THE Irish Messi, Wes Hoolahan, won't be at the Newcastle Jets next A-League season after the veteran midfielder signed a one-year deal with English League Two club Cambridge United.
Hoolahan made just five A-League appearances for the Jets in a season interrupted by a serious syndesmosis injury.
He was granted an early release in May and his family returned to Ireland, where his wife, Emma, is due to give birth to their third child in October.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna indicated at the time that Hoolahan was "keen" to return next season and had preliminary talks before departing.
"This season didn't pan out how he would have liked in terms of the ankle injury," McKinna told the Herald. "He was great around the boys and an excellent professional."
"We haven't tabled anything to Wes. Wes is interested in coming back. Carl Robinson is interested in getting him back, so that's a good start."
Coach Carl Robinson said in March that Hoolahan was still "passionate" about the game and the sort of player he wanted at the club.
But the coach was also mindful that the midfielder is in the twilight of his career the Jets want to be a club that gives young players opportunities.
Hoolahan, who joined the Jets on a modest one-year deal for a player of his calibre, was shaping as a key component for the Jets before suffering the ankle injury in the FFA Cup quarter-final loss to Adelaide in September.
The former Norwich legend trained with Cambridge United before joining the Jets.
"I was obviously on trial here for four weeks last year and I enjoyed my time," Hoolahan said on Cambridge United website. "I knew what the training ground was like, what the boys are all about and that all factored into my decision to sign.
"I'm looking forward to the number of games you have to play in League Two, there's a good amount of Saturday/Tuesday turnarounds, it will be a challenge but I really want to play as many games as I can. I want to play my role in pushing Cambridge United up the league."