Safuwan linked with MSL club PDRM
But LionsXII star still has one year left on his FAS contract
The LionsXII may have been disbanded after being booted out of competitions across the Causeway, but their star utility player Safuwan Baharudin could make a swift return to the Malaysian Super League (MSL).
Royal Malaysia Police club side PDRM FA have approached the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) in a bid to sign the 24-year-old.
Safuwan still has a year left on his current contract with the FAS, which could mean the Malaysian club have to pay a transfer fee for the player.
Speaking to The New Paper, PDRM FA secretary general Fuad Abu Zarim said: "Yes, we would like to sign Safuwan because we think he is a very good player, one of the best in the region, who can help us reach our target of winning at least one trophy next season."
Along with goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud and midfielder Hariss Harun, who helped Johor Darul Ta'zim I win the AFC Cup, Safuwan has been one of Singapore football's success stories this year.
Almost a year ago, TNP broke the story of Safuwan's A-League trial. He went on to become the first Singaporean to play in Australia's top flight, scoring two goals from six games during a two-month loan at for Melbourne City.
His versatility has been capitalised on not just by City, who deployed him at centre back, fullback and central midfield positions, but also by the LionsXII and the national team, with the lanky athlete now established as a key cog in the midfield engine room.
He has also enjoyed his most prolific season since turning professional in 2009, scoring 15 goals for club and country.
Safuwan, who has also been strongly linked with Selangor, is on holiday and was at PDRM's home ground Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday to watch Selangor beat Kedah 2-0 to win the Malaysia Cup.
He may yet stay in Singapore, though, as the FAS is keen to sign him on with the Courts Young Lions.
The S.League team will be switched from the national Under-23 side to the Under-21s next season and the FAS wants some senior stars to lead the youngsters.
The FAS believes such a move will allow the player to recharge before he joins the Singapore representatives in the Asean Super League, which is slated to kick off in 2017.
It also believes it will be easier for Safuwan to move if a top foreign club come in for him in the near future.
Safuwan, believed to be the highest paid player in the LionsXII at reportedly $15,000 per month, has already started discussions with the FAS.
On the possibility of releasing him from his current contract, an FAS spokesman said: "We have been discussing with Safuwan for the past few weeks on the best move forward for him to continue his development.
"The best interests of our players, including their welfare and development in the game, will always be a priority to us. An announcement will be made at a later time when details are confirmed."
PDRM FA are hardly one of the more fashionable outfits, but they are a club on the rise after recording their best finish - sixth - in the MSL.
With astute acquisitions like 20-goal MSL topscorer Dramane Traore and Maldives captain Ali Ashfaq, who is one of the nominees for best import in the annual M-League Awards, PDRM finished just four points adrift of runners-up Selangor.
They were troubled by financial issues, though, which led to players not being paid for three months.
However, Fuad assured that the players have been paid and that the club will run on a monthly budget of about RM1 million ($320,000) for the new season, retaining just one foreign player in Ali.
He said: "We ran into some issues as sponsors didn't pay us on time, but all have been settled.
"We will learn from the situation and spend within our means next season. We believe the signing of Safuwan should be within our budget as we plan to build a team of senior policeman footballers and the four imports.
"We are a small club, unlike the state-funded teams. If a big club like Selangor also want the player, then we cannot compete. We can only hope that our sincerity begets sincerity from the player."