Hariss Harun to join Portuguese or Japanese club for a year
Lions star set to be loaned out by JDT, club agent says he's good enough for Primeira Liga
Three years ago, The New Paper broke the story that national football ace Hariss Harun turned down a move to Portuguese top-tier club Rio Ave, citing uncertainty over his National Service (NS) status.
In an amazing turn of events, the Lions midfielder could be headed for the Primeira Liga soon.
Last night, his Malaysian club Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) announced on Facebook that Hariss, who turned 26 last month, will be loaned to a Portuguese or Japanese club for a year.
Hariss, who joined JDT in 2014, was informed by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim (TMJ) and JDT coach Mario Gomez of their plans for him when he returned to pre-season training on Monday.
The Lions vice-captain told The New Paper yesterday: "For me, this is like a second calling.
"I still don't know which club I'll be loaned to, except that it will be either Portugal or Japan.
"I'm still waiting for more information. To be realistic, every year I get older, I feel like the chance (to play abroad in Europe) gets slimmer, but I never thought it was totally gone and still held on to that hope.
"And, by God's will, it has come and I really have to thank TMJ for giving me this opportunity."
Hariss, whose wife Syahirah Mohamad delivered their second baby last week, added he would continue to discuss the matter with his family, as he waits for more details.
Martin Prest, the agent who has helped JDT bring in numerous foreign imports including former Argentina star Pablo Aimar, backed Hariss to flourish in Portugal.
"For me, Hariss is a player who can play in the Primeira Liga in Portugal without any problem," the Argentinian told TNP last night.
"He has the right quality, is very disciplined and is a fantastic professional. He is at the right level to play in Europe.
"We are working on a few options, but maybe it is not the right time right now to name the clubs involved.
"But we are working on the situation for Hariss."
One of JDT's highest-paid players with a reported salary of US$30,000 (S$42,700) a month, his two-year contract ends next year.
He played a key role in JDT winning the Malaysian Super League title this season.
In a post on JDT's official Facebook page last night, a quote attributed to head coach Mario Gomez read: "... Hariss Harun is a good and disciplined player.
"He means a lot to the club and we will send him out to a Portuguese or Japanese club on a year-long loan.
"I'm sure at his current age, his playing ability will improve if he's given a chance to play at a higher level.
"He will be a valuable asset for the club in the future when he returns from the overseas club. At the moment, it is the best arrangement for the club."
The post also announced that Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz would be sold.
Diaz, also 26, scored 50 goals in 68 appearances over the past three seasons, but appeared to have fallen out with club management.
On Tuesday, he posted a Facebook status criticising the club, and "those who run it", adding that leaving the club would be the best decision for him.
In JDT's post last night, Gomez said of Diaz: "I have decided and the management has agreed to sell our foreign striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz because we have received a good offer for the club.
"He wants to stay here, but we cannot afford the new salary requested and we need to control the club's spending.
"Therefore, the decision to sell him is correct."