Newcastle Jets pursuit of Paartalu on hold

Paartalu in action against China during the EAFF East Asian Cup last year, one of just two caps for Australia at senior level (Getty)

Newcastle Jets was forced to shelve its pursuit of Erik Paartalu until the January transfer window after the title-winning ex-Brisbane Roar midfielder opted to see out his contract with Thailand’s Muang Thong United.

The Jets were keen to snare Paartalu, 28, as their Australian marquee for the start of the A-League season but have not given up hope of signing him when his commitments are compete in the Thai Premier League.

Paartalu's Sydney-based agent David O'Keefe confirmed that his client would remain in Thailand until his contract expires in mid December.

"Erik received a fantastic offer from Newcastle but ultimately felt that while contracted until the end of the year it might be difficult to move right now," O'Keefe said.

"In the light of that he has decided to stay where he is for the time being with a view that he and Newcastle might talk again closer to the January window.

"The Jets offer was excellent and both their CEO Robbie Middleby and coach Phil Stubbins were up front and open about everything during our discussions."

Paartalu, who has also been offered an upgraded deal by Muang Thong to remain in Thailand for another season, has just returned from injury for the club that has slipped from first to fourth during his four-week absence.

While there has also been interest from both Melbourne clubs in the A-League, O'Keefe confirmed no formal offer was received from either.

Paartalu, who becomes a free agent in January, joined Muang Thong eight months ago after a season with Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda.

He was an ever-present this season before being sidelined with a quad injury but played 70 minutes in the exhibition match against Spanish Primera League outfit Almeria.

Source: SBS