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Griffiths back to lead attack for Sky Blues

TURNS out Alessandro Del Piero couldn't do it all on his own - which is why Sydney FC have moved to bring in gun striker Joel Griffiths in the January transfer window.

After four years in China, Griffiths has signed a deal with the Sky Blues until the end of the season. His wages will be included in the salary cap and he has the option to extend the deal for a further year if his stint is a success.

The departure of Dimitri Petratos to Malaysia freed up a position for a new striker, meaning Griffiths - previously a marquee player with Newcastle - will be able to move straight in after his contract with Shanghai Shenhua expires.

A media conference on Friday will formally announce Griffiths's arrival but his twin brother Adam confirmed the speculation on Thursday, posting a picture on Twitter with ''SFC'' emblazoned in sunscreen across his brother's chest at Balmoral Beach. The tweet has since been removed.

Griffiths told The World Game website he had ''made a decision, and I am excited about playing in the A-League again''.

''I am not sure how it will unfold because you never know in football,'' he said. ''I could be here six months or three years. My wife is expecting our second child in May, and this is a good time to come home to test myself again.''


Despite coming in mid-season, Griffiths said he could make a strong impact this campaign. ''There were also offers in China but I feel I'm coming back into the competition at a great time because it's thriving right now,'' he said.

Sydney coach Frank Farina has signalled his intention to attack the transfer window ''with a sledgehammer'', and with Griffiths secured, he'll turn his attention to bolstering his defensive stocks, specifically a new centre-half. That means several players could be on the way out. Croatian import Kruno Lovrek is one who will be allowed to go - if he finds a new club - after failing to make an impact early in the season and struggling with injury since.

Griffiths, 33, has been linked with a move to the Sky Blues and Western Sydney in recent months but only since the end of the Chinese Super League season have talks been able to progress further.

Despite having played just three times for the national team, Griffiths is regarded as one of the nation's most explosive strikers, a reputation cemented by his dynamic spell with the Jets. He netted 28 goals in 60 appearances for the Hunter club and played a key role in leading the side to the 2007-08 A-League title.

Griffiths was keen on a move back to the Jets, where his younger brother Ryan plays. But as no offer from Newcastle materialised, and with Emile Heskey taking up a big chunk of the club's wage bill, the former Sydney United junior plumped for Sydney FC - the club his twin brother joined in the pre-season.

Griffiths scored six goals for Shanghai this season, second behind only Didier Drogba but ahead of Nicolas Anelka, both big-money signings from Chelsea for the club.