Livingston manager David Martindale says he can’t stand in the way of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas as the Arsenal academy graduate looks set for a return to Asia.

The striker arrived in West Lothian at the start of the season, having not played a competitive match in over a year following a spell with PTT Rayong FC, based in Thailand. He has enjoyed a successful career in English football with clubs like Arsenal and Bristol City most prominently.

The former Arsenal striker will leave Livingston in the summer.

The former Arsenal striker will leave Livingston in the summer. (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group via Getty Images)

But now Asia looks like the destination for him again. The striker scored his ninth goal of the season on Saturday as Livingston lost 2-1 to Aberdeen, Emmanuel-Thomas’ third goal in as many games. While a fee would come their way if the 30-year-old was to move to a club in the UK, Martindale says they’ll lose the former Arsenal striker for free.

He said: “Big Jay will be away in the summer, I’ve spoke to him. I have a gentleman’s agreement with Jay. He can’t activate the extra automatic clause so I have asked the big man if he can give me everything he has got.

“He’s looking to get away and I am more than happy to do that. He’ll be away in the summer but I’ve spoke before of him having offers in Asia – China or Thailand – and we only have Jay because of Covid if I am honest.

“He had to come back to the UK because of the pandemic and the wages the big man can earn elsewhere… I wouldn’t keep him here. I wouldn’t do that to him and I won’t even try to do that to him. If he was to go to a club in England or Scotland we would be due a fee but I’m more than happy to do this for the big guy.”

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