OUT-OF-FAVOUR Jets defender Tiago is set to join Sydney FC and could line up for the Sky Blues against Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
The 31-year-old Brazilian has been earmarked as an injury replacement for Dutch defender Pascal Bosschaart, who was yesterday ruled out for six months with Achilles and ankle problems.
Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby did not return messages from the Herald yesterday, but it is understood that the club has agreed to release Tiago immediately.
But the short-term deal hinges on Football Federation Australia approval and is complicated by the fact Tiago and Bosschaart are visa players.
Off contract, Tiago has not played for the Jets since the 3-0 loss to Perth at nib Stadium on December 14.
He did not train on Monday and did not join his teammates at a junior members coaching clinic yesterday.
The Sky Blues have the worst defensive record in the league, conceding 33 goals in 16 games. Apart from Bosschaart, Adam Griffiths is also sidelined with injury.
Utility Rhyan Grant played alongside Sebastian Ryall, who is also more comfortable in a wider role, in the centre of defence in last week's 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart.
The week before, 16-year-old Aaron Calver started at centre back.
Recruited by former coach Branko Culina, Tiago has had a mixed two seasons in Newcastle. After playing 21 games last year, his passing ability was considered central to coach Gary van Egmond's possession game.
But a couple of costly mistakes and lack of pace has resulted in the Brazilian dropping down the pecking order.
Teenager Connor Chapman and home-grown pair Taylor Regan and Josh Mitchell have been preferred in recent weeks, with the former two combining for back-to-back clean sheets.
If the Tiago deal proceeds, it would leave eight Jets players whose futures are in the air.
Sam Gallaway is reported to be close to agreeing to terms.
Ruben Zadkovich’s representative, Buddy Farah, said talks were ‘‘progressing positively’’ after a meeting with Middleby yesterday.
Marquee striker Emile Heskey is due to begin talks when his agent, Struan Marshall, arrives in the next fortnight.
That leaves captain Jobe Wheelhouse, Marko Jesic, Michael Bridges, Dominik Ritter and Bernardo Ribeiro.
‘‘I had a chat with Robbie a month ago but that was more about the team and how it was going,’’ Wheelhouse said. ‘‘Not so much about contracts.
‘‘Everyone wants security, but at the end of the day it is not up to me.
‘‘I just have to go out and play like I have been.
‘‘If I am a priority for them, they can start talks.
‘‘It is not up to me to go in and say, ‘Re-sign me.’’’
AAP reports: Shafted Adelaide United striker Sergio van Dijk wants out of the A-League club as soon as possible but is still willing to contribute to the team this season if called on.
The third-highest goal-scorer in the history of the A-League has been given the cold shoulder by high-flying Adelaide this season, playing just three of 16 matches.
Van Dijk says he’s frustrated but not bitter about the situation and has refused to unload on coach John Kosmina or club bosses.
The 30-year-old Dutchman is eyeing a move to Indonesian football during the transfer window and is hoping he isn’t forced to see out the rest of the year in Adelaide.
Van Dijk isn’t holding his breath that he’ll be recalled for injured striker Bruce Djite (groin) for Friday’s clash with Melbourne Heart.
But he says unless a transfer is resolved, he will continue to ‘‘do his job’’ for the club.
‘‘If I can find something that’s a good deal for everyone, I hope to go with that,’’ van Dijk said. ‘‘I have a chance to play this week and a couple of other games ... but there won’t be a lot more, I guess. But if I have to, I want to be there for the team.’’