Southeast Asia Indonesia

Theerathon Linked with Persebaya Move

With the Liga 1 Indonesia set to adopt an ASEAN quota for their foreign player lineup next season, rumors have started to spread on which ASEAN talent will join the Liga 1 for the 2023/24 campaign. One such talent was Theerathon Bunmathan, who was linked with a potential shock move to Persebaya Surabaya.

Left-back Theerathon continues to show his worth as one of Southeast Asia’s finest after returning to Buriram United from his adventures at J.League 1 giants Yokohama F. Marinos, being an integral part of a Buriram side dominating the domestic scene this season.

Despite being tied down to a contract that sees him staying at the Chang Arena until the end of 2025, that did not stop several Indonesian football accounts on social media from linking him to Persebaya as part of the Bajul Ijo‘s squad for next season, as the Liga 1 follows on the footsteps of the Thai League 1 and the Liga Super Malaysia in providing a special quota for players from the ASEAN region.

Theerathon himself poured more fuel into the flames by commenting a green heart and a crocodile emoji on some of the posts linking him to Persebaya, leaving the club’s supporters salivating at the chance to see Southeast Asia’s best left-back representing their club.

When asked about this rumor, Persebaya manager Yahya Alkatiri decided to be coy and refused to elaborate further on his team’s plans in preparing for the 2023/24 season. Yahya only told the media that Persebaya has started to think ahead for the new season, with players such as Sho Yamamoto and Ze Valente having secured contract extensions until 2025.

“Just wait,” Yahya told Disway when asked about Persebaya’s potential new foreign recruits, “We won’t disclose their names just yet.”

Other than Theerathon to Persebaya, Indonesian football accounts have linked another Thailand international in Tristan Do as well as Singapore’s Song Ui-young to a move to the Bajul Ijo, while Filipino defender Kike Linares has been linked to a move to PSM Makassar. PSS Sleman, on the other hand, are rumored to be observing another Filipino player in Hikaru Minegishi as a potential addition to their squad.

ASEAN stars have previously shown some success in the Indonesian leagues, with Singaporean internationals Noh Alam Shah and Muhammad Ridhuan winning the 2009/10 Liga Super Indonesia with Arema Indonesia and Thai internationals Suchao Nuchnum and Sintaweechai Hathairattanakool establishing themselves as fan-favorites while out on loan at Persib Bandung in the 2009/10 season.

Persib seems to have a love affair with ASEAN players, as Filipino internationals Omid Nazari (2019-20) and Daisuke Sato (2022-present) has established themselves as fan-favorites at the Maung Bandung, while the aforementioned Alam Shah also had a spell at Persib in 2012.