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Less than a year after joining, ex-Liverpool winger Pennant's spell in Singapore is set to end

The 33-year-old has declined the Tampines Rovers’ offer of a new deal with reduced terms.

Jermaine Pennant (file pic).
Jermaine Pennant (file pic).
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

FORMER ARSENAL AND Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant is set to leave his Singapore football club just nine months after signing, the team’s chairman said Friday.

The 33-year-old has declined the Tampines Rovers’ offer of a new deal with reduced terms.

“While the club could afford his wages, it would also send the wrong message to all the other players, who may have to take a pay cut, that one player is getting a ‘super-scale salary’ while the others have to take a pay cut,” Rovers chairman Krishna Ramachandra told AFP without giving financial details.

“It would create a social injustice within the dressing room.”

The former bad boy of English football in January joined Rovers, five-time winners of the S-League, under a one-year contract.

The Straits Times newspaper reported that the winger is believed to be earning around $20,000 a month and is understood to have received offers from his home country, as well as from other Southeast Asian clubs.

Ramachandra noted that the reduced amount offered to Pennant was to allow them to manage the club’s overall budget as they look to a new revenue model.

But Ramachandra insisted there were no regrets with the decision to sign the winger.

“He’s had a huge impact on the club and Singapore football. Someone of his stature and frankly quite iconic status engenders an excitement and vibe which was much needed for Singapore football in the early stages of the season,” he said.

“Jermaine is a nice player to have for any football team but I would be disrespecting the rest of my team if I said that he’s a must-have. He’s a great player but no player makes the team,” Ramachandra added.

The signing of Pennant had created renewed interest in the floundering local football league, which in the past suffered from dwindling attendance.

But Tampines Rovers finished only second in the league, one point behind Albirex Niigata.

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Ramachandra said the winger had also been an excellent example for his fellow professionals, both on and off the pitch.

“He’s been an immaculate professional and we wouldn’t have offered him another contact if he wasn’t the professional that he has been for us.”

Pennant was England’s most expensive teenager when he was snapped up for £2 million by Arsenal as a precocious 15-year-old. He was acquired by Liverpool in 2006 for £6.7 million.

He also featured for a number of clubs including Stoke City, Wolves, Wigan and Spanish side Real Zaragoza

But his career was marred by his off-pitch misdemeanours, including disciplinary issues and drink-driving convictions.

Before arriving in Singapore, Pennant also had a spell with Pune City in India and tried out with Thai Premier League outfit Muangthong United.

© AFP 2016 

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