Nathan Burns left the A-League in 2008 for what he hoped would be a lengthy spell in Europe. Instead he has played in fewer than 60 games over the past five seasons in Greece and Korea. Still only 25, Burns will join Newcastle Jets on a four-month loan the K-League's fourth-place side, Incheon United.
Jets CEO Robbie Middleby explained the loan in a club press release:
"Nathan is a fantastic addition to our squad and will really complement the players that we already have in the attacking third. We would have preferred to secure his services for the entire season, but unfortunately that wasn't an option at this stage, with Incheon wanting him back on January 1. We were able to extend that until January 11 so Nathan can play in our home matches against Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory after the New Year."
Though Burns was the leading scorer for Greek second-division side Kerkyra while on loan from AEK in 2009/10, the attacker has had few opportunities to play regularly in top-flight competition. He will get that chance at Newcastle as the Jets will expect him to complement Emile Heskey, especially after Ryan Griffiths' February departure for the Chinese Super League. Heskey and Griffiths combined to score 18 goals last season but no one else scored more than three. If the Jets are to challenge for a finals position, one they missed out on by a single point last season, they'll need a great deal more scoring in 2013/14.
The Jets won 3-0 against Weston Bears FC in a pre-season friendly on Thursday thanks to a first half James Virgili brace and a second half Joey Gibbs goal.