Wellington Phoenix have received an important boost to their attacking stocks with English striker Gary Hooper returning to the A-League club on a two-year deal.
The 33-year-old returns after a short stint in the Indian Premier League, where he scored five goals for Kerala Blasters.
Hooper was excellent in his previous stint at Wellington in 2019-20, scoring eight goals in 21 games to help the Phoenix finish third.
The forward's return is a timely one, given captain and playmaker Ulises Davila is joining Macarthur FC next season while Israeli striker Tomer Hemed's future is unclear.
"I'm really happy to be fair, signing a two-year deal and being back with the same staff, same manager and a lot of the same players - and my family and I really like living in Wellington as well," Hooper said.
"We had a good season when I was there last, but obviously COVID messed that up a bit."
Hooper will complete his mandatory quarantine period then link up with the Phoenix in July.
He said he was looking forward to completing a full pre-season at Wellington and hitting the ground running - after he was a late addition for his first spell with the Phoenix and took several weeks to get up to speed.
"Hoops was great for us last time he was here, he's an imposing and influential player - and a solid option for us up front with his goal-scoring ability," coach Ufuk Talay said.
"And last time he joined us after the season had started, so the prospect of having him here for both the pre-season and the next two full seasons is an exciting one."
Australian Associated Press