ISL 2017: How India U-17 star Aman Chetri rejected a foreign stint and three ISL clubs to sign for Chennaiyin FC
FC Pune City, Bengaluru FC and Delhi Dynamos were all in the race to sign the young forward.
On Sunday, ISL side Chennaiyin FC signed India U-17 star Aman Chetri on a three-year contract for their reserve side, thus securing the services of one of the brightest talents in Indian football. The youngster, who was tragically forced out of October's FIFA U-17 World Cup due to injury, now has the chance to play for the 2015 ISL champions and begin his journey as a professional footballer.
With the I-League second division expected to kick off next year and set to feature reserve teams from the ISL, the Super Machans are gearing up for it full steam ahead. However, they were able to sign their man only after an intense tug-of-war with three other clubs in the division, such was the demand for the young forward, who was expected to lead the Indian attack at the World Cup.
A senior official at Football Solutions, who represent Chetri, spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda and detailed how he rejected advances from a number of clubs before signing for the Chennai side. He said, "At first it was FC Pune City who called him up. There was a short training stint with them and he joined their U-18 side but Chetri left just after a week as he wasn't too happy with the level of competition and facilities."
Next up, it was the Delhi Dynamos who showed their interest in the youngster and also offered him a training stint at the famed Aspire Academy in Qatar. Chetri did train with the club and was promptly awarded a contract as well but eventually, the move did not fall through.
"We met the Delhi officials and they promised to take care of everything," the official stated. "They wanted to give him the best exposure by sending him abroad to Aspire and offered him a five-year contract till 2022. They even had a foreign coach sent in to monitor him and everything was going smoothly."
"However, Chetri did not want to commit to a single club for such a long period and the money was not as much as he wanted," he added.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC also expressed their interest in signing the pacy forward, who was not too keen on signing for the Blues, according to Chetri's representative.
And just while talks in Delhi were on, the Chennai side swooped in to make a move for the youngster. The contract length was shorter and the remuneration was better than Delhi's but what made Chetri eventually sign for the Super Machans was the words from his friend Baoringdao Bodo, who recently became the youngest player ever to feature in the ISL with Chennai.
"There was no offer of a foreign training stint and the contract is for the reserve team, but the terms were better than Delhi's," said the official.
Chetri is expected to feature in the I-League second division once it gets underway but if he impresses the team management with his displays, he will certainly have a chance to emulate his friend Bodo and become a teenage ISL debutant!