Brilliant way Sydney FC signing fast-tracked his own transfer: ‘I can’t accept that!’

WATCH: Sydney FC new recruit Anas Ouahim's first press conference.

Nurtured in the Bundesliga and experienced in the Eredivisie, Anas Ouahim brings a wealth of European football experience to Sydney FC. The new recruit talks to about his reasons for moving Down Under and explains why defenders will be in for a tough time facing him.

Very few transfers in the modern era actually require players to go above and beyond in order to get their respective deals over the line

Sure, a last-minute swoop on deadline day might require a player to dash to their nearest medical facility in order to undergo testing before a contract can be signed, but usually it’s the clubs and agents who do the donkey work.

This certainly wasn’t the case though for new Sydney FC signing Anas Ouahim.

“When I decided that I wanted to do it, and that was pretty fast, there were a lot of things to do,” laughed Ouahim, detailing exactly what was required in order for him to seal his move to Sydney FC.

FRENCH CONNECTION: 10-time French champions lure Wellington Phoenix star Ben Old to Ligue 1

“I needed a visa, I needed some documents to come here and in Germany they are very slow at the government and these kinds of things are very, very slow.

“They told me it’s going to take one to four weeks – I said no, I can’t accept that. I want to be (there) earlier, so I drove some hours to make it happen!”

In actual fact, the Sky Blues’ new number eight drove roughly three hours in order to sit in line and get his documentation processed, so he could link-up with his new teammates ahead of time – not a bad effort given Germany is currently awash with football fans and tourists as it continues to host EURO 2024.

It’s that type of dedication and work ethic that, in part, attracted Sydney FC to the 26-year-old German playmaker, who himself says that type of attitude was instilled in him by his father.

“When I was young my father was my coach in a small team. I had some offers when I was very young, but my father said, no, no, you’re going to stay with me and I’m going to train you,” he explained.

“My father was also a good footballer. He was playing a lot and training with the professionals in Morocco, but back then they didn’t earn a lot of money, the professional in Morocco at the same time was driving a bus. There they were heroes but they didn’t earn a lot of money.

FOND FAREWELL: Johnny Warren Medallist Josh Nisbet leaves Mariners for opportunity abroad

“He wanted to give us a better future and he wanted to earn money for his kids so that’s why he went to Germany. He wanted to make his dream (of playing football) happen via me. That’s why he was my coach.”

Born and raised on the doorstep of German giants FC Köln, a young Ouahim would eventually progress through the academy system at the club before joining the first team squad.

Supremely confident in his own abilities, the talented playmaker was soon cut down to size by the club’s senior pros.

“In my first years in professional football (FC Köln had) Claudio Pizzaro, a very good striker from Peru who played for Bayern Munich and Chelsea. (He) had Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho as coaches so I learned a lot from him.

“It was maybe my second training at FC Köln and I was very young, I think 19 or 20 and Claudio Pizarro was there, a very respected guy. One duel, I came a little bit too late and I stamped on his foot – he couldn’t go on because he had so much pain so he had to go out.

BIG INTERVIEW: Brimmer aims to emulate A-Leagues icon in bid to recapture career-best form

“I was very scared that I injured him, one of the most important players. When I went to him and said sorry, you could see that I was very scared that he was injured.

“He grabbed my face and said come here. ‘You should never be scared to injure me because I already have the place here and you’re still fighting to get here!’

“I will never forget this because you can see what kind of character this guy has and most importantly, the players that are on a top level have the right mindset. You should always give everything, never be scared of anything. You should fight for your place and give all you have and that’s the only possibility how you will reach your goals.”

Seemingly willing to fight for both his goals and first team football, the German-born Moroccan youth international opted to leave his hometown in search of a new place to play.

Stints in the German second and third tiers soon followed as he represented the likes of VfL Osnabrück, SV Sandhausen and FC Kaiserslautern but Ouahim eventually found his footing in the Dutch Eredivisie with Hercales Almelo – a league and club that suited the number 10’s way of playing.

“I was always a technical player and even when I went there, I was one of the best in my technical abilities.

“But still, it is way harder to press, for example, a team that is technically very good because obviously they will just have another idea or they can just play a good pass and you can’t press anymore.

“So that was a step up to me – pressing to get the ball from them. But it also made me a better player because I had to be better defensively to get the ball from people that are really, really good on the ball.”

It’s those qualities – Ouahim’s ability to not only resist the press but actively and repeatedly harass and hassle opposition defenders into coughing up possession – that prompted Sydney FC head coach Ufuk Talay to snap up the creative midfielder.

That said, the Sky Blues still faced competition in order to get the deal done.

Ouahim featured 18-times for Heracles Almelo in last season’s Eredivisie before joining Moldovan side FC Sheriff Tiraspol on loan and he had no shortage of interest from clubs looking to acquire his signature.

So what – or rather who – was it that persuaded him to move to the Isuzu UTE A-League?

“Well I have to be honest, (it was) the meeting with Alex., said the 26-year-old, referring to former Sydney FC Championship winning midfielder Alex Baumjohan, who now operates as the Sky Blues’ Head of Player Management.

“When he explained to me how the club works, how I can adapt, how they will help me to adapt. Then when I spoke to the head coach, he explained to me what qualities I have, how he can make me a better player, win games, win trophies but also to give me the best feeling to show my abilities.

“To give me the trust… I think this was the biggest reason to come here. I’m very confident in my abilities, but I know that a coach can make or break you. You need the trust of your coach.

“You need the trust of the club that really wants to give you everything so that you can perform the best.

“When I heard all of this and I had some meetings with them, they also told me what kind of opportunities you can have when you play good. I felt like ‘okay, this is a good step for me’.”

Taking in the surrounds of his new home ground Allianz Stadium, an excitable Ouahim revealed he’d been spending plenty of time watching videos of last season’s Isuzu UTE A-League matches in order to get himself ready for what he believes will be one of the toughest challenges of his career.

“This league is not just to come here and to have your last years of your career or just have a good time because Sydney is a nice city. I think you can really improve here.

“The training facilities are amazing. The people that work here are very professional. I’m just three days here but I can tell that they give 110% every day to make the players better.

“I think you can come here and improve if you really want to as a player, you can improve and you can make even the next step. If people think about the A-League that they (players) come here for their last years, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s the right mindset, absolutely not.”

For all the latest transfer news involving your Isuzu UTE A-League club, make sure to stay across our dedicated Transfer Centre