Caltex Socceroo defender joins Inter Milan

Caltex Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury has left Chinese club Jiangsu Suning to make a loan return to Europe to play for Italian giants Inter Milan, who share owners with his club.

Sainsbury joins the Serie A outfit until the end of the season and his arrival at San Siro follows Andrea Ranocchia's departure.

The Perth-born defender is a replacement for the outgoing Ranocchia, who joined Premier League side Hull City on loan on Tuesday afternoon.

Confirming the loan move, Jiangsu thanked Sainsbury for his contribution to the club in his 36 appearances during the 2016 season.

"We greatly appreciate the contributions made by Sainsbury last season and thanks for all the joy and pride he brought to our fans. [We] wish him luck and all the best in his new challenge."

Trent Sainsbury scores against Greece the last time the Caltex Socceroos played in Melbourne.

New regulations introduced by the Chinese Football Association, which abolished the Asian player quota, played a role in the transfer.

The 25-year-old began his professional career in the Hyundai A-League with Central Coast Mariners before moving to Europe to join Dutch club PEC Zwolle in 2014.

In January 2016, Sainsbury added a third continent to his career experiences, joining Asian team Jiangsu Suning.

Both Jiangsu Suning and Inter share the same major share holders in the Suning Holdings Group.