It is official - Hariss Harun will be a Johor Darul Takzim player next season.
The Southern Tigers all but confirmed the move on Saturday, putting an end to three months of speculation linking them to the Singapore international.
A 26-man squad list for 2014 - posted on the club's official Facebook page - included the name of the midfielder, 22, who played a pivotal role in the LionsXII's Malaysian Super League triumph.
Hariss could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
But his impending exit - on a deal believed to be worth over US$20,000 (S$25,000) a month - will be the second high-profile departure from the LionsXII since their Malaysia Cup campaign ended a month ago.
Already out the door is coach V. Sundramoorthy, who will take charge of Premier League side Negeri Sembilan.
And he is expected to be joined in Malaysia's second tier by centre-back Baihakki Khaizan and attacking midfielder Shahril Ishak - both of whom have been the subject of interest from Johor FA.
As established internationals, the pair of 29-year-olds have been the cornerstones of the LionsXII's success in the last two seasons.
But the departure of vice-captain Hariss promises to be no less of a blow to the team's hopes of retaining the MSL crown.
A defensive midfielder by trade, the former Young Lions man has exhibited his versatility by slotting in seamlessly either at centre-back or in a more attacking position when required.
"It will be the LionsXII's loss and Johor DT's gain," said national Under-23 coach Aide Iskandar, who will lead a team captained by Hariss into battle at next month's SEA Games.
That said, the 38-year-old pointed out that the youngster stands to gain from his move across the Causeway.
After all, he will have the chance to play alongside the likes of former Argentina international Pablo Aimar, who joined in September on a two-year deal believed to be worth RM7.2 million (S$2.83 million) annually.
"I am sure that he will benefit from the experience that comes with playing together with someone like that," said former national captain Aide.
"We hope he succeeds in Malaysia and, at the same time, continues to be an integral part of our national team."
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