Written by: AFP


Thailand defender Suree Sukha, seen here in May 2007, is set to complete a move to Manchester City. Suree will become the first Thai to play in the Premier League.

Thailand defender Suree Sukha, seen here in May 2007, is set to complete a move to Manchester City. Suree will become the first Thai to play in the Premier League.

BANGKOK (AFP) – A Thai football star will join Manchester City, owned by the kingdom’s ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, becoming the first Thai to play in the Premier League.

Suree Sukha, a 25-year-old defender, was chosen from three Thai players who were on a two-week trial, Thaksin’s lawyer Noppadon Pattama said Thursday.

“Suree will be the first Thai player to play in the Premier League. His work permit is now being processed,” the lawyer told reporters.

Thaksin has been living in exile in London since the military toppled his government nearly a year ago.

Since buying the team last month for 162.6 million dollars, he has said that he wants to bring Thai players to the club.

Noppadon denied that the team’s decision to sign Suree was a publicity stunt to boost Thaksin’s popularity at home, and insisted that the Thai player would be treated just like other international players.

He also said that Manchester City was planning an Asian tour that would include stops in Thailand as well as China, although Thaksin would not likely follow his team.

“It’s unlikely and would be inappropriate for Thaksin to travel with the team to Thailand, since there is still an outstanding warrant for his arrest,” Noppadon said.

Thailand issued a warrant for Thaksin’s arrest on August 14, after he ignored a summons to appear before the Supreme Court to face corruption charges.

Since his ouster, military-appointed corruption busters have been investigating a dozen claims of corruption against the billionaire premier, and frozen some 65 billion baht (1.9 billion dollars) of his assets.