Michael McGlinchey is headed to Vegalta Sendai for the 2014 J-League season and Bernie Ibini is coming back to Central Coast Mariners from Shanghai SIPG through the end of May. The details of the suspected dual deals were confirmed on Monday by the Mariners in a club press release.
Graham Arnold got his man with McGlinchey moving to Japan, reuniting the pair that won so many honors at the Mariners. The New Zealand international will play two more games with Central Coast before departing for Sendai's pre-season. Phil Moss, Arnold's successor in Gosford, made certain that he would get Ibini back before giving the go-ahead on McGlinchey's loan. With the Mariners only in a finals position thanks to a three-point cushion over Perth Glory at the moment, and after failing to score in two of the past three games, Moss could not afford to have a key part of his squad depart without something in return.
Ibini will not be available to play until January 12 when the Mariners go to Westpac Stadium to play Wellington Phoenix, which is the week after McGlinchey's final round with the club. Unlike McGlinchey, however, Ibini is only initially scheduled to be with the Mariners through May 31, 2014. That date is more than a month after the season ends in Australia and more than two months after the 2014 Chinese Super League season begins. Ibini is said to be frustrated in China and missing home, so perhaps this loan move will facilitate a more permanent move back to Australia, but for now, Central Coast will want to get the most out of his brief return to the A-League.