He was set to be the first Singaporean footballer to play professionally in Spain, but Hariss Harun has instead returned to Singapore after two weeks - with zero minutes on the field for Spanish club Centre d'Esports L'Hospitalet.
The 26-year-old midfielder will be unveiled today as Home United's newest and most surprising signing for the 2017 S-League season.
The Lions vice-captain left for Europe on Feb 23 after his Malaysian parent club Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) agreed a one-year loan deal with the Group 3 Segunda Division B outfit. But an administrative hiccup on L'Hospitalet's end has shortened his stint, JDT sports director Alistair Edwards explained yesterday on the club's Facebook page.
"During the registration process the Spanish club became aware that they weren't able to sign any further players until an existing tax liability is settled," he wrote. "This tax liability will be settled in time for Hariss to officially rejoin CE L'Hospitalet at the commencement of pre-season training in June."
It is understood that Hariss will be with Home for at least three months. He could stay on if problems in the paperwork to finalise his move to Spain persists. He could not return to JDT as the club had filled their foreign player quota and was not registered in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) squad.
He played for the Young Lions from 2007 to 2011 in the S-League and will add quality to the Protectors' engine room.
Home, who have won both their league games so far this season, welcomed Hariss in a Facebook post last night. It added: "With the signing of Hariss Harun, playing alongside attacking midfielders like Faris Ramli and Adam Swandi, our fans can expect exciting fast-paced and combative style football from The Protectors this season."
Hariss could make his Home debut as soon as Tuesday's AFC Cup match against Vietnam's Than Quang Ninh at Jalan Besar Stadium.