With the World Cup Finals just months away this year, there were few surprises when Socceroo Apostolos Giannou departed Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R & F in search of more game time. But surprisingly, after strong interest from A-League club Central Coast Mariners, Giannou has opted to return to Europe rather than head down under.

The 28 year old striker has signed a two and a half year deal with Cypriot club AEK Larnaka announced on the weekend.

After struggling to secure a regular spot in Guangzhou’s first team line up last season, when he made seven appearances for two goals, Giannou hopes the move to the AEK Larnaka will bring success to both himself and the club. AEK currently lie fourth on the Cypriot first division table.

Speaking on the Cypriot club’s website, Giannou commented, “I want to thank the family of AEK who gave me the opportunity to come here.”

“AEK is a very organised club, so I decided to come. It is a team that has challenged for the championship in recent years and that’s why I have come to win the championship.

“My goal is to always look higher and with this reason I have come to a team that challenges for the championship to help them as much as I can.

“I had other options, but I thought the best option was to come to AEK, having talked with the team’s management about their ambition.”