Johor Darul Ta'zim are getting ready to have a revamped unit for the 2017 season as they are planning let go of their influential striker Juan Martin Lucero and crown prince Tunku Ismail lauded the Argentine's contribution to the success of the club.
Lucero has reportedly attracted a bid for $2.5m (RM11.206m), a million more than his original price, from an unnamed club in Mexico after he was transfer listed by the Malaysian Super League champions. Johor Football Association honorary secretary Mohd Fahmy Yahya confirmed the news on a Facebook post on the club's official page while coach Mario Gomez revealed that the offer was "hard to turn down".
Notably, Lucero and his compatriot Jorge Pereyra Diaz starred for JDT in their 2016 campaign in which they won the league title, FA Cup and reached the semi-final of 2016 AFC Cup in their title defense. While Lucero scored 27 goals in all competitions, Diaz, who won the league's Golden Boot, has also been listed on the transfer market after the club decided that it cannot afford the new salary requested by the Argentine.
The club has also decided to loan out Singapore vice-captain Hariss Harun to either Portugal or Japan in 2017. According to reports, JDT are planning to rope in Argentina players Brian Ferreira, Gonzalo Cabrera and striker striker Gabriel Miguel Guerra as well ahead of the 2017 season, which they will begin by playing in the preliminary stages of AFC Champions League.
At this juncture, the crown prince thanked Lucero and said that JDT will consider the Argentine if he decides to make a return to Malaysia. He also recollected another Argentine striker Luciano Figeroa's stint at the Super League club.
"I would like to say thank you to Juan Martin Lucero who has helped and have been one of the pivotal players in JDT's success last season. He is is a terrific player and our door will always be open for him to return to our team, Ismail said, as quoted by the Goal.com.
"I am also proud to say that I have two players who have worn the number 19 jersey in my team which is him and Luciano Figeroa. Their commitment and contributions have given a great impact to the club."