Singapore's Hassan Sunny released by Thailand club Army United FC
Singapore international goalkeeper Hassan Sunny has been released by Army United as the relegated Thai League club look to cut costs in preparation for life in second tier.
Hassan, who recently starred for his country at the AFF Suzuki Cup, had spent two years in Thailand's Premier League, establishing himself as one of the top keepers in the country after being signed by Army's former head coach Gary Stevens early in 2015.
Hassan quickly demonstrated why the former Spurs and England defender was so keen to bring him to Thailand. In an excellent first season, he was often the difference between success and failure for the Gentlemen, who ended the campaign in 10th place, while reaching two cup semifinals.
The second season did not go quite so well. After a steady start, the wheels came off spectacularly in the second half of the year, and Army won just two of their final 16 league games. The season ended prematurely after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with Hassan's side in 16th place and subsequently relegated to Division One.
The drop to the second tier means Hassan has to look for a new club, despite having a year left on his contract.
"They told me they were cancelling my contract as I am too expensive," Hassan told ESPN FC. "They told me to understand that, as Army is going down to Division One next year, the money they are getting from sponsors will be decreased. Hence, the budget will be lowered."
The former Warriors' goalkeeper remains unsure of his future, but he recently earned rave reviews for his performances for Singapore at the AFF Cup, despite his country's exit at the first hurdle.
With the Lions adopting a conservative approach, they earned just one point in three games, but Hassan's heroics spared them from heavier defeats against Thailand and Indonesia.
Some football followers in Australia have been singing his praises on social media, and the A-League's official website named him on their 'Transfer Radar' as one of the players to watch from the AFF Cup.
The website described him as "An intelligent and commanding goalkeeper who starts attacks and has incredible reflexes... the Thai-based number one was one of the few bright spots of a dismal Singapore campaign."
Hassan was sceptical about possible interest from Australia, but admitted that a move would hold great appeal.
"I am not sure about this," said Hassan. "I'm not sure if they are impressed by my performance but if it is true, it is good.
"It is nice to receive praise from outside of Southeast Asia. A move to Australia would definitely be the major highlight of my football career."
Whatever happens next, the 2014 S. League Player of the Year should not be short of suitors.
His performances from Army United and Singapore have consistently marked him out as one of the top goalkeepers in Southeast Asia.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK