Hougang United make approach for Singapore striker Khairul Amri
Cheetahs want national striker to boost firepower after signing Albirex's Shirota and retaining Kogure
They have never finished in the top half of the S.League or won any major silverware in local football.
But, buoyed by their best league finish of sixth place last season and a steady revenue stream, Hougang United are aiming higher next year, and the Hools could have a new hero to worship.
The New Paper can reveal that Hougang have set their sights on Singapore's No. 1 striker, Garena Young Lions' Khairul Amri to add that game-changing dose of firepower.
Hougang general manager Matthew Tay said: "It is clear from the Suzuki Cup and his recent performances that Amri still has a lot to offer in terms of goals and experience, which will definitely help our club.
"We would like to explore the option of signing Amri by discussing with the Football Association of Singapore about his availability as he still has one year left on his contract with them."
It is understood that Hougang have written in to the FAS two weeks ago about this matter.
As TNP reported yesterday, the Young Lions will comprise entirely players born in or after 1995 as they prepare for next year's SEA Games football competition, an Under-22 tournament.
As such, senior players such as Amri, Firdaus Kasman, Christopher van Huizen and Fareez Farhan will be free to sign for other clubs.
With 113 caps and 32 international goals, and returning from injury to net five times in nine S.League starts this year, 31-year-old Amri looks a right fit to solve the Cheetahs' scoring woes.
Last season, Hougang netted 33 times in 24 league games, more than only the bottom-two teams Balestier Khalsa and Garena Young Lions, who both scored 23 goals.
In the end, Hougang missed out on a historic AFC Cup spot in the run-in, losing their last three games with just one goal scored.
However, there is certainly no lack of ambition at Hougang for next season.
Despite the funding quantum and import quota uncertainties, they have moved swiftly to secure Albirex centre back Atsushi Shirota, one of the league's best defenders this year, as well as 2015 S.League Player of the Year, playmaker Fumiya Kogure for another season.
Key local players such as S.League Young Player of the Year Anumanthan Mohan Kumar, goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid and winger Iqbal Hamid Hussain are also retained, while creative midfielder Azhar Sairudin has been re-signed from Home United.
TNP also reported that the club had installed leather bucket seats in the two dugouts, and bought the Globus EuroGoal ball shooting machine which can deliver shots up to 140kmh or crosses with different trajectories and any desired spin effect for goalkeeper training.
With approval by Sport Singapore, the Hougang Stadium dressing rooms will also be refurbished to include bucket seats and a jacuzzi for the home team, while four containers will be converted into a meeting room and a recreation room.
These upgrades have not escaped an impressed Amri, who said: "Hougang are an ambitious club on the rise, with their efforts to sign good players and improve stadium facilities.
"I think this is the way to go for Singapore football.
"I'm flattered by their interest. There are some interest from local and foreign clubs, but no concrete offers yet.
"Like you saw in the Suzuki Cup, I feel fit, fresh and ready to contribute to any team I play for.
"I still have a few good years in me and I hope to sort out my future soon so I can look forward to contributing to my new team."