style of football fits well with my ability and I can see there are a lot of good quality players here as well.

"I believe we will continue with the same success as the club has had in recent years this season."

It's the second high-profile signing the Sky Blues have constructed in spite of their rivals, following the capture of Melbourne Victory striker Kosta Barbarouses last month.

Baumjohann started last season on fire for the Wanderers but faded in the second half of the year due to fitness issues and question marks on his defensive work rate.

He had been linked with moves to China, Japan and the Middle East, but settled on a stay in a league he has proven himself in - a fact that excites Sky Blues coach Steve Corica.

"Alex is a fantastic player of proven A-League quality and we have all witnessed just how influential he can be on the field," Corica said.

"I know he is keen to show everyone he can produce even more and he believes Sydney FC is the best environment for him to do that.

"With Le Fondre, Barbarouses, Buhagiar and Ivanovic we have an enormous amount of pace up front; and to have a player like Alex sitting behind them pulling the strings, alongside others, is extremely exciting."

The announcement comes 12 hours after Perth Glory announced the defection of Sydney FC defender Jacob Tratt to the west.

Sydney FC will begin training in the next few days as they prepare for the friendly match against European powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain in China on July 30 and their FFA Cup campaign.