CHIANG RAI – Former Brisbane Roar winger Henrique Silva is following in the footsteps of Mark Bridge by leaving the A-League for big spending Chiang Rai United in Thailand.
It will be a second foray into Asia for the 31-year-old, who had an unsuccessful stint with Malaysian second division club, Negeri Sembilan, last year.
And the Brazilian-born Silva, a naturalised Australian, should feel right at home. He joins a team led by Brazil’s former Buriram United head coach Alexandre Gama and four other Brazilian players in the squad.
Henrique certainly brings with him a winning record, having helped Brisbane Roar to three A League championships, but will have something to prove to Southeast Asian fans after flopping in Malaysia last year. He scored only one goal in 11 league appearances after arriving mid-season, as Negeri failed to achieve promotion.
Chiang Rai made the biggest statement of the transfer window by signing Muang Thong United’s defensive midfielder Tanaboon Kesarat for a record transfer fee of US$1.5m. They have also brought in several experienced Brazilians, including former Guangzhou R&F striker Rafael Coelho.
Henrique will soon meet a familiar face in Thailand as his former Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith enters his third season with Bangkok Glass.
After an active close season in the transfer market, many fancy Chiang Rai to push into the top five, with some even seeing them as dark horses for the title.
While Henrique adds quality and depth to the squad, Smith stressed that making it into the top five would not be easy.
The capture of Henrique is another reason why all eyes will be on the club from the north when they kick off their Thai League campaign at home to Super Power Samut Prakan on Feb. 11.
By Paul Murphy
Read Full Story Click Here