Tampines eye former St Mirren striker Mehmet
Sundram looking for foreign targetman to beef up attacking force
TAMPINES ROVERS 1 (JORDAN WEBB 83)
JOHOR D TA'ZIM II 0
The revolving door at Tampines Rovers has not quite stopped spinning, yet.
Days after unveiling former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant as one of their imports for the new S.League season, the Stags are on the hunt for another foreigner, as coach V Sundramoorthy looks for a targetman to beef up his attack.
Speaking to The New Paper after Tampines' 1-0 win over Malaysian second-tier side Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) II last night at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the 50-year-old said: "Yes, I think we need an attacking player.
"I have someone in mind, but I'll have to consider a few things before we can do anything."
Presently, Tampines have only two natural strikers in their squad.
They are Fazrul Nawaz, who bagged 18 goals for Warriors FC to finish as the top local striker in the S.League last season, and former LionsXII man Sufian Anuar.
Besides Pennant, Tampines have also signed Canadian forward Jordan Webb and South Korean defender Kwon Jun.
But it is understood Kwon will feature only in the AFC Cup, meaning there is still a foreign slot left for Sundram's S.League squad.
Philip Lund, the Danish forward who was on trial at the club alongside Pennant two weeks ago, is one of those in contention.
The former Denmark Under-19 international played in the Stags' 2-0 pre-season friendly win over Hougang and, even though he has since returned home because of personal matters, it is understood he is not off the club's radar.
Another name linked to Tampines is former Sarawak FA striker Billy Mehmet.
The 31-year-old Englishman, who has played for the likes of Scottish side St Mirren, Turkish outfit Genclerbirligi and Perth Glory in the A-League, stands at an imposing 1.89m and would provide some much-needed physicality to the Stags' frontline.
He also has experience in the region, having scored 25 goals in the past two seasons for Malaysian sides Kedah FA and then Sarawak FA.
Two former Perak FA forwards, Brazilian Chad Souza, who stands at 1.87m, and South Korean Namkung Woong, who is 1.81m tall, are also possible targets after leaving the Silver State at the end of last season.
Like Mehmet, both players are also strong in the air.
Judging by Tampines' friendly against JDT II last night, signing another striker would be a shrewd move by Sundram.
While the Stags looked comfortable in possession, with midfielder Yasir Hanapi particularly impressive, they lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
But the second-half introductions of Pennant and Webb, along with winger Christopher van Huizen, helped inject some verve into their attack.
THE JJ CONNECTION: Tampines’ star signing Jermaine Pennant (above) provided an assist for the second game running, crossing for Jordan Webb (below) to head in the winner against Johor Darul Ta’zim II last night. TNP PHOTOS: JONATHAN CHOO
It was Pennant who played the smart cross off a free-kick for Webb to head home the winner in the 83rd minute.
The match was Tampines' final tune-up before an Asian Champions League play-off against India's Mohun Bagan in Kolkata next Wednesday.
Said Sundram: "It was a good game for us to prepare for Mohun Bagan.
"The boys have not played a lot of football for some time, and it took some time for us to get in control of the ball.
"But they did well, and I think we should be ready for our match next week."