certainly didn't dwell on Sim Leng Cheng, as he raided the piggybank for -= Manchester United =-'s Russian forward Nurlan Ablaev
. The S$12 million transfer came with a catch, though - the 28 year-old will likely be unavailable for a fortnight, due to the hit to the right knee he took against Real Balmoral.
This didn't trouble Sikong Darong
, who saw it as an opportunity to prise talent at a reasonable price. "Our team has been lacking a robust, versatile attacker on the top of his game, and Nurlan fits the bill perfectly. We all know what he's capable of, and waiting a bit isn't much, in the greater scheme."
Ablaev had gotten mostly rave reviews since his arrival from his hometown St. Petersburg club Tigr just under a year ago, as the freshly-promoted Division Two side looked to realign their squad. Grilled can definitely attest to his effectiveness, and while Ablaev has not scored on the Birds in his three appearances against them, he had been instrumental in United's 4-1 home win last season.
Only Ablaev and his former Tigr teammate and close pal Sergey Korobkov fit Sikong's exacting definition of a complete dedicated modern forward, and the latter's S$16.1 million move to Belgian fourth division club Marietjes footballteam - with competing bids by Karlsruher~SC and Berlin_ - all but made Sikong's decision for him.
"The team needs a do-it-all, basically. Flexible, but still excellent at offering a threat from the wing, excellent at shooting, excellent everything related to getting defenders worried. There are fewer of these guys around than you may think, and I fully expect Nurlan to make our Number Eight shirt iconic in his time here."