The acquisition of Riley McGree is Adelaide United’s first signing of the 2019 offseason after the Club reached an agreement for his services for an undisclosed fee with Club Brugge.
The 20-year-old returns to his hometown team, penning a three-year contract.
McGree had been out on loan from the Belgium side for the previous 18 months with Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City in the Hyundai A-League, and has now completed a permanent switch back to the Reds.
- RILEY RETURNS: Reds acquire McGree after fee agreed with Club Brugge
His capture adds another creative option for new Head Coach, Gertjan Verbeek, with the dexterity to link the midfield and attack while also being capable of finding his way on the scoresheet.
Born in Gawler in Adelaide’s north, McGree joined local side Gawler Eagles as a four-year-old before progressing through the ranks and joining the FFSA NTC program in 2013.
He then moved to Adelaide United Youth a year later and his impressive performances caught the attention of then boss Guillermo Amor.
McGree made his Reds debut in March 2016 as a 17-year-old, coming on as a late substitute in a 0-0 away draw against Western Sydney Wanderers.
His starting debut came in the FFA Cup 2016 Round of 32 against Redlands United and soon after that game signed a one-year senior deal.
His presence and fearless approach quickly endeared himself to the Reds faithful and forced his way into the team as a regular halfway through the 2016/17 season.
The youngster’s first goal arrived in just his second Hyundai A-League start following a 2-2 stalemate against Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium in Round 17.
He would start the next six matches and his meteoric rise coincided in a surprise call-up to the Socceroos for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates.
McGree scored his second goal for the Club in the AFC Champions League Group Stage against Korean outfit Jeju United.
McGree finished his first full season at Adelaide with 22 matches and two goals in all competitions.
He embarked on a move to Europe and put pen-to-paper on a four-year contract with Belgium giants Brugge in July 2017.
But his time abroad was short-lived and loaned to Newcastle for the remainder of the 2017/18 season. He helped the team’s title push and scored a phenomenal scorpion kick in the semi-final against City, which garnered international attention and saw the goal nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award for 2018.
For the 2018/19 season he was again sent out on loan this time with City and scored a total of eight goals in 30 games – seven of which came in the league.