Tampines Rovers' Shahdan set to sign for Melaka United in transfer twist

Shahdan Sulaiman is close to signing for Malaysia Super League (MSL) side Melaka United and will take up their ASEAN import slot in 2018, despite the club trialing his national teammates Faris Ramli and Hafiz Sujad

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Faris made an instant impression by scoring a brace, while Hafiz also scored the opening goal as the Hang Tuah thrashed second-tier UKM FC 6-0 in a friendly on Thursday night. 

However it appeared that the club has decided against signing either player and opted to sign Shahdan instead. 

FourFourTwo understands that the deal is more or less confirmed, with Shahdan set to put pen to paper in the next few days

According to the Sukan Sinar Facebook page, Melaka vice-president Datuk Yusoff Mahadi said Faris and Hafiz were not selected as they needed a central midfielder to fill the ASEAN import slot. 

Shahdan fits the bill perfectly with his playmaking ability and superb range of passing. The 29-year-old was part of Singapore's 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup and the LionsXII's 2015 Malaysia FA Cup winning teams. 

The elegant midfielder, who has 52 Singapore caps, scored six goals for Tampines Rovers in 2017. 

FourFourTwo understands that the deal is more or less confirmed, with Shahdan set to put pen to paper in the next few days. 

He will be Melaka's fourth import player in 2018, with the club also signing French centre-back Steven Thicot and Portuguese midfielder Tiago Gomes to join the retained South Korea midfielder Jeon Woo-Young. 

Melaka finished eighth in the MSL last season after back-to-back promotions from the 2015 Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) League and the 2016 Malaysia Premier League.

Shahdan will join national teammates Madhu Mohana (Negeri Sembilan), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang FA) as well as Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim) in the MSL in 2018, becoming the seventh Singapore international to ply their trade overseas next season. 

The other three are in Thailand, with the nation's top two keepers Hassan Sunny (Army United) and Izwan Mahbud (Nongbua Pitchaya) in T2 while midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin is now with T1 side Chonburi. 

Photos: S.League