Jermaine Pennant rejects Tampines Rovers' extension offer, to leave S.League club

Club chairman Ramachandra has confirmed Pennant refused to sign a contract extension offer.

Jermaine Pennant
File Photo of Tampines Rovers winger Jermaine Pennant Reuters

Jermaine Pennant will end his nine-month-long stay with Singapore's Tampines Rovers as he is set to leave the S.League club at the end of the season.

Pennant, who joined the club in January 2016 to one of the most decorated receptions in the football history of the country, has been forced to reject the contract extension offer after the team management reportedly decided to reduce the wage budget of the team considerably.

Tampines' management had made it clear to the players that it was against retaining players who do not accept their monthly salary cap of $2,500. However, the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger has been drawing a $20,000 which is much more than the "sustainable" upper-limit put forward by the club.

Club chairman Krishna Ramachandra confirmed on Thursday that Pennant had refused to sign a contract extension deal on reduced terms with the Stags. He added that the club, at the moment, is not in a position to afford the Englishman.

Also read: "Exits of Pennant, Mehmet will impact Tampines Rovers"

"He [Pennant] politely considered our offer but ultimately we could not afford someone of his stature," Ramachandra was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

"Pennant has contributed greatly to the team in terms of the style of play and guiding younger players and has generated the hype needed to resuscitate interest in local football.

"But the club is looking a revenue model that is sustainable."

It was also reported that Pennant has received offers from clubs in England and some Southeast Asian countries as well. The 33-year-old's last game with the Stags will be the Singapore Cup final against S.League champions Albirex Niigata on Saturday.

Also read: "How are Tampines going to represent Singapore at the Asian level?"

Notably, Tampines coach Akbar Nawas rested Pennant for Wednesday's final league game against Albirex, which the Stags won by a comfortable 5-1 margin.

Pennant has been a central figure for Tampines in the 2016 season, in which they finished second on the league table. The S.League club also reached the quarter-final of the AFC Cup and they have sealed a slot for next year's tournament after finishing the league as highest-ranked local club.

However, their ability to do well as representative of Singapore at the Asian level will be tested without big names of the likes of Pennant. It was also reported that Tampines' Billy Mehmet, who finished among the top ten scores in S.League, is listening to offers from other clubs after pay cut reports.

Amid such uncertainties, the big final on Saturday against a hungry Albirex, who are eyeing a quadruple this season, will be a tough test for the S.League giants, who are on the verge of a big makeover.