Milligan departs for China

The Newcastle Jets have accepted an offer for defender Mark Milligan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua today.

The Newcastle Jets have accepted an offer for defender Mark Milligan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua today. The Olyroo skipper will depart for China on Monday to undergo a medical examination and if successful Milligan 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 today.

“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,” Jets CEO John Tsatsimas said today.

“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.”