EXCLUSIVE: Melbourne Victory eyeing Milligan return

Mark Milligan Source: Getty Images

Melbourne Victory are looking to lure Mark Milligan back to the A-League as a marquee signing for the club.

Milligan is nearing the end of his contract with UAE club Baniyas SC having signed with them on a multi-million dollar, two-year deal in 2015 from Victory.

The 31-year-old last month played his final game with Abu Dhabi-based side, who were relegated from the Arabian Gulf League after posting just three wins this season to finish bottom of the table.

Victory were desperate in 2015 to keep Milligan, who was their Australian marquee at the time, but accepted a transfer fee of $1 million – the figure which triggered a mandatory transfer clause in Milligan's contract.

The World Game understands the A-League giants want to again make Milligan a marquee signing for the 2017/2018 season.

Victory have a marquee spot available after the departure of Oliver Bozanic to Japan.

Playmaker James Troisi, who was keen on taking up that marquee position, is set to leave Victory after revealing he had not yet been offered a new deal by the club.

Victory may need to use their powers of persuasion on Milligan, who last month stated he hoped to stay in the Gulf region, with his wife and two daughters settled in Abu Dhabi.

"I am looking around this region because the family is settled and we have been here a while," he told The World Game in May.

"I am not really looking to come home ... the A-League is probably not my first preference at the moment."

Milligan spent three successful years with Victory from 2012 to 2015, scoring 14 goals in 73 appearances.

He won the double with Kevin Muscat’s side in 2015 and was awarded the Joe Marston Medal after captaining the Victory side which defeated Sydney FC 3-0 in the grand final.

Milligan, a veteran of 59 matches for the Socceroos, lined up in Australia’s 4-0 humbling by Brazil at the MCG on Tuesday in what was an emotional appearance after the passing of his grandfather earlier this week.

The midfielder is due to arrive in Moscow with the rest of Ange Postecoglou’s Confederations Cup squad on Thursday.

He looms as the likely replacement to wear the captain’s armband in place of injured Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak.