ISL 2018-19: India's Sandesh Jhingan on his way out of Kerala Blasters?
Qatar Stars League club Al-Gharafa SC did make an inquiry on the Indian defender but, Jhingan has no plans to sail his ship outside India as of now. Sandesh Jhingan might board the ship to ATK if there is a heavy transfer fee involved.
Earlier, we had reported that the trio of CK Vineeth, Halicharan Narzary, and Sandesh Jhingan could leave Kerala Blasters for greener pastures. CK Vineeth's deal with Chennaiyin FC is in the final stages whereas Halicharan Narzary might be following his suit and pen the deal with the defending champions.
Sandesh Jhingan showcased a brilliant defensive performance in India's final match against Bahrain in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup but, an extra time penalty crashed India's qualification hopes for the Round of 16. However, his performance for Kerala Blasters has been abysmal as the club has let in 20 goals in 12 matches.
ATK, on the other hand, are flexing their financial muscle to the fullest as they have bolstered their squad by signing Edu Garcia and Pritam Kotal and are rumoured to rope in Miguel Palanca for the remainder of the season.
Both Edu Garcia and Palanca are attack-minded foreigners and, if they want a place in the starting lineup, a defensively astute outlander should make his way for an Indian. Sandesh Jhingan would be the ideal candidate as he easily outweighs all the Indians in the centre-back position in every possible department.
Sandesh Jhingan discarding the Qatari club can be attributed to the fact that only four non-Qatari players can play at a time in a match. A slot is reserved for an Asian player but Iran's Mehdi Taremi is a regular starter for Al-Gharafa SC and they have no plan of releasing him.
Jhingan could have had a great learning experience by sharing the dressing room with Wesley Sneijder but he wouldn't have got much playing time. Overall, it was a wise decision for him not to sign with the Qatari club.
Only time will tell if the Chandigarh-born player will don ATK's jersey in 2019. If he does so, the Kolkata Sports and Pvt. Ltd. owned club would become the strongest side on paper as they would have four Indian players from the 2019 AFC Asian Cup squad.