SINGAPORE - Former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant will leave Tampines Rovers at the end of the season, bringing an end to his nine-month sojourn in Singapore football.
The Stags' last match is the Singapore Cup final against Albirex Niigata on Saturday (Oct 29).
Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra confirmed the club had offered Pennant, 33, a new deal, albeit one with reduced terms, which the player turned down.
The former England Under-21 international is believed to be earning around $20,000 a month. He is understood to have received offers from back home, as well as from some South-east Asian clubs.
Krishna said: "Pennant has contributed greatly to the team in terms of the style of play and guiding younger players and has generated the hype needed to resuscitate interest in local football.
"But the club is looking at a revenue model that is sustainable. He politely considered our offer but ultimately we could not afford someone of his stature."
Pennant arrived in January to much fanfare. A pre-match friendly against Hougang United at the Jalan Besar Stadium attracted close to 2,000 fans, almost unheard of in local football. He was mobbed by adoring fans after the match, which Tampines won 2-0.
The season, however, did not pan out well for the Stags. The five-time S-League champions were expected to challenge for multiple honours with a star-studded squad that included Singapore internationals Izwan Mahbud and Shahdan Sulaiman.
Tampines finished second in the S-League, one point behind Albirex, although the Japanese club had sewn up the league with two games to spare. Albirex also knocked out Tampines in the League Cup semi-final.
On the continental stage, the Stags reached the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup quarter-final, the first time since 2008 for a local club. There, they were eliminated by India's Bengaluru FC.