National footballer Irfan Fandi has turned down a contract from Sporting Braga, The Straits Times reported.
The 21-year-old, who is the oldest son of local footballing hero Fandi Ahmad, was apparently offered a “two-plus-two” deal with the top tier Portuguese club’s Under-23 side after having undergone a successful two-week trial last month, where he played in two pre-season friendlies.
If Irfan had signed, he would join the club for an initial two years, before Braga decides if it would extend it by another two years.
The Straits Times contacted Fandi who confirmed the news but declined to comment. However, he added his son is still considering other offers and has attracted interest from Thai side Bangkok Glass, and Chilean sides Universidad Catolica and Deportivo Temuco.
Irfan spent spent two years at Catolica in 2014 and 2015, and maintained his ambition is to play in Europe so he would look for more opportunities when the European transfer window opens again next January.
Braga finished fourth in the 18-team Portuguese Primeira Liga last season. They achieved nine top-five finishes in the last 10 seasons and qualified seven times for the Europa League and twice for the Champions League during that period.
Irfan’s younger brother, 19-year-old striker Ikhsan, also went on trial with Braga; and the siblings scored the chance to try out for the Portuguese club after Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim introduced Fandi and his boys to top football agent Jorge Mendes and Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo when both were in Singapore on holiday in June.
This news comes not long after another Singaporean youth Ben Davis was offered the opportunity to ply his trade in Europe. Despite knowing his national service deferment had been rejected, the 17-year-old took the plunge to further his career by going ahead to sign for English Premier League side Fulham.