KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan has turned his back on Super League side Kuala Lumpur and accepted a last-minute offer from Thai league top guns Muangthong United.
This development came as a major blow to KL coach Fabio Maciel, who had been set to welcome the centre-back into his squad ahead for the 2018 season.
Baihakki, 33, was due to arrive in Kuala Lumpur today to sign with the city team but he will now head to Bangkok to finalise terms with Muangthong instead, and in time to face his former club, Johor Darul Ta'zim in an AFC Champions League qualifying match on Jan 23.
Maciel is now left in the lurch with a gaping hole in his defence to fill as KL continue their search for a fifth foreign player.
"Baihakki informed us today that he will not be joining KL after receiving an offer last night to play for Muangthong," said Kuala Lumpur FA general secretary Nokman Mustaffa today.
"The lure of playing in the Champions League may have been too good to refuse (for Baihakki).
"But this has left us in a difficult situation as there are hardly any options left to sign an Asean import player for the centre-back position.”
Newly-promoted KL may turn their attention to Indonesia again after failing to sign Achmad Jufriyanto from Persib Bandung.
The team will leave for Yogyakarta on Monday to play three friendly matches there while also to scout for a player to sign.
KL, last year’s Premier League champions, currently have Uzbek defender Boburjon Akbarov and locals Hisyamuddin Shaari and Saifulnizam Miswan as options for central defence.