ISL transfers: Real Kashmir's Bilal Khan to join Kerala Blasters; Dheeraj Singh set to leave KBFC?
Kerala Blasters are expected to make the announcement soon, just days after acquiring the signature of Indian Arrows' Lovepreet Singh.
With first-choice goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh rumoured to leave Blasters for East Bengal or Chennaiyin FC, Blasters had to consider their options for a man between the two posts. While Lovepreet was brought in as the back-up goalkeeper, Blasters were looking at either Khan or Vishal Kaith of FC Pune City as their No 1.
However, it appears that the Blasters have completed advanced talks with Khan, who was with Kaith at Pune City before being loaned out to Kashmir.
Khan, 24, was phenomenal for Real Kashmir this season. He was consistent as a custodian throughout and kept 9 clean sheets for his team.
The club had the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 14 goals throughout the season. It's a commendable feat considering that the club was playing in the top flight for the first time and finished third on the table behind champions Chennai City and East Bengal.
Khan had a loan stint at Gokulam Kerala in the 2016-17 season, making 13 appearances for Kerala, but missing out on the Super Cup 2018 due to an injury. Khan's height, towering at 6’5”, will be a huge bonus for the Blasters in the upcoming season.
Dheeraj Singh's future at Blasters uncertain
Meanwhile, Dheeraj, India's goalkeeper during the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, may soon switch loyalties to East Bengal or Chennaiyin FC, it is learnt. Dheeraj will be able to contribute tremendously to whichever club he eventually ends up in.
At East Bengal, first-choice Rakshit Dagar returned mixed results and wasn't as impressive as he was at Minerva Punjab in the title-winning 2017-18 season. On the other hand, Karanjit Singh's abilities between the posts have come into question time and again for Chennaiyin FC with some of his blunders costing them goals and points.
Given that the Blasters are rounding up a lot of goalkeepers before the season begins, it's quite certain that Dheeraj is on his way out, looking for greener pastures.