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Ronald Vargas will bring goals to Newcastle Jets - Ernie Merrick

Coach Ernie Merrick is upbeat the arrival of Venezuelan international Ronald Vargas will add the attacking spark the Newcastle Jets need to turn around their dismal recent A-League fortunes.

Merrick is the Jets' seventh coach since the struggling club last made the finals seven seasons ago.

But the Scot is confident a player of Vargas' pedigree can lift the Jets, who are aiming to get off to a flying start to the new season when they face Central Coast in the F3 derby on Oct. 7.

Arriving from Greek club AEK Athens this week, the marquee man is tipped to add plenty of menace to the Jets' front third after being wooed to Australia by Merrick.

Vargas last played in May, but impressed in his first training run on Monday.

"He's got that vast experience in that front third; that's the excitement area, that's where goals are scored," said Merrick, who took over at Newcastle from Mark Jones in May.

"He not only scores goals, but creates goals ... he's really a typical No. 10 but can play wide on the right side as well."

Venezuela attacker Ronald Vargas of Newcastle Jets
Newcastle Jets' recruit Ronald Vargas, centre, has earned 22 caps for Venezuela since 2008.

Merrick expects Vargas to be a good fit for the success-starved Jets, who have finished with the wooden spoon in two of the last three A-League seasons, and quickly become the new face of the club.

"To get a character who is not only good on the field, but good off field and good in the media is a crucial part of it," Merrick said of his import's appeal.

"He's come in with a big smile on his face, fitted in well with the boys and already said he's in love with Newcastle."

Vargas boasts 50 appearances for AEK Athens, as well as 122 games in Belgium with Club Brugge and RSC Anderlecht.

On a one-year deal, the 30-year-old has already settled nicely into the Hunter Valley region.

"It's good [in Newcastle]; good weather, good club, good people and the offer was very good from day one," Vargas said.

The Jets have ditched a scheduled match against a local side in favour of two intra-club trials before their A-League opener.


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