OLYROOS skipper Mark Milligan should rubber-stamp his switch to Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua next week after Newcastle Jets today accepted a fee that was too good to turn down.
Milligan will depart for China on Monday to undergo a medical examination and if successful will participate in the forthcoming AFC Champions League 2009 competition with his new club.
The 23-year-old played 11 games for the Jets this season, after initially joining the Hunter-based club as a guest player.
His return to the Hyundai A-League last October followed a series of trials with high-profile clubs in Europe such as Arsenal and Werder Bremen in mid-2008. Work permit and visa issues prevented the talented Milligan from joining these clubs at this time, but his desire to expand his game abroad remained.
Milligan had signed for the Jets for the AFC Champions League 2009 and Hyundai A-League 2009/10 competitions, but will now join his new teammates after the Jets accepted an undisclosed transfer fee - said to be $300,000 - today.
Jets CEO John Tsatsimas said: “Obviously our club would have loved to have kept a player of Mark’s talent for the duration of his contracted period.
"However, a player of that ability and with a desire to further his career overseas is always going to attract strong attention from other clubs.
“The opportunity that was presented to us by Shanghai Shenhua was one that we could not turn down, and whilst it is unfortunate to see Mark depart, we also hope that he fulfills his dream of furthering his career abroad as he has wanted to do for some time.”
Milligan follows Jade North out of the door heading for Asia and he doesn't look like being the last.
Reports in the Newcastle press today suggest Joel Griffiths' loan switch to Beijing Guoan is close to completion after a disagreement between the clubs over the wording of his contract.
The Jets are admant that part of the deal must be that Griffiths is not allowed to play against the Jets in the ACL. The Chinese side appeared to want to play (or not play him) at their discretion.