FIFA U17 World Cup: East Bengal reportedly closing in on India U17 star Jitendra Singh
What's the story?
Jitendra Singh, the India U17 star who was one of the many finds at the ongoing FIFA U17 World Cup, has been approached by three-times National League champions East Bengal potentially for a senior team contract, according to sources in the know.
In case you didn't know...
Jitendra hails from Kolkata and has been earlier felicitated by East Bengal before the tournament. The versatile defender has roots in Uttarakhand and is living in Kolkata due to his father's job. East Bengal are also chasing Rahim Ali and Abhijit Sarkar, two of the other India U17 stars for their signature. Indian Super League champions ATK are also rumoured to have been in touch with the Bengal-based India U17 stars.
The heart of the matter
India U17 defender Jitendra Singh was spotted in the East Bengal Club today in the senior team practice session and fans have seen him carrying East Bengal contract papers while departing as per unconfirmed reports.
Jitendra is one of the many players from the India U17 squad who have not yet signed a contract renewal with the AIFF for a place in the Delhi-based I-League side which would be fielded by AIFF as a rechristened version of the now defunct Pailan Arrows.
The players were offered ?50,000 per month by AIFF for one season but as clubs across Indian Super League and I-League are placing better offers, many of them may not end up with the AIFF after all.
The contract details offered by East Bengal are not yet clear and it is to be seen whether Jitendra signs on the dotted line as he awaits an NOC from the AIFF as his contract with the governing body expires on October 31st as per sources.
The I-League kicks-off in the first week of November as per reports and the official fixtures would be released on October 20th.
Jitendra may get better money from the big Kolkata side but his chances to start in the games compared to the possible starts he would get for the AIFF XI in the I-League may well be very low, so it would be a very tricky decision for the player to make.
Money stands out as the exemplary factor but much remains to be seen. As East Bengal had earlier felicitated the U17 star, he would have some inclination towards the Red and Golds.
Furthermore, the Red and Golds have reportedly released Trinidad and Tobago defender Carlyle Deon Mitchell after the player suffered a torn hamstring. To replace him, the club are closing in on two defenders from the Calcutta Football League for the upcoming I-League.
The addition of Jitendra can heal some of the defensive problems East Bengal have been facing throughout the years which have ultimately resulted in losing out on the I-League again last season.