Lion City Sailors have unveiled forward Richairo Živković as their second signing of the 2023 Singapore Premier League (SPL) mid-season transfer window, adding firepower to the club’s concerted challenge for the SPL title and pursuit of improved performances at the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) top-tier club competition, the AFC Champions League (ACL).

Joining on a one-year contract, Richairo’s attacking verve provides balance to the defensive solidarity brought to the Sailors by Sunderland cult hero, Bailey Wright, the club’s first signing during the window. 

The 26-year-old Richairo won the Serbian league and Cup double with Red Star Belgrade in the 2021/22 season, before returning to the Eredivisie with FC Emmen. It was in the Dutch top tier that Richairo first burst onto the scene, with FC Groningen, scoring 11 goals in 37 appearances as a 17-year-old before signing for Ajax Amsterdam in 2014. 

Born in the Netherlands, Richairo plays international football for Curaçao, last turning out for the Dutch Caribbean nation located some 70 km north of Venezuela in a March friendly against Lionel Messi and his FIFA World Cup champions, Argentina.

“Richairo gives us an additional dimension to our attack with his speed and instinctive goal-scoring ability. I’m confident that he will pose big problems to opposition defences and help us get the goals we need in our push for the league title,” said Sailors Head Coach Aleksandar Ranković of his 1.87m new signing. 

“He perhaps doesn’t get as much credit for the aerial prowess that he also possesses, and with the top-level football experience he brings from his time in Europe, we’re all looking forward to seeing him pull on the Sailors shirt as soon as possible.” 

In addition to turning out for Sheffield United in the English Premier League in 2020, Richairo also has played in the UEFA Champions League with Ajax and Europa League experience with Red Star. 

“This is a project with a clear vision all the way from the Academy to the First Team, and that’s one aspect that I really like, and feel that I can get behind – it was easy for me to come to a decision once I found out what the Sailors are about,” said Richairo. 

“The Training Centre is a fantastic facility, and I can’t wait to get onto the pitch with my teammates, play some good football, score goals, entertain our fans and win trophies – that’s also why I signed up to be a Sailor.”

Richairo joins a squad already bursting at the seams with European pedigree, alongside Belgian Maxime Lestienne who leads the SPL in goals and assists, former Rio Ave midfielder Diego Lopes, and Wright. 

And he is raring to go.

“I’m here to score goals and help the team with my experience. With the solid squad that we have here, I believe we can definitely win the league and do well in the ACL.”