In a boost to Melbourne Victory's A-League title chances, Australia international Mark Milligan has returned to the club as their marquee signing.
Milligan, 31, is the second player to rejoin Victory in the off-season, following in the footsteps of Kosta Barbarouses after the side's loss to Sydney FC in last season's grand final.
Victory head coach Kevin Muscat believes the Socceroos utility will be a valuable addition in their quest for a first title since 2014-15.
"To say we're delighted is an understatement," Muscat said on Monday. "Mark is a player who loves our club and to be able to secure him for next season is a massive shot in the arm.
"He's still a pivotal member of the Socceroos set-up and will be an invaluable addition to our squad as we prepare for a busy campaign that also includes AFC Champions League commitments."
He's baaaack! pic.twitter.com/Icy1XuKN0Z-- Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) July 30, 2017
Having spent the past two seasons in the UAE Pro League playing for Baniyas, Milligan's return could provide stability for Victory, after departures from several key players in the off-season.
With patchy form in this June's Confederations Cup, steady performances in the A-League could help secure his place in Australia's World Cup squad, should the Socceroos qualify.
Milligan, who will be 32 by the start of the season, echoed Muscat's enthusiasm.
"This really couldn't have worked out better for me," he said.
"When the opportunity to come back to Australia presented, Melbourne Victory was the only choice."
Though the A-League season begins in October, Milligan's competitive return could quickly be on the cards, with Victory taking on Brisbane Roar in the FFA Cup on August 9.