Fringe Australia striker Nathan Burns has sounded an alert among A-League clubs as he seeks a release from his contract at Incheon United in a bid to keep his 2014 FIFA World Cup dream alive.
While there are also options in Europe for the 25-year-old, an A-League return is looming for the former Adelaide United starlet with Newcastle Jets favourite to snare him.
The Jets, who have twice come close to snaring Burns in the past, are willing to take him on loan or as a permanent replacement for Ryan Griffiths who left for China last season.
But Jets CEO Robbie Middleby insists that no deal has yet been struck and it's believed Adelaide United is also in the mix for Burns who scored nine goals in 31 appearances for the Reds before securing his first overseas move to AEK Athens in 2008.
The livewire front-man has not featured in a league game all season for Incheon despite recovering from the injuries which restricted him to just three appearances for the K-League Classic club last season.
And his agent, Bernie Mandic, confirmed that Burns – who has seven caps for Australia – is eyeing the exit door in a bid to nail down first team football elsewhere as he seeks to make a late charge for a spot in the Socceroos squad for Brazil next year.
"There are several A-League clubs keen on bringing Nathan back to Australia but nothing has been finalised as yet and there is still some work to be done," said Mandic.
"The reality is that Nathan wants to give himself the best possible chance of getting selected at the World Cup and that’s uppermost in his mind right now.
"He just wants to be playing regularly and is considering his position on where to go from here.”
Burns has 18 months remaining on his contract at Incheon where he has had little luck.
"Nathan is fit now and has been since Christmas. I would say that his future will hopefully be sorted out within a week to 10 days," added Mandic.
Middleby signalled the Jets intentions when he said: “Nathan is a terrific player and why wouldn’t we be interested in him.
"We’ve been tracking for him for a while and would like to bring him home, if possible. We spoke with him last year as well and I have always liked him as a player and to see somebody like him play off Emile Heskey would be sensational.
“He has a lot of qualities and to have him back in the A-League would benefit the competition as a whole. But certainly nothing has been finalised as yet and we will see what happens."
Free-scoring former Belgium international Stein Huysegems is poised to quit Welllington Phoenix at the end of the season after negotiations over a new contract reached a seemingly unbridgeable impasse.