Milligan off to China

Olyroo skipper Mark Milligan has been given the green light from the Newcastle Jets to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.

Olyroo skipper Mark Milligan has been given the green light from the Newcastle Jets to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.

Milligan will depart for China on Monday to undergo a medical examination and if successful he will participate in the forthcoming AFC Champions League 2009 competition with his new club.

The 23-year-old played 11 games for the Jets in the 2008/09 Hyundai A-league campaign, 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 team-mates after the Jets accepted an undisclosed transfer fee.

"Obviously our club would have loved to have kept a player of Mark's talent for the duration of his contracted period," said Jets CEO John Tsatsimas.

"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."