Jets sign young gun for January window

The Newcastle Jets can announce the signing of midfielder, Riley McGree on a short term loan deal for the remainder of the 2017/18 Hyundai A-League season.

McGree, currently on a three-year deal with the Belgian heavyweights, Club Brugge, is considered one of Australian football’s brightest prospects.

The versatile midfielder had a breakout year with the Adelaide Reds in season 2016/17, making 16 appearances in addition to five Asian Champions League matches.

McGree’s form was also rewarded with selection on two occasions in the Socceroos final 23-man squad during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers under then coach, Ange Postecoglou.

The signing of McGree will be as injury replacement for Jake Adelson, who ruptured his ACL in a Foxtel National Youth League game earlier this season.

Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick said the signing was an important one for his side coming into the New Year.

“Riley is an exciting young player who will offer a lot to our side, he likes to get forward, he can play wide but he can also play in a holding role – he gives us plenty of options,” said Merrick.

“We’ve brought Riley in as an injury replacement for Jake – seeing as we’ve got some good depth defensively – I was keen on getting a creative, attacking player.

“He’s at one of the biggest clubs in the Belgian First Division and I think just being around that sort of environment after his last season (in the A-League) will only be of benefit.”

It’s expected that McGree will be selected for the AFC under-23s Championships in China during January, which will see the Jets’ latest signing unavailable for the first few weeks of 2018.

“It’s disappointing not to have him available immediately, but this is the price you pay when you bring in a player of Riley’s quality,” added Merrick.

“If anything, it will provide Riley with some important game time before he joins us in late-January for our run into the end of the season.

The Jets will officially lodge the transfer during the A-League’s January window.