The Covert Agent: Newcastle Jets close to signing Argentinian star as injury replacement

EXCLUSIVE: Goal's resident spy reveals the Jets will imminently seal a deal for the South American, who nearly joined the club in the off-season

Newcastle Jets are closing in on the signing of Argentinian playmaker Patricio Rodriguez as an injury replacement player to cover the losses of stars Roy O'Donovan and Ronald Vargas.

The Covert Agent can reveal Newcastle are deep in discussions with the 27-year-old's representatives and are expected to come to terms shortly.

Rodriguez has only made two league appearances for Greek side AEK Athens this season and is expected to be allowed to leave when the January transfer window opens, according to reports from Greece.

An injury crisis has struck the Hunter Valley club this campaign with both Vargas (broken ankle) and O'Donovan (groin tear) unlikely to return until the latter stages of the season.

It's believed the new South American signing will be designated as an injury replacement for either Vargas or O'Donovan - but not take up the Jets' two remaining visa positions at this stage.

Despite mounting injuries to key players, Newcastle sit in second spot on the A-League ladder, five points behind Sydney FC but four ahead of Melbourne City.

Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder, who played two seasons with PSG superstar Neymar at Brazil's Santos and also spent four years at Argentine powerhouse Independiente.

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He was set to join Newcastle as a marquee in September but was overlooked at the last moment with Vargas preferred by coach Ernie Merrick.

The Jets have already bolstered their injury-hit squad on Tuesday with the loan signing of former Adelaide United midfielder Riley McGree from Belgium's Club Brugge.

Newcastle host the Western Sydney Wanderers at McDonald-Jones Stadium on Friday night - hoping to reduce Sydney FC's lead to two points before the Sky Blues travel to Wellington on Saturday.