Indian Football: Bengaluru FC close in on Ashique Kuruniyan signing
It is understood that Bengaluru will pay a transfer fee of ₹70 lakh to Pune, after reaching an agreement with the Stallions to sign a player that they have admired for a long time now.
Kuruniyan's transfer is a much-needed financial boost for the embattled Pune City, who were recently also hit with a fine and a transfer ban by the AIFF, after being found to have illegally approached Chennai City FC's Nestor Gordillo.
Kuruniyan has also been deployed as a wing-back in a 3-5-2 formation, along with leading the line for India at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, when coach Stephen Constantine preferred his speed over Jeje Lalpekhlua, who was in a poor run of form at the time.
Kuruniyan will become the fourth Indian player to sign for Bengaluru in this transfer window. The Blues had earlier signed the Indian Arrows duo Suresh Singh Wangjam and Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, and also announced the return of Bengaluru favourite Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
The 22-year-old, who has been injured since the end of the last ISL season, has reportedly been at Bengaluru's residential facility in Bellary for his rehabilitation, former Pune head coach Pradhyum Reddy mentioned in an interview.
The defending champions of the ISL also have at least one more available slot for a foreigner, and are also rumoured to be in talks with winger Lallianzuala Chhangte, who has reportedly not landed a contract with Norwegian club Viking FK.
The sixth season of the ISL is scheduled to begin on October 20. In addition to the ISL, Bengaluru also return to the AFC Cup this season, and with the continental competition only allowing four foreign players in the squad, it is wise on Bengaluru's part to strengthen the Indian core of their squad.