Football: Baihakki to sign for Thai giants Muangthong United after rejecting offer from Saudi club

Footballer Baihakki Khaizan (centre, pictured in 2016) will sign for Thai team Muangthong, considered one of the top clubs in the country.
Footballer Baihakki Khaizan (centre, pictured in 2016) will sign for Thai team Muangthong, considered one of the top clubs in the country. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - In a stunning twist, Singapore footballer Baihakki Khaizan is set to sign for Thai giants Muangthong United.

The veteran defender, who turns 34 at the end of the month and has been capped 129 times by Singapore, confirmed the impending move with The Straits Times on Thursday (Jan 11).

He will fly to Bangkok on Friday to put pen to paper on a one-year deal.

The Straits Times had reported last week that he was mulling an offer from Saudi Arabian second-tier side Jeddah Club, where he had impressed on trial last month.

However, he could not agree on terms with Jeddah, and was close to signing for Malaysian Super League side Kuala Lumpur FA instead.

But an 11th-hour offer from Muangthong changed all that.

Baihakki told The Straits Times: "When I got the call (from the Muangthong official) on Tuesday night, I was stunned, just like how I felt when Jeddah told me they wanted me. It is extraordinary."

Muangthong finished second in the Thai top division last season, and are considered one of the country's top clubs, having lifted the domestic title four times in the last nine seasons.

In fact, the only time they finished outside the top three in the last nine seasons was in 2014, when they finished fifth.

The Twin Qilins, as the club are nicknamed, are also a force to be reckoned with on the continental stage, and reached the final 16 of the AFC Asian Champions League last season.

ST understands Muangthong moved for Baihakki to fill their Asean player quota, after Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Quyet turned them down in favour of a move to Malaysian side Kedah FA.

Baihakki says his impending move to Thailand has rejuvenated him.

"I had already started having thoughts of preparing for life after football," he said.

"But this shows that in life, you cannot predict anything.

"I just feel very thankful."