Jets lure young gun back to Hyundai A-League

Newcastle Jets have announced the signing of Riley McGree on a short-term loan deal for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season.

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

The versatile midfielder had a breakout season with Adelaide United last term, making 16 league appearances and five in the AFC Champions League.

McGree's form was rewarded with a maiden call-up to the Caltex Socceroos squad during FIFA World Cup qualifying and earned him a move to Europe in July.

The signing of McGree will be as an 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," Merrick said.

"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."

Riley McGree
McGree caught the eye last season.

McGree has selected in Ante Milicic's squad to compete at the AFC U23 Championship in China during January, meaning Newcastle's newest asset will be 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," Merrick added.

"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 switch will be officially completed during the January window.