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South Korea warn against LVG, AVB rumours

South Korea
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 By Kelvin Leong

Azkals star Mark Hartmann unsure of S.League future with Geylang

Geylang striker Mark Hartmann
Mark Hartmann has scored eight goals in 11 games for Geylang since joining the club in June 2016.

Mark Hartmann's future at Geylang International remains unclear, with the striker yet to receive a "concrete" offer from the club.

The striker took the S.League by storm when he became the first-ever Filipino to sign for a Singapore club in June, proving his goal-scoring ability with a respectable eight goals in 11 matches.

Geylang closed out their season with a 4-1 home win against Home United on Tuesday, but fell short of AFC Cup qualification as they finished fifth in the league standings.

A sublime halfway line effort from Hartmann gave the Eagles a seventh-minute lead before Ken Ilso levelled the scores. A late surge saw Shahfiq Ghani, Gabriel Quak and Daniel Bennett find the back of the net, but the Protectors hung on to take fourth spot.

It all started with a debut goal on his first start for the club against Albirex Niigata (S) in the Singapore Cup on July 1, and the Azkals forward has not looked back since, adding seven more goals despite a lack of match fitness.

"I was recovering from an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament] injury since December and when Geylang spoke to me, I was upfront about not being 100 percent," he told ESPN FC.

"The management and coaches took a gamble on me and this has been a very positive experience in my football career.

"Geylang gave me the opportunity to get back to doing what I love most, scoring goals and playing football again.

"This is a good league to play in and there are no easy games since I came in but during my time here, I think I've proven myself and repaid the faith from everyone."

While most players would be thrilled with eight goals in 11 matches, Hartmann revealed that he failed to meet his personal target -- he scored 44 goals in 57 appearances for his previous club Global -- of double figures.

"Before I step foot on the pitch for Geylang, the hidden target inside me was 10 goals before the end of the season," he added.

"It is true I didn't achieve the target but having missed a few games in between, eight goals in 11 matches is a decent number. I'll take that."

Despite his scintillating form in the S.League, Hartmann is uncertain if his future lies in Singapore, with his short-term contract coming to an end in December.

With offers from the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, the Azkals forward is keen to sort out his next move before the start of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.

He said: "I would love to stay with Geylang and have a full season in the S.League. Of course, I'll sit down with the club and see what is on the table but having spent the past few months away from my loved ones and dogs, my hope is for something concrete so my family can move here.

"There have been some offers from around the region so we'll see how it goes. If I'm meant to wear the green and white of Geylang next season, then great. I would love to give the fans and club what they deserve but I need to make a living too and grow as a player."

ESPN FC editor Kelvin Leong is a former media officer for Singapore and ex-regional editor of ESPNSTAR.com. Twitter: @KelvinLeong29.

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