Bye Gennady, Low
's retrenchment exercise came along much faster than most expected, with two of Grilled's brand-name attackers snapped up in a jiffy. Gennady Dvorak
, 33, and Low Aik Jia
, 31, would adopt new colours by the end of a busy trading day.
Dvorak, former Argentine youth international, hadn't taken long at all in establishing himself as a cult favourite at The Cooking Pot, but he would wind up staying just over two seasons here. It wasn't wasted by any means, though, and he would pick up 18 goals en route to the club Player of the Year award, in a stellar second season.
He would keep up a decent clip after that, having amassed twelve goals thus far in the current campaign, despite the Birds' horrific overall form. This includes a career milestone double century, obtained just three weeks ago in the 2-4 loss at Villains F.C..
The "Key Man
" only had good things to say about his stay, and emphasized that his decision to leave was made on purely professional grounds. "I accept the coaching staff's decision, and that left an immediate move as being in my best interests. At this age, I can't be sitting around waiting for my number to come up, I hope the fans understand."
Norwegian fifth division side tristsomfaen came in for Dvorak at Grilled's initial asking price of S$2.5 million, itself half a million more than what they had paid Club Atletico LaKachuCha. Dvorak would settle on German sixth division Ajax Neuhausen instead, however, as a replacement for the injured Giuseppe Caiuli, who was duly released to BOCA 02 PORUBA.
There was much less love lost between the club and the wantaway Low Aik Jia
, with the left winger having made no secret of his desire to leave for some time. While this was not totally unreasonable - as with Sandy Edmond and Ciro Penati before him, Grilled have had a habit of underplaying their all-out wingers - it was still considered an unprofessional attitude by large swathes of the club's support.
Low's devastating pace when interested was never in doubt, all said, and it was soon confirmed that he had cultivated talks with former Bulgarian national champions, Mostly Harmless. While they are currently floating about mid-table in Division Two, it always looked as if some penetration out wide would put them right back in contention, and Low promised just that.
Negotiations would fall through, unfortunately, but Low would secure a noteworthy move nonetheless, going to Indonesian third division leaders Luluak Rimbo H.C for S$4.3 million. Forty-seven goals in 140 appearances over ten seasons speaks for his ability, if the man himself deigned comment.
Bacelar wished both the best with their new clubs. "They have done a lot for Grilled in their time here, however it might have ended. More importantly, there's plenty of football in them yet, and it won't go to waste this way."
This leaves Grilled rather thin on the ground, of course, but according to Bacelar, they would not be rushing to acquire new blood. "We've been looking at Ireland's Robson Addison, for example, but a fee of over ten million, that's just crazy. The club is content to wait for value."