Wilkinson leaving Mariners for South Korea
Central Coast captain Alex Wilkinson is leaving the Mariners to join South Korea's K-League champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC.
The 27-year-old defender has agreed to terms on a two-and-a-half year contract with Jeonbuk, the Mariners said in a statement on Wednesday following the completion of a transfer deal.
Wilkinson said he had mixed feelings about swapping the yellow and navy of the Mariners for the green of Jeonbuk.
"It has been seven years with the Mariners and I've loved every minute up here," Wilkinson said in the statement.
"I love the team, I love the club, and that's what has made the decision so hard.
"But there was always a part of me that wanted to play overseas and this offer was in the too good to refuse category.
"I'm leaving a great club behind (but) Jeonbuk are a very good team that has a very good set-up, so that made the decision a bit easier," he said.
Mariners head coach Graham Arnold said the opportunity for Wilkinson to set himself up financially is one the player couldn't refuse.
"Alex has been a great servant for this club for a very long time and we are disappointed to see him go, but at the moment Australian clubs simply cannot compete with the money on offer in other Asian leagues," Arnold said.
Wilkinson made 172 A-League appearances for Central Coast over seven seasons, playing in three grand finals including the club's two premiership wins.