Transfer News Southeast Asia

“Injured” Arques Leaves Kelantan for Jets

Former Kelantan FC captain Mario Arques has left the Red Warriors amidst their 2021 Malaysia Cup campaign for a move to A-League side Newcastle Jets over in Australia. The former Kerala Blasters playmaker’s transfer could cause some issues as Arques had mutually terminated his Kelantan contract due to an injury and a family emergency that requires Arques to fly back to his native Spain.

Both Kelantan and Arques mutually agree to end the latter’s contract with the Red Warriors on Monday. The Spanish midfielder had been nursing an injury and had to return to his home country as soon as possible as his father had been suffering from COVID-19.

Prior to his termination, Arques had been impressive for Kelantan, being appointed as club captain and scoring two goals as Kelantan finished 6th in the 2021 Liga Premier Malaysia season.

“Mario had been suffering an injury for quite some time and that led to his decision to terminate his contract in October of 2021. Furthermore, Mario’s father had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and he had to return to Spain immediately,” said an official statement from Kelantan’s social media channels, “We wish Mario’s father a speedy recovery and we hope that we can continue our good relations with Mario Arques. All the best, Mario!”

However, said good relations between Kelantan and Arques could potentially be soured as only days after his departure from the Red Warriors, Australian side Newcastle Jets announced that they had signed Arques for the upcoming 2021/22 A-League Men season.

Arthur Papas, the Jets’ new head coach, was a keen admirer of Arques. The two had crossed paths before in the 2017/18 Indian Super League season, with Papas serving as an assistant coach for NorthEast United while Arques was playing for Jamshedpur FC.

“I’ve known about Mario since he played in the Indian Super League,” said Papas, as quoted from the official Newcastle Jets website, “He is an elegant player who always wants the ball, has the ability to dictate the tempo of the game, and provides a very strong presence on set-pieces. We are looking forward to having him join the Jets.”

Arques himself was excited for the newest chapter in his footballing career, saying, “I’m very excited to be a Newcastle player and to give my everything in my upcoming season. I’m really thankful for the Club putting their trust in me…I’m looking forward to developing my game and learning from Arthur and all my teammates. My goal is to give 110% every game for the team and work hard every day to help get the team to the top.”

While players moving clubs is something that’s quite normal in football, the manner in which Arques had left Kelantan could potentially leave a bad taste in the mouth of not only the Kelantan management but also their adoring fans. Safe to say, the Spaniard is now viewed quite differently by the eyes of the Kelantan faithful.