Jermaine Pennant
File Photo of Tampines Rovers winger Jermaine Pennant Reuters

Former Arsenal and Liverpool Winger Jermaine Pennant is likely to leave S-League club Tampines Rovers at the end of his one-year contract.

The 2014 S-League champions have decided to considerably reduce the wage budget for the next season and the players of the club, who spoke to The New Paper on conditions of anonymity, have revealed they were told by the management that it was willing to retain only those players who would accept a monthly salary of upto $2,500.

Pennant, who signed for the The Stags after his stint in the Premier League on a one-year-deal ahead of the ongoing season, reportedly draws a monthly salary of $20,000, which is considerably more than the possible new salary cap of the Singapore giants.

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra, however, maintained that nothing was formal and that they had just let the players know about their intentions, according to the newspaper report. Moreover, the focus will also be on how the Singapore internationals in the Tampines squad, who reportedly earn between $4000 to $10,000 a month, come in terms with a possible new deal.

"We need to be conservative and build the club on sound principles that will be sustainable longer term. If everyone needs to take a pay cut, then so be it. But we should not compromise on our club and community philosophy," Ramachandra, who took over as the club's chairman in November 2015, was quoted as saying by The New Paper.

"Nothing definite has been formalised, but the players need to plan ahead for next year. And given that we have no clear picture for next year's budget, we needed to indicate to the players where we stand presently. Simple as that."

Following the management's decision, a few of the Tampines players, under anonymity, reportedly expressed their disappointment. One of them criticised the move saying the club must build on what has not been a "bad season" rather than "going the other way".

Tampines are placed third in the 2016 S-League table and are placed third with 40 points from 21 games behind leaders Albirex Niigata and defending champions Brunei DPMM. Their title hopes have become slimmer after their loses to Home United and Brunei in their last two league games.

Albirex, who take on fourth-placed Hougang on Friday in their third last game of the season, need a win to clinch this year's title. Tampines, who have three more games left, also had to deal with their 2016 AFC Cup assignments. The Stags became the first Singapore club since 2008 to reach the quarter-final of the tournament but were knocked out by Indian club Bengaluru FC.