Khairul Amri returns to Tampines Rovers for 2017 S.League season
Tampines Rovers have significantly bolstered their attack for the 2017 season after confirming the signing of Singapore international Khairul Amri on a two-year deal.
And ESPN FC believes the club have agreed deals with striker Ivan Dzoni, who began his career at Croatian giants Hajduk Split, and South Korean defender Son Yong-chan from Philippine outfit Ceres FC, as well as an as-yet unnamed Japanese midfielder.
Amri, 31, widely regarded as one of the best strikers in Singapore football, had two previous spells with the Stags and last played for them in 2013.
He captained Garena Young Lions last year, but was hampered by injuries and managed to net only five goals in the S.League, although he did recover in time to lead the Singapore attack in their ill-fated AFF Suzuki Cup campaign.
"[Tampines Rovers] can confirm that Khairul Amri has signed [a] two-year contract with the club," announced the Stags on their official Instagram account.
His signing comes as a huge boost to Tampines coach Akbar Nawas' preparations for the upcoming campaign, especially since his attacking options have been hampered in recent times by injury.
Fazrul Nawaz is still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered last August, while a planned move for English attacker Louis Clark was called off after the former Kaya FC man injured his ankle in a freak mishap while jogging back in his homeland.
Tampines will be hoping Amri enjoys similar success as he did in his last stint at the club when he scored 12 goals in the S.Leagye to be the joint-top local scorer in 2013.
Prior to that, he also represented the Stags from 2008 to 2009 before earning a move to Indonesia when Persiba Balikpapan secured his services.
Amri is the second Singapore international whose services Tampines have secured in recent weeks, following in the footsteps of former Warriors defender Madhu Mohana.
With his squad for 2017 almost finalised, Akbar can now shift his focus fully on the start of the campaign, which begins on Jan. 23 when Tampines take on Global FC of Philippines in the first preliminary round of qualification for the AFC Champions League.
Should the Stags win that tie, they will still have to negotiate their way past Australia's Brisbane Roar and big-spending Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua if they are to compete in Asia's premier club competition proper.
In the event that they are eliminated at any stage of the qualifiers, Tampines are guaranteed a spot in the second-tier AFC Cup. They have been drawn in Group G alongside Ha Noi T&T of Vietnam, Malaysia Super League outfit FELDA United and Ceres.
Gabriel Tan is a TV and radio pundit who writes for ESPN FC and The New Paper on Southeast Asian football. Twitter: @gabetan13.