NEWCASTLE Jets are in talks with former Irish international and Norwich City captain Wes Hoolahan.
The 37-year-old midfielder, who captained the Canaries in the Premier League and was their player of the season two years ago, played for West Bromwich Albion in the English Championship last season.
The classy No.10 had been training with Cambridge United in England but appears poised to move to the A-League, with the Jets the frontrunner.
Hoolahan was close to joining Warren Joyce at Melbourne City last season and the Jets confirmed on Thursday that they were in discussions with the classy playmaker.
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Cambridge United manager Collin Calderwood was hopeful of signing the veteran after he impressed in trials against Glasgow Rangers, Leicester and Ipswich but told the Irish Sun newspaper that he believed Hoolahan was headed to Australia.
"There's a nice opportunity for him, we've got no hold on him," Calderwood said. "We wish him all the best, it's a blow for us. Every indication was that he was going to be a very important factor in helping us achieve what we want to achieve this season. I really enjoyed having him around the environment and he's definitely helped everyone."
Hoolahan earned 43 caps for Ireland, scored their opening goal against Sweden at the 2016 European Championship and wore the skipper's armband under Roy Keane.
He has spent the majority of his career at Norwich, where he was known as the Irish Messi or Wessi, and scored 47 goals in 323 games in 10 years at Carrow Road.
Former Newcastle United coach and Norwich legend Ian Crook is understood to have a high opinion of Hoolahan and spoke to him about joining Western Sydney Wanderers previously.
Hoolahan made 10 appearances for West Brom in the English Championship last season. Although in the twilight of his career, Hoolahan is extremely fit and only retired from international football in 2018.
Football Association of Ireland CEO John Delaney praised the impact that Hoolahan had during his time with Ireland and described him as a 'role model' for young players.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Wes Hoolahan will be remembered as one of the most technically gifted players ever to pull on the Ireland jersey," Delaney said.
The Jets, who plan to go with a squad of 20 senior and three scholarship players, have one place to fill on the roster.
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