Hassan Sunny's overseas twist and turn
Singapore's No. 1 Hassan Sunny could have both his dreams of playing for a foreign club and training with a Premiership side come true.
The New Paper understands that Thailand Premier League side Army United are interested in signing the goalkeeper for the 2015 season.
First, Hassan would have to undergo a trial. Not in Thailand, though, but with Leicester City in England.
Both Leicester and Army United are owned by Thailand's travel retail group, King Power International. The company finances the foreign players at the Thai club.
Speaking to TNP yesterday while on vacation with his family in London, Hassan confirmed he was recently contacted by Army United head coach Gary Stevens, who is keen to sign the 30-year-old after seeing him in action for Singapore during the recent AFF Suzuki Cup.
But Stevens, a former England international, later informed him that the Thai club's management are not keen on signing a foreign goalkeeper. However, he suggested that Hassan go on trial at Army United's affiliate club Leicester to convince selectors in England first.
Hassan explained that Leicester's academy director, Jon Rudkin, through the urging of Stevens and Singapore's goalkeeping coach John Burridge, is planning to offer him a 10-day trial at the club.
If he impresses, Rudkin will convince Army United to complete the signing.
Said Hassan: "This all started thanks to coach Burridge.
"Since June, I've been telling him about my intention to play overseas next year, and he's been tirelessly helping me find opportunities.
"Even when he heard that Army United were not keen on a foreign goalkeeper, he contacted Rudkins to offer me a trial."
Hassan, who was crowned the S.League's Best Player last season after helping Warriors FC win the league title, has yet to receive an official invitation from the English club though.
He recently joined S.League club Tampines Rovers, after his contract with the Warriors expired last month.
His deal with the Stags, however, includes a clause which allows him to leave for a foreign side.
He said: "Of course, I hope things go through for me, but I don't want to put too much hope into it.
"If it happens, it happens.
"I'm grateful to Tampines for allowing me to pursue this opportunity. Not many clubs would have granted this kind of exemption."
Hassan is keeping his fingers crossed that a deal can be struck eventually, as it has always been his dream to play for an overseas outfit.
The Thai top-flight club, which finished ninth in the 18-team league last season, have sold their first-choice goalkeeper and still have one foreigner slot available.
"If I don't hear anything from Army United by Jan 2, then I'll report for training with Tampines, no problem," he said.
Should the Leicester stint materialise, Hassan will be the third Singapore goalkeeper to train with an English side.
In 2000, S-League club Geylang sent goalkeepers Shahril Jantan and Lionel Lewis to Arsenal. Lewis also trained with Manchester City in 2007.