The Wellington Phoenix have signed Costa Rican playmaker Carlos Hernandez on a two-year contract to deliver the loudest message yet of their future attacking intent.
Hernandez, 30, was a highly influential midfielder in five seasons at the Melbourne Victory and has stated he wanted to return to the A-League when a one-year contract at Indian I-League club Prayag United ended in June.
He will come to Wellington then, having completed negotiations this week with delighted Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert.
"I've always had a good relationship with Carlos and from the first call I made to him our talks were positive," Herbert said.
"Getting Carlos to Wellington is a massive signing for the Phoenix because everyone has seen the impact he made in the A-League.
"He is an exciting player who can make things very difficult for the opposition and is a dead ball specialist."
Hernandez has played 35 times for his country, including at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
He joined Melbourne Victory, initially as a loan player, from Costa Rica club LD Alajuelense in 2007 and made an immediate impact.
He scored 40 goals in 138 games for the victory and won the Johnny Warren Medal for best player in the A-League in 2009-10, operating at the heart of their attractive style.
His creative talents will be welcomed by a Phoenix club who have voiced a desire this year to change to employ a more attacking style of play.
"It was important that when a player of Carlos' ability became available that the club should try and get him here," Herbert said.
"It signals the direction the club is taking and Carlos fits perfect with our strategy."
"The fact that he has been A-League player of the year says it all as that is voted on by his peers."