Football Tribe Malaysia
Johor Darul Ta’zim FC (JDT) announced the signing of Matthew Davies from league rivals Pahang on a three-year deal.
The 25-year-old right-back joined the Malaysian league champion for an undisclosed fee, reportedly in the region of RM1 to 2 million.
It was reported that JDT decided to make a move for the Pahang captain after they were beaten 5-1 by Vissel Kobe in the opening match of AFC Champions League, to replace the aging 33-year-old S. Kunanlan and the injured Azrif Nasrulhaq Badrul Hashim.
During the unveiling ceremony, JDT club owner, Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said Davies is the symbol of the club’s long-term investment.
“We have been keeping a close watch on him for the last three to four years but we decided to let him get experience with Pahang before joining JDT.
“It’s a great investment because he is just 25 years old and it’s a long term investment for JDT to improve the team.
“We are grateful that there is a player who has a professional attitude and quality in our team.”
JDT coach Benjamin Mora is relieved that his side no longer have to face Davies.
“Davies is a well known Malaysian footballer. He was a good player with Pahang and achieved good results with them. He gave us many headaches in the past years playing for Pahang as he is one of the best right-backs.”
Davies has been with the Pahang team for five years, captained the Elephant Army when he was just 21 and led them to FA Cup glory in 2018, becoming the youngest skipper to lift the trophy.
But a chance to join a giant club like JDT proved too strong for the Malaysian international.
“For a footballer, we want to surround ourselves with best footballers around and JDT have that,” Davies said.
“I know some of their players very well as we all play in the national team. I will contribute to JDT’s on-going success, as a brand and football club. I am excited to work with my new manager and coach.”
“For sure, it’s a little difficult because we have less than two weeks before the season starts. I played with them (JDT players) a lot in the national team, so I know more than half of them.”
“I have to adapt to the style, expectations and the pace JDT have set.”
JDT will kickstart their title defense in the curtain-raiser Charity Shield match against FA Cup winners Kedah on Feb 28