Football: Jermaine Pennant set to sign with Tampines Rovers

SINGAPORE - Former Arsenal and Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant could be the latest player to join S-League club Tampines Rovers, and probably the highest-paid one.  

Apparently, the 32-year-old Englishman is close to signing a deal with S-League, according to local reports, but the winger is not letting out yet.  

"I don't want to say, 'Yes it'll happen.' I don't want to say it now. (I'm) not jumping the gun. But there's more chance of it being a yes," the footballer told The Straits Times. 

He is currently in Singapore for a week-long trial with the local football club. 

If he signs with Rovers, he will become the highest-paid footballer in S-League history.

While his monthly salary could be about $62,400 (mind you, S-League rarely pays more than $10,000 monthly for foreign signings), Pennant is taking a 70-per-cent pay cut. 

His last-drawn weekly salary was reportedly 25,000 pounds (S$52,590) at English third-tier club Wigan. 

But that is no issue for Pennant as "it's not just about the money...it's about football".

"In the long run, I'll probably get rewarded in a different way. If I do well at Tampines, I'm sure I'll be rewarded," Pennant told The Straits Times. 

Today reported that Pennant wants to raise his family here. He cited Singapore's safety, cleanliness and stability as pull factors to relocate in Singapore. 

His wife Alice Goodwin, nine-year-old daughter Esme, five-year-old son, Trey, will visit him next month. 

An announcement about his deal with S-League is expected to be made by this week, earliest by tomorrow (Jan 14). 

maryanns@sph.com.sg