Mariners sign former Premier League midfielder

Central Coast Mariners have got their man, with the club confirming on Thursday they have signed former English Premier League midfielder Jem Karacan.

Mariners boss Mike Mulvey has promised reinforcements for the club and has made his first January addition to his squad by securing the 29-year-old for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season.

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Karacan arrived in Gosford on Wednesday after the completion of his recent short-term deal with Championship club Millwall, with the Mariners hopeful his compulsory International Transfer Clearance (ITC) and VISA paperwork will come through in time for the club's Round 17 clash against Melbourne Victory.

“I want to get into the team. I want to be part of a winning team,” Karacan said.

“The Mariners have been unfortunate not to have gotten a few more wins on the board so hopefully I can bring my experience and strengths to help the team push up the table."

Karacan – who was born in London – began his career with Reading in England, where he played alongside current Central Coast Mariners defender Kalifa Cisse and Sydney FC striker Adam Le Fondre.

He spent eight years with the Royals, including their famous 2012/13 campaign in the EPL.

The crafty midfielder has also spent a couple of seasons with Turkish giants Galatasaray, as well as stints at Bournemouth, Bursaspor and Bolton Wanderers.

And he has several ties to the club having spent time with former Mariner Oliver Bozanic at Reading, where he also played with Cisse, and also doing battle with current assistant coach and former Sheffield United captain Nick Montgomery.

“I’m an energetic box-to-box midfielder, I want to get on the ball and hopefully pop up with a couple of goals as well,” Karacan said.

“I’ve played quite a lot of football over the years. I want to come out here and give everything I’ve got to help the club. Everyone who knows me, knows I will always give it my all and that’s something I’m looking to do here at the club.

“I’m a leader. Hopefully I can show the lads on and off the pitch that I’m a good professional who leads by example.

Jem Karacan

“I’m only 29, I’ve got a lot of years left in football so I’m hopeful that by given the opportunity here that I can shine and do everything I can to help the club.”

Mariners boss Mulvey was delighted to add some quality and experience to his squad, saying: “We’ve spoken to the players about how we can help them this season, one of the best ways to do that is adding extra depth to the squad. Jem has good engines, great experience so he will add to that depth.

“He’s combative, energetic, enthusiastic, his experience will be invaluable to us. He will improve our position and our stocks going forward which is absolutely vital.

“The first thing you need to look at with a VISA player coming in is their attitude, what kind of demeanour are they going to bring. We’ve signed Jem on a short-term contract, so he will need to come in and prove a point. If it goes well, we will look at longer term. Right now, he’s coming out to play and to win.”

Jem Karacan
Jem Karacan in action for Bolton