New Boy Paullin
Grilled's board heeded the advice of its youth coaches and sent a representative to Switzerland to try and lure their next big thing, 17 year-old Lorenz Paullin
, to Singapore. Having lost out earlier in the season on the hottest property in Thailand, Somchai Nimmarnoradee, Grilled were ready to deplete their reserves to secure him. To the club's relief, the youth of German-French ancestry was something of a hidden talent, having been drafted by Swiss Division Seven club Paradise Kickers in the pre-season and then appearing twice in central defence against FC East Side and FC SchuSchu in the league, performing adequately both times. Though Paradise Kickers lost both games, Paullin provided a mobile presence. At 1 a.m., the announcement went out that Paullin had agreed terms for S$6.5 million and a S$4 000 a week salary, making him the club's most expensive seventeen year old ever.
Grilled's European scout Andrew Jordan, who first spotted the lad, knew he had someone special on his hands ten minutes into the FC East Side game. "A contact alerted me to a possible in Basel, and since I was in Zurich at the time, I thought, hell, why not have a look?" Jordan and Grilled did not regret it. Videos were forwarded to the club's academy overnight, and the youth coaches were soon begging Arkadiy Bakunin to request that the player be bought. "He did well as a defender, but closer examination reveals a complete midfielder waiting to appear." Bakunin agreed. "He tired rather early into the match, but nothing a couple of seasons' worth of seasoning can't cure, and we can provide that."
With the supply of quality midfielders from the neighbourhood dried up, Grilled had only Au-Yong Siu-Yue
and Jon Andrea Rottman
to show off as the second generation midfield, with former hopefuls such as German teen Tim Blissenbach and Bulgarian Milen Kolesov
sold off and cast firmly into a supporting role respectively. "Grilled have a proud reputation of bringing up strong playmakers, and even Au-Yong and Rottman are 19 this season." Bakunin reasoned. "We needed a fresh face to be our hope for the future, and found it in Paullin. We would have preferred a Singaporean youth, of course, but none of sufficient quality appeared by our deadline. We then told our overseas scouts to follow up leads, and Switzerland looked a natural candidate for scouting as it has a large pool of recruits and Rottman is from there. Of course, we looked in England, Sweden, the US... all the big countries too."
The Paullin coup was further made easier by the fact that even his mother club put him on the transfer list as a defender. In the end, Grilled faced serious competition from only Swiss Division Three high-flyer Andi Schaffhausen, who pushed the bidding up to the region of S$6 million before throwing in the towel. Norway Division Four side Full Frontal Attack had bowed out much earlier at S$3.7 million. Bakunin as always was adamant that Grilled had not overpaid. "Six and a half million, in the end, is not too much for a guy who's close to the finished article. He's like Rottman when he first came, just a year younger. That's certainly worth the three and half million difference."
Paullin however was admitted to have a bit of diva attitude by his old club, though once on the pitch he becomes the ultimate professional. "A photo of him made him out to be slightly surly, but all the coaches agree it's what comes out in the game that counts. We'll give him a run-out in the next Cup game against total destruction and see how he fares."