One of the more intriguing signings ahead of the A-League Mens 2021/22 campaign, is Beka Mikeltadze who joins the Jets from Greek outfit Xanthi FC.
Despite his young age of 23, Beka has plied his trade all through Europe and has even represented the Georgian national team on multiple occasions. His arrival to Australia poses another challenge as he looks to take the next step in his career.
This is Beka’s journey so far.
Beka was born in Kutaisi, one of the oldest cities in the world, and began his youth career playing for nearby Georgian team, FC Zugdidi, before making the switch to FC Zestafoni.
It was here where he rose through the ranks and earnt his call up to the first team in 2014 at the age of only 16. He featured only a handful of times for his side, before the Georgian champions, Dinamon Tbilisi, came knocking.
He signed with the 18-time champions and made his debut when he was 18. While in his first season at the Club, he only made a few appearances, he was part of the squad that won the domestic double, the Erovnuli and the Georgian Cup, and in his next two seasons, he cemented a spot in the starting team.
In the 2017 league season, a young Mikeltadze went on a goal scoring rampage, knocking home 16 goals to finish second on the golden boot tally, as well as collecting eight assists, to help his side challenge for the title. They fell a point short, but his form gathered the eyes of multiple clubs from across Eastern Europe.
He enjoyed successful spells at both Rustavi and Anorthosis Famagusta before he earnt himself a contract with successful Russian Premier League squad, Rubin Kazan.
Beka made an immediate impact upon his arrival in Russia and coming off the bench for his league debut against fellow Russian powerhouse, FC Dynamo Moscow, netting a 93rd minute winner to give his team a 1-0 victory.
Not too long after, the number nine became a regular representative for his home nation of Georgia in what would have been such a proud moment as he also represented his country all the way from the U-17s.
Throughout his time at the international level, Beka has scored 12 international goals at youth level and will be looking to add to that tally for the senior team.
He made his debut for the Georgia national football team against Armenia in the UEFA Nations League, while at club level, he had made the move to Xanthi FC, scoring four goals in his time there where he played alongside Matt Jurman, as well as former Jet, Josh Brilliante.
Soon after his arrival, Manager Arthur Papas identified Mikeltadze as the perfect man to lead the line for the Jets.
His technical ability, strength on the ball and ability to finish being highly valuable assets in this new look squad.
Having already worked under head coach Arthur Diles in his time at Xanthi FC, Papas is confident that he can get the most out of the Georgian forward and unlock his innate ability to score goals.
He is already adapting to his surroundings and has been putting in an immense amount of work on the training paddock. There is no doubt he will be looking to make an immediate impact and looks set to lead the line and claim his spot as the Newcastle Jets talisman.
Beka’s journey doesn’t stop now. The best is yet to come.