Socceroo Mark Milligan has finally got the rubber stamp on his dream move to a club in Europe at last... 11 years after he first hoped to make the switch.
Milligan's bid to join a club in Europe has been thwarted at every turn until finally he got his chance to join Hibernian last month.
This morning the club confirmed the final bit of paperwork on his move had been rubber-stamped after his visa was at last approved and the way is now clear for him to join his new team-mates.
Milligan, 33, is currently in Turkey in camp with the Socceroos ahead of a series of friendlies next month and November before the Asian Cup kicks off in January.
But once the camp is complete, the veteran defender will be flying back to Scotland with Socceroos striker and new Hibs team-mate Jamie Maclaren to join him at Easter Road for the rest of the season.
The move is the realisation of a long-held desire to play in the UK which saw him abruptly leave Sydney FC in 2007 in pursuit of a deal, only to come back with his tail between his legs over visa issues.
🇦🇺 | Good news Hibees - Mark Milligan has completed his Visa process and will join up with the squad after Australia's training camp in Turkey. pic.twitter.com/30BEXrXYHw— Hibernian FC (@HibernianFC) 5 September 2018
Over the years, clubs including Arsenal, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers have all been interested in signing him – but he has been foiled at every turn because of his lack of a European passport.
Instead he's worked his way through a series of A_League sides, starting with Sydney FC followed by a stint at Newcastle Jets before several years with Melbourne Victory, interspersed with contracts in Asia with Shanghai Shenhua in China, JEF United Chiba in Japan, Baniyas SC in UAE and Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia.
Just last year Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Burton Albion were still all keen to bring him into their squad... but this time he was let down by the Socceroos' FIFA ranking which agonisingly fell just outside the threshold needed to qualify for a UK work visa.
Now though, after a successful World Cup qualification process and a surge in Australia's average ranking, Milligan has finally qualified for a work permit...and will join his new club next week.
"He was so joyful and happy," Socceroos coach Graham Arnold admitted last month when the Hibs deal was done. "It's a big thing for him.
"He's done everything in the A-League, he's been to four World Cups. The one scar he needed to scratch was to go overseas and play in a European league.
"He's going to get to play against Celtic and Rangers, big clubs. Hibs is a great club as well and Neil Lennon is probably the perfect manager for them."