The Newcastle Jets have signed former Melbourne Victory flyer Mitch Austin for the upcoming A-League season.
The 27-year-old Austin made 24 appearances for the Victory across two seasons, scoring four goals, but he missed most of last season after tearing his ACL.
In 2015-16 Austin scored five goals in 23 appearances for the Central Coast Mariners.
Austin has also spent time in England with clubs such as Cambridge United, Lincoln City and Southport.
Jets coach Ernie Merrick said Austin has the ability to play as a winger or a striker, and will provide plenty of options across the front third.
"He's been training with us for a couple of weeks and has shown he has the attributes I look for in an attacking player," Merrick said.
"Mitch ... will improve our depth, he possesses plenty of pace, which will no doubt trouble opposition defences."
“I’ve watched Mitch play for a couple of years now and I’m excited to have him at the club,” Merrick said.
“He’s been training with us for a couple of weeks and has shown he has the attributes I look for in an attacking player.
“Mitch can play anywhere across the front third and will improve our depth, he possesses plenty of pace which will no doubt trouble opposition defences.”
Austin has impressed since joining the Jets for a trial period three weeks ago.
“It’s been great training with the boys these past few weeks, and now I’m excited to fight for a spot in the starting 11,” Austin said.
“The opportunity to play under Ernie really appealed to me, his attacking mindset and the freedom he gives players in the front third is something which will suit the way I like to play.
“I’m looking forward to showing the people of Newcastle what I can do on the pitch. The club performed really strongly last season and I hope I can do my bit to help contribute to another successful year.”
Meanwhile, Melbourne City have bolstered their defence ahead of the A-League campaign, signing Belgian Ritchie de Laet from Aston Villa on a season-long loan.
The deal is the second in as many years from the English Championship club, having brought striker Ross McCormack on an injury replacement deal last term.
De Laet said the Scot, as well as Villa-based Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, recommended the club after coach Warren Joyce came calling.
"When Warren called me, I was ready for something completely new," de Laet said.
"I don't think you can get further away than Australia.
"I didn't need a second phone call, I was ready to come out here."
De Laet's impressive CV includes time with Manchester United and a Premier League winner's medal with Leicester City.
He helped the underdogs seal promotion in 2014 but found himself on the fringes of the side during the Premier League-winning season. He moved to second-tier Middlesbrough on loan halfway through that campaign.
The 2015/16 campaign is the most recent season when De Laet featured in at least half of his side's matches.
Since moving to Aston Villa he's battled injury and struggled for selection, resulting in a loan back to his native Belgium.
It was there that he first encountered City boss Joyce, who began his coaching career at Manchester United-aligned Royal Antwerp.
De Laet followed Joyce to United but failed to make an impression at the powerhouse club.
He is eligible to play in Wednesday night's FFA Cup quarter-final with Western Sydney and is likely to take Nathaniel Atkinson's place at right-back for the season ahead.
"I'm a right back by trade but I can play anywhere across the back four or wide in midfield," he said.
"I like to attack. I like to run. I think one of my main strengths is my speed.
"It's an incredible project here ... we want to win the league and go from there."
De Laet takes the club's second marquee position after striker Bruno Fornaroli.
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