Singapore - Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant signed with a
Singapore football club on Tuesday, hoping to revive what was once one of
the game's most promising careers and boost the ailing local
The 33-year-old reformed wild boy joined Tampines Rovers, five-time winners of the local S-League, under a one-year contract.
Tampines chairperson Krishna Ramachandra would not give details of his salary, telling reporters only it was a "sexy" figure.
The Straits Times newspaper said last week that Pennant would be paid
about $28 000 a month, or less than a quarter of his last
drawn salary with Wigan Athletic.
His salary could rise with bonuses related to his number of
appearances, performance and team's achievements, state broadcaster
Channel NewsAsia reported.
Despite the hefty cut, Pennant will be the highest paid player in the
S-League's 21-year history. He was also presented with a car at the
"No matter where you go in the world, it's always a great chance to
prove yourself, no matter the level," said Pennant, who has insisted
that his wild days are behind him following the birth of his son in
"I don't look at it as lesser league, it's just another chapter in my
career," Pennant added, referring to the S-League, which has suffered
from waning attendances.
Pennant will don the number nine jersey for Tampines, the league's runners-up last season.
The winger, approaching the tail-end of his once-promising career, had been on trial with the club since arriving on January 7.
"The financial component (of the contract) is one not typical to what
we traditionally pay our players. We've been fortunate that a couple of
sponsors have stepped up to absorb the cost associated with the signing
on," Ramachandra told AFP last week.
Team officials hope Pennant's star appeal can help revitalise the
S-League, which has seen dwindling attendances since crowds of 30 000
packed the stands during the inaugural season in 1996.
"It will inject more confidence into the fan base. In the long term,
this is the necessary fillip that Singapore football has needed,"
Ahead of Tuesday's signing, a Facebook fan page for Pennant was set up.
Pennant was England's most expensive teenager when he was snapped up
for £2 million by Arsenal as a precocious 15-year-old.
He was acquired by Liverpool in 2006 for £6.7 million.
He later featured for a number of clubs including Stoke City, Wolves, Wigan and Spanish side Real Zaragoza.
But Pennant's career was marred by his off-pitch misdemeanours, including disciplinary issues and drink-driving convictions.
In 2005, while on loan from Arsenal at Birmingham City, Pennant
played wearing an electronic tag after being freed from jail for
Despite his chequered past, Ramachandra has been impressed by the player, describing him as a "total professional".
Before arriving in Singapore, Pennant also had a spell with Pune City
in India and tried out with Thai Premier League outfit Muangthong