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Baihakki Khaizan to join Thai giants Muang Thong after KL U-turn

As a dismal 2017 for Singapore football draws to a close, John Wilkinson joins Jason Dasey to reveal his hopes for 2018.

Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan has apparently performed a stunning U-turn by joining Thai League club Muang Thong United, just days after appearing to agree a deal with Kuala Lumpur FC.

The 33-year-old had originally been close to a move to Jeddah FC in Saudi Arabia after a successful trial.

He then seemed set for a return to Malaysia, having previously played for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) and JDT II.

But a phone call from Muang Thong changed all of that, and Baihakki now seems set for Thailand instead of Malaysia.

KL coach Fabio Magrao could not hide his disappointment over the defender's unexpected change of heart.

Baihakki Khaizan, left, changed his mind about signing with newly promoted Kuala Lumpur.

"I'm very disappointed that Baihakki won't be joining Kuala Lumpur for this season," Magrao said.

"He had given me his word that he would be joining us, but changed his mind. He used us like an auction and I don't think it is ethical to do this.

"My mother taught me that you should always be true to your word, and he hasn't done that."

However, Baihakki insisted that the last-gasp approach from the four-time Thai champions was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"When I got the call [from Muang Thong] on Tuesday night, I was stunned, just like how I felt when Jeddah told me they wanted me," Baihakki told The Straits Times. "It is extraordinary.

"I had already started having thoughts of preparing for life after football. But this shows that in life, you cannot predict anything. I just feel very thankful."

SCG Muangthong United grand opening ceremony 2018.

A post shared by SCG Muangthong United (@muangthongunited) on

The Thai giants are reeling from the loss of three of their top players, with Teerasil Dangda and Theerathon Bunmathan heading to Japan on loan, while goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan has joined Belgian club OH Leuven.

Star playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin had already departed on an 18-month loan to Consadole Sapporo last year, leaving the squad seriously weakened.

The arrival of the 129-capped Singapore centre-back may not be a signing to get the fans excited, but he should provide solid cover at the back.

He fills the club's ASEAN quota spot, putting an end to rumours that Vietnam skipper Nguyen Van Quyet was set for a move to the Kirins.

While he might not be playing his football in Malaysia this year, he may soon get the chance to face his former club as Muang Thong face JDT in an AFC Champions League qualifier on Jan. 23.

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