JETS chief executive Lawrie McKinna insists that captain Nigel Boogaard remains in the club's plans despite the recruitment of Melbourne Victory defender James Donachie.
McKinna confirmed on Friday that Donachie will join the Jets on a three-year deal from next season.
Fellow centrebacks Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Lachy Jackson, who is sidelined until at least December after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, have another year to run on their current deals.
Boogaard is off contract, but is keen to play at least another season.
"We are not shutting the door on Nigel," McKinna said. "We did the deal with Donachie four months ago before COVID-19. At the time, we were thinking that next season would be starting in October and Lachy Jackson won't be ready until December at the earliest. We thought we could be a bit short. Donachie is a good age at 27 and is a big, dominant centre-half. We kept it quiet out of respect to Victory. We are looking at building the squad long term and he is a good fit."
Donachie played a key role in the controversial Melbourne Victory goal in the 1-0 win over the Jets in the 2018 grand final, which should have been disallowed but the VAR system broke down. Donachie, who was one of three Victory players offside, headed a freekick to the far post for Kosta Barbarouses to slot home.
The Queenslander joined Korean side Jenonnam Dragons but returned to Victory after 11 appearances.
"It didn't work out in Korea but he has that experience and he still has that hunger," McKinna said.
Topor-Stanley will be 36 at the end of his contract, but has shown no signs of slowing down.
Boogaard, 33, missed 10 games with an adductor injury earlier this season. He said in February, not long after the arrival of coach Carl Robinson, that he had to "prove to the new gaffer that I can be injury-free, play every week and put my case forward to him."
The stopper had been in arguably career-best form when the league was suspended on March 24.
"We have spoken to Nigel about things," McKinna said. "Because of what has happened and the uncertainty around the salary cap for next season and when the season will actually start - there is talk it may revert to winter - we have put things on hold."
McKinna also confirmed that talks with mid-season arrivals Bernie Ibini and Joe Ledley were ongoing.
Ledley returned to Wales when the league was suspended.
Football Federation Australia are working with the Border Force in relation to the return of overseas players and coaches, including Ledley, Jets tactician Robinson and his assistant Kenny Miller.
"FFA put in the paperwork to Border Force on Thursday," McKinna said. "Once they get the green light he coaches will jump on a plane. Joe is keen to come back, but he is waiting to bring his family. Whether we can bring his family for the shot period is the issue."
Fellow import, Panamanian striker, Abdiel Arroyo stayed in Newcastle throughout.
Although he does not qualify for the Jobkeeper allowance, the Jets have been paying him and the other overseas players the equivalent amount. Most other clubs have left their foreigners to fend for themselves.
"It's the right thing to do," McKinna said. "The guys are here to represent the club. Financially they should be getting the same as the other boys."