Liang Comes Home
is not one to get a run of success get to his head, as he continued plotting Grilled's future with the S$3.8 million capture of 21 year-old centreback Liang Liyong
, who has represented Singapore at the U-20 level in 1-1 draws against Argentina and Iceland a few months ago.
"Defence is one area we've neglected, in relative terms, and there have been several great candidates on the market recently - Tampines Phoenixes' Fu Tingyi went to Tanglin Winners FC for S$3.5 million, for example, Heng Hui Loong was another one, while Othman bin Saad and Yong Jie Leng, both very close to making the national side, were well outside our budget."
Liang came up through the youth side of the now-defunct Reverse Football Team, and immediately moved to then-Portuguese Division Seven club The Return of Coxos FC, where he blossomed despite the surfeit of defenders. Coxos' declaration of his availability brought offers from Liversea FC (Swiss Division Six), Excelsior Zetten (Dutch Division Six) and Bullet from Hell (Czech Division Six), but there was no doubt in his mind once Grilled came in.
"It's been wonderful in Portugal, but it is also hard being away from family for this long." Liang explained. "My mother never stopped pestering me to find a club closer to home, and Grilled's interest came at exactly the right time."
For all his likeability during his first interview, it is well known that Liang is an uncompromising, sometimes even whispered to be dirty, competitor on the pitch - a little like veteran Lin Jungui
. His arrival, coming so soon after Ling Fuquan
's, does however mean that the Birds now have five senior defenders fighting for two spots, and it seems likely that Walter Ross
, and maybe even captain Qassem Madaini
, will have to look at an exit.