Vietnam ace Nguyen Quang Hai set to leave Hanoi FC on free transfer

HANOI, VIETNAM - FEBRUARY 01: Vietnams Nguyen Quang Hai (C) reacts after the FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier final round Group B match between Vietnam and China at My Dinh National stadium on February 01, 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Minh Hoang/Getty Images)

Vietnam star Nguyen Quang Hai is reportedly set to leave Hanoi FC on a free transfer when his current deal expires next month, after negotiations over an extension were said to have broken down.

Quang Hai, widely regarded as one of Asia's brightest prospects, has long been linked with a move abroad but has thus far spent his entire career at Hanoi, with the club holding a longstanding reluctance to part ways with their crown jewel.

- Vietnam run risk of wasting generational talent Quang Hai

Although Hanoi were in talks to getting the attacking midfielder to commit his future to them, reports emanating from Vietnam suggest that their attempts have thus far been futile -- with Quang Hai now said to have set his sights on a move to Europe once he becomes a free agent on April 12.

Now 24, Quang Hai rose the prominence with a series of starring performances that helped Vietnam reach the final of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship.

He followed that up with more influential displays as Vietnam finished fourth at the Asian Games and won the AFF Suzuki Cup that same year, before embarking on a dream run to the quarterfinals of AFC Asian Cup 2019.

Quang Hai's emergence has coincided with Vietnam's rise as one of the continent's powerhouses as they became one of 12 teams to reach the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, although they have since been eliminated after picking up just three points in eight matches.

Nonetheless, there is growing belief that Quang Hai needs to further his career overseas or risk his progress stagnating, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic effectively resulting in no domestic football being played in Vietnam in the second half of last year, although the 2022 V.League 1 season has since gotten underway.

Vietnam's current crop is widely regarded as a golden generation but none have yet been able to make waves abroad, with left-back Doan Van Hau failing to make a single Eredivisie appearance in his time with Heerenveen, while forward Nguyen Cong Phuong played just one league game for Sint-Truiden during a loan spell in Belgium.