A-League: Jets close to finalising deal with Venezuelan midfielder

NEWCASTLE Jets are understood to be close to finalising a deal with Venezuelan international Ronald Vargas.

The creative midfielder played the past two seasons at Greek club AEK and has been training with Belgium club Antwerp.

The 30-year-old has 22 caps for Venezuela and was a member of the 23-man squad which competed at the 2015 Copa America’s.

Coach Ernie Merrick told the Herald on Wednesday that the Jets were talking to three South Americans, including AEK Athens winger Patito Rodriguez and a former Venezuelan international attacking midfielder also playing in Europe.

"There's no doubt that it's going to be a marquee player and a high-quality player," Merrick said on Wednesday. "It gives us quality in that area, which is the most exciting area of football, in the front third.”

Vargas played alongside Patito Rodriguez at AEK.

Rodriguez is a left winger and Merrick’s preference is for a central player who can also play in a wide position.

Vargas scored 11 goals in 43 appearances for AEK and had a similar strike rate during stints at Turkish club Balıkesirspor and in Belgium at  Anderlecht and Club Brugge.

The Jets have not had a marquee player since the departure of former England and Liverpool striker Emile Heskey in 2014.

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