Hariss' European dream vanishing fast
Lions midfield star admits to feeling unsettled as European transfer windows close
With the transfer windows of most European countries closing this morning (Singapore time), time is running out for Singapore midfield general Hariss Harun to secure a dream loan move from Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) to the continent.
While he is still training with the first team, the 26-year-old's season ahead looks to be in limbo as JDT have already filled their import quota with four other foreigners.
This means, in the worst-case scenario, Hariss could go an entire season without playing a single competitive match.
Hariss admitted he is feeling unsettled and anxious, although he still retains full faith in the club to sort out his future.
"It's unsettling for sure, because the season has started and I'm not playing," he told The New Paper.
"But I have had conversations with JDT officials and I believe they will work something out for me."
Despite several attempts, TNP could not reach JDT sports director Alistair Edwards for clarification about Hariss' situation.
Martin Prest, the agent who has helped JDT bring in numerous foreign imports, including former Argentina star Pablo Aimar, did reveal they have looked at clubs in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus as possible destinations for Hariss.
But most of the leagues abide by the Jan 31 deadline, with only the Portuguese league's transfer window closing tomorrow.
On Dec 14, JDT announced on their social media platforms that Hariss would be loaned to a Portuguese or Japanese club for a year, posting: "Hariss Harun is a good and disciplined player. He means a lot to the club... 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."
However, these comments were attributed to coach Mario Gomez, who was surprisingly replaced by JDT II's Benjamin Mora just two days before the start of the Malaysian Super League (MSL) season two weeks ago.
The J.League remains a possibility, as the new season is yet to kick off and its transfer window only closes on March 31.
Hariss said: "Ideally, I would love to test myself in a strong European league, but the J.League is the top league in Asia, so I would be keen too, as long as I can continue to play at a high level."
Since bursting onto the scene as a teenager and becoming Singapore's youngest international at 16 years and 217 days, Hariss has been one of the Republic's most consistent and professional players.
After winning the MSL with the LionsXII in 2013, he was recruited by JDT, who have won three consecutive league titles since Hariss joined.
He was also a key member of JDT's historic AFC Cup-winning team in 2015, after which he signed a two-year contract extension, which runs until the end of this year.