A-League Newcastle Jets swoop on England’s Emile Heskey
His goal-scoring prowess – or lack thereof – made him the butt of jokes in England. However, ex-Liverpool forward Emile Heskey now seems to be the answer to the Newcastle Jets’ striker dilemma in the A-League.
HIS goal-scoring prowess – or lack thereof – made him the butt of jokes in England.
However, ex-Liverpool forward Emile Heskey now seems to be the answer to the Newcastle Jets’ striker dilemma in the A-League.
In what the Jets hope will rival Sydney FC’s signing of Italian star Alessandro Del Piero, former England international Heskey has reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $1 million and could arrive next week.
The Jets were coy on officially commenting on their pursuit of Heskey on Wednesday.
But Newcastle football manager Robbie Middleby and Hunter Sports Group CEO Troy Palmer were in transit on Wednesday flying back to Australia after tabling the A-League offer to the 34-year-old.
It is believed Heskey only has to pass a medical for the deal to be finalised.
Heskey played in two World Cup finals campaigns – including just two years ago in South Africa – however, he has not found a club since being ditched by Aston Villa at the end of last season.
Heskey’s resume may be impressive but the striker is much maligned in England for his ability to duff – rather than score – goals.
In his 11-year, 62-game international career, he found the back of the net only seven times.
Overall in an 18-year English top tier football career that also featured stints with Leicester City, Liverpool, Birmingham City and Wigan, Heskey potted in just 117 goals in a whopping 546 matches.
As a result, Heskey was more often the punchline rather than the headline during his English career.
And unlike Heskey, the English press didn’t miss when the striker became engaged.
“It’ll be nice for Emile when he weds Chantelle Tagoe. It’ll make a change to hear `Mrs Heskey’ instead of `Heskey misses’,” one newspaper reported.
Yet the Jets see the veteran as the ideal man to partner Ryan Griffiths up front after the departure of the likes of Jeremy Brockie, Labinot Haliti, Chris Payne and Ali Abbas.
The Jets begin their A-League campaign on 7 October at home to Adelaide United.
However, the most anticipated match will be Del Piero’s home debut at Allianz Stadium for Sydney FC on 13 October against what looks set to be a Jets outfit boasting Heskey.
Meanwhile, former Germany captain Michael Ballack is reportedly contemplating a move to Australia.
A free agent, Ballack has been linked to A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers. - AAP