Jets sign Swiss defender Dominik Ritter as Joel Griffiths hints at possible return

THE Newcastle Jets have moved swiftly to fill the void left by Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s departure, signing Swiss defender Dominik Ritter to a one-year deal.

And former Newcastle legend Joel Griffiths has fuelled speculation about a possible homecoming, telling SBS website The World Game yesterday that the Jets would be his first preference if he was to return from China.

Ritter, pictured, is a former Swiss under-20 representative who played in the under21s for FC Basel and one Europa League match in the first team.

The 23-year-old has spent the past two years playing for FC Winterthur in the Swiss Challenge League (second-tier) competition, making six appearances last season and 19 in 2010-11.

He is the second confirmed overseas import on Newcastle’s roster, joining English veteran Michael Bridges.

“Dominik can play as full-back, which is his preferred position, or a left-side stopper,” Jets coach Gary van Egmond said in a club statement yesterday.

“He has a lot of pace, he will suit our style of play and we will have good competition for spots in the backs.

“He is at a good age to be coming here, he has his best years ahead of him and we look forward to welcoming him to Newcastle and having him at the Jets.”

Topor-Stanley signed with new franchise Western Sydney Wanderers last week, after the Jets persuaded him – via a pay-out – to walk away from the last season of his contract.

Van Egmond added that any more signings ‘‘will be in the front third’’.

That could augur well for Griffiths, who appears to be homesick after four years in China.

He has not played for his new club Shanghai Shenhua for two months because of a knee injury and is off-contract in December.

If he sees out that deal, he could be available to play in the business end of the A-League campaign.

‘‘Returning to Australia at the end of my contract is definitely a strong possibility,’’ Griffiths told The World Game. ‘‘My wife and I have talked about it lately and it’s certainly on the cards.

‘‘I have been in China for four years and it’s been a great adventure, but it’s a long time and I am more than open to the prospect of coming home.

‘‘I’ve said I want to return to Australia at some stage with my family and I can see a move happening sooner rather than later.

‘‘If it happens, the Jets would be my first choice. Hopefully the fact I’m a proven scorer, somebody who can get maybe 10 a season, would work in my favour and make me attractive to teams.’’

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