Le Cong Vinh to stay in Vietnam

J2 League side Consadole Sapporo, who had loaned the Song Lam Nghe An striker, returned with a permanent offer but the club has rejected them
After much deliberation, Vietnam side Song Lam Nghe An has rejected J2 League side Consadole Sapporo’s US$240,000 (SGD$304,000) offer for striker Le Cong Vinh.

The 28-year-old, who was on loan at the Japanese side for four months recently, will stay at his parent club to prepare for the upcoming Vietnamese league season.

SLNA club director Nguen Hong Thanh has also declared that Le is no longer for sale even if bigger offers are forthcoming.

“I have also learnt that Consadole Sapporo are willing to pay even US$300,000, but money is not everything," Nguen told Tuoi Tre News.

"We will love to see Le Cong Vinh stay and be our team captain. We won't sell him at any cost."

Although Sapporo’s bid of had triggered a release clause in Le’s contract allowing them to discuss terms, Le had preferred to stay in Vietnam, according to Nguen.

"Moreover, Cong Vinh himself has the right to leave (by ending the current contract) but he chose to stay with us for the last year on his contract and we respect his decision," Nguen explained.

However Le, who has 56 caps and 31 goals for the Vietnamese national team, did not close the door on a future move, although he cited his roots to the club as a reason to return to his first club.

"It's a lie if saying I don't regret not moving to Japan," Le said.

"Nevertheless, I want to contribute to my hometown club for the remaining year on the contract. Afterwards, I will consider my options."

The three-time Vietnamese Golden Ball winner was reportedly offered a salary of US$10,000 if he chose to remain in Japan.

Le had scored four goals in 11 appearances in his club’s failed attempt to secure promotion to Japan’s top tier.

Before his move to Japan, Le had said he hoped to prove himself and to set an example for young players.

He is also the first ever Vietnamese footballer to play in a professional European league having played for Portuguese side Leixoes in 2009.

In addition, Le also holds the record for most number of goals scored in the V-league.