Central Coast skipper Wilkinson signs short-term deal with Jiangsu Sainty

Central Coast Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson has joined Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Sainty on a four-month loan deal.

The 26-year old joins a growing list of centre-backs from the A-League to try their luck in the top competitions in Asia, following Adelaide United’s Sasa Ognenovski, Iain Fyfe and Robert Cornthwaite and Gold Coast United’s Bas van den Brink over to the East.

Wilkinson revealed that all the necessary documents were now received and he will head off on Tuesday night (AEDT) to start a new adventure.

“Everything has come through, it was a bit touch and go there for a while but off tonight and looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“It’s going to be a good experience and a new challenge for me, and at the same time it keeps me ticking over in the off-season.”

The Nanjing club finished 11th in the CSL last season and Wilkinson was excited about trying to help them improve their standings in China’s top flight.

“I was there last week for two days but the Nanjing city is one of the biggest cities in China with six or seven million people, so it is a big city, and the team is new to the top league, they were in the second division a few years back and they have come up to finish mid table in the last two seasons, so it’s an aspiring club,” he added.

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