Why the A-League and the Phoenix, when English Championship clubs were on the prowl?
For new Phoenix signing Alejandro Gorrin, the answer is simple.
He felt wanted.
"They were really interested in me and they convinced me it's a really good league," said the 20-year-old Spaniard, who arrived in Wellington yesterday.
"So I wanted to join them. I had other offers on the table but I was just excited about the league and everything around it. Everyone was really welcoming to me when I spoke to them. They were very keen to have me here so that's why I chose them."
The central midfielder captained Sunderland's under-20 team but was released by the English Premier League club at the end of the 2013-14 season.
He was recommended by Sunderland youth coach Robbie Stockdale, a former team-mate of Phoenix assistant coach Chris Greenacre.
Gorrin speaks good English and his Spanish accent has a curious touch of Sunderland ‘Mackem' to it.
He has done plenty of research on both New Zealand and the A-League.
"I have watched a few documentaries about it and I read some stuff on the internet. Everything says it's brilliant, says the people are nice and the place is lovely. I've watched a lot of videos. It's a really technical league, a really fast league and it's a good league."
Pre-season training starts on Monday and there is a lot of expectation resting on Gorrin's young shoulders.
He will pair up with another Spaniard, Albert Riera, in midfield and coach Ernie Merrick has described him as "technically very good, has a good engine and is good at winning the ball, passing and retaining it".
"I want to be an important player on the team. I want to put a lot of hard work into it, to become that player . . . [I'm] technical and off the ball I work hard and try to get the ball back as soon as I can. I like to shoot. If you shoot you are a chance," Gorrin said.
Gorrin has signed a two-year contract with the Phoenix, who are seeking to rebound from a disappointing ninth placing in Merrick's first season.
The Tenerife product had been with Sunderland since 2011 and being cut was a painful experience.
"Yeah it was hard. It was a good time at Sunderland. They have a brilliant academy and I learnt a lot football-wise, but it was a shame I didn't get closer to the first team. I had a few injuries as well and that didn't help."
The Phoenix have 18 players on the books and can sign up to 23.
Merrick has one import slot left to fill and is seeking to recruit a high quality striker and midfield playmaker.
With Stein Huysegems, Carlos Hernandez and Paul Ifill off the books, the Phoenix have some serious cash to splash.
It is believed they have put a substantial offer to Wellington-born All Whites midfielder Michael McGlinchey, who has been loaned out to Japan's Vegalta Sendai from the Central Coast Mariners.
- The Dominion Post
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