THE Jets are close to finalising a deal with boom Melbourne Heart rookie Craig Goodwin.
Four days after owner Nathan Tinkler reaffirmed his commitment to the club, the Jets are poised to strike their first blow on the recruitment front.
The Jets have been in talks with the 20-year-old left full-back since March. Although the Heart are keen to retain the Adelaide-born youngster, he is expected to join his former Victorian Premier League coach Arthur Papas in Newcastle.
The Jets would not comment last night but the Herald understands there are only a couple of minor details to finalise.
Goodwin grabbed headlines last season with a man-of-the-match performance on debut in a high-pressure scoreless draw with Melbourne Victory in round 18.
He went on to make four first-team appearances and was rewarded with a place in the Olyroos side, playing in a scoreless draw against Iraq in Gosford.
Goodwin appears ideally suited to Jets coach Gary van Egmond’s high-tempo possession-based game and has been earmarked as the replacement for Byun Sung-hwan, who has returned to Korea. Mario Simic has also been released, leaving the Jets without a left back.
Papas recruited Goodwin from South Australia, where he did not make the Adelaide United youth team, to play under him at Oakleigh Cannons in the 2011 VPL.
If, as expected, he agrees to terms, Goodwin is likely to make his first appearance for the Jets in the youth team in the Northern NSW State League.
Papas is weighing up an offer to head the Indian Institute of Sports soccer program, but his future is not expected to change Goodwin’s decision.
The left-footer would be the fourth young gun to join the Jets, following James Brown, 22, Mark Birighitti, 21, and Adam Taggart, 18.
They have also reopened talks with veteran striker Michael Bridges and winger Ali Abbas, but Kiwi international Jeremy Brockie confirmed yesterday that he would leave.
Brockie rejected an offer from the Jets in March but has been holding out in the hope they might come back to him with an improved deal.
‘‘I sent a couple of people at the club a text the other day congratulating them on the news [that Tinkler would retain the licence] and they replied ‘Cheers, mate, keep us updated on your future plans.’ I took that to mean they weren’t too interested in keeping me,’’ Brockie said.
‘‘I knew coming off contract that negotiations hadn’t moved as both parties would have liked. That confirmed it.’’