Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has signed a one-year deal with Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, according to the club’s chairman Krishna Ramachandra.
Pennant, who most recently played for Wigan Athletic in the Championship, is on track to become the S.League’s biggest signing in 21 years.
The 32-year-old, who has also played in the Premier League, La Liga and Indian Super League, said that taking a pay cut to play in Singapore was not an issue as he embarks on an exciting new chapter.
“I knew before I flew here I would have to take a big pay cut but you must look at the bigger picture,” he told reporters. “Furthermore, there are other things here in Singapore that I value much more than money.”
Ramachadra said that both parties were left delighted by how quickly and smoothly negotiations progressed, with Pennant inking a deal just one week after discussions began.
“I have to admit that I am completely surprised and delighted at how quickly we were able to sort things out,” he told TODAY. “To be very honest, because of his calibre as a player, I was most concerned with his remuneration. But I think, for Jermaine, it was not strictly about the money. It is clear that the country has captured his heart.
“He has really fallen in love with Singapore as a place to live in and raise his family, and that really played a part and helped us out in the discussions over remuneration.”
Meanwhile, Rovers head coach V Sundramoorthy is confident that Pennant will excel in the S.League and added that he will serve as a role model for the younger players in the team.
“He can bring football to the next level, with his skills, with his technique, he can pass it on to the younger players,” Sundramoorthy said. “And in terms of professionalism, you can see that he is always punctual, always working hard in training. These are the things where young players will learn and look up to him.”
The details of Pennant’s one-year deal have not been revealed, but it is understood that the 32-year-old is set to make approximately SGD$45,000 per month, which could increase to SGD$60,000 depending on performances.
It has been confirmed that sponsors Komoco Motors and Hyundai will be helping to pay Pennant’s salary.
“Komoco and Hyundai have stepped up to say that they will help to support Pennant’s wages,” Ramachandra said. “Mr Teo Hock Seng said that he will support this because we need to do this for Singapore football.
“I am very heartened by Mr Teo’s continued enthusiasm for the club and for the S.League and Singapore football. That played a big part in sorting out our negotiations with Jermaine. And now, other sponsors are also coming forward to provide support.”
Pennant will be officially unveiled as a Tampines Rovers player on Tuesday.