Wanderers sign Spanish marquee striker

By , Vince Rugari is a Roar Guru

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    Western Sydney have signed La Liga striker Oriol Riera on a two-season A-League marquee contract.

    Riera joins from Spanish top-flight side Deportivo de La Coruna after spending last season on loan at Osasuna, scoring four goals including one against Real Madrid.

    The 31-year-old Riera has also had stints with Wigan Athletic in the English Championship, where he netted just one goal in 13 appearances, as well as Alcorcon, Celta Vigo and Cordoba.

    The Catalonia-born attacker came through Barca’s famed La Masia youth academy along with the likes of Lionel Messi, Gerrard Pique and Cesc Fabregas.

    Riera is described by the Wanderers as a striker with a strong physical presence, who is good in the air and at finishing off chances, despite a career goalscoring record of roughly one goal every five games.

    “We are very excited to have a player of Oriol’s calibre join us for the next two seasons,” Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said.

    “Oriol has an exceptional pedigree and will no doubt enhance our playing strength and provides us with a great platform to be serious contenders at the business end of the season.”

    Riera is due to land in Sydney this week and will join teammates for pre-season training ahead of their friendly clash with Arsenal on July 15.

    The Wanderers have been searching for a dependable man to lead their attack for years, having relied on veteran Brendon Santalab last season after the release of Kerem Bulut.

    Their last attempt at signing a marquee striker did not end well, with Italian Federico Piovaccari scoring just twice in 12 games before he was frozen out of first-team action in the 2015-16 season.

    Riera’s signing leaves Western Sydney with room for only one more import player, although they do have another marquee slot available.

    In addition to Riera, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has added midfielder Roly Bonevacia and defender Michael Thwaite to his squad in the off-season.

    © AAP 2017

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