THE Newcastle Jets are set to make a play for walkabout Olyroos captain Mark Milligan.
Out of contract, Milligan has been in Europe for the past three months trying to secure a club.
He spent six weeks at Arsenal in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics and was most recently at German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen.
Desperate to start playing again, Milligan is considering a return to the A-League.
"Mark would be the ideal person if we could get him, number one, and at the right price, number two," Jets owner Con Constantine told The Herald yesterday.
"I like him as a player. He is a lovely boy off the park, but when he gets on it he changes. You are dealing with another person. He has a bit of mongrel in him.
"Of the eight clubs in the A-League, I think seven would love to have Mark.
"All we can do is see if it is possible."
Sydney have already indicated Milligan, who walked out on the club in March to chase his European dream, would not be welcomed back.
The Jets have space on their roster for the 23-year-old defensive midfielder but little room to move under the $1.9 million salary cap.
The season-ending injury to Jason Hoffman has freed up some cash, but any long-term deal with Milligan would most likely be heavily weighted financially to the latter stages of the contract.
"We could bring him in on an injury waiver, which is not a lot," Constantine said.
"But we also have to set ourselves up for next season. It is a lot bigger for us. We are going into the Asian Champions League and we need to make sure we have top players.
"First and foremost, we want to see if he wants to come across and at the right price.
"Season one we may not have as much to offer, but we can build it up in seasons two and three."
Milligan already has eight national caps, but his lack of regular football led Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek to leave him out of the 35-man squad for the World Cup qualifier against Qatar in Brisbane on October 15.
"We all hope he will find a club very soon, but I cannot select a player who is just doing some training, some tests, in Europe," Verbeek said last week of his omission.
"Mark understands his situation, and hopefully he will find a club soon because he is one of the players with talent and a very good age for the future."
The Jets are also believed to be in talks with an overseas striker.
"That is more for next year," Constantine said.
"We need to get a squad next year that is going to take us into the Asian market.
"Having said that, I want to stitch up our players [off contract] too. They have done the right thing by the club. I would love to keep them."
The Jets re-signed Joel Griffiths to a three-year deal, and Constantine said discussions with Ante Covic, Jade North and Adam Griffiths were progressing.
"We had some talks last week, personally to the players and also with their agents," Constantine said. "We have put off all talks until after the Wellington game. Next week we will sit down and have another chat and see how far we go."