Man City's Australian sister club among 3 teams to offer deals to India U17 star Dheeraj Moirangthem
Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, India's star in the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017, has at least three offers from foreign clubs but is not in a hurry to make a switch.
The 17-year-old goalkeeper was the find of FIFA U17 World Cup for the host country. Dheeraj was watched by scouts of many foreign club during the tournament and received appreciation for his impressive performance at the World Cup.
India lost all the three group stage matches against USA, Colombia and Ghana, but Dheeraj stood out for the wonderful saves he made.
Dheeraj Singh is contracted to the All India Football Federation till 31st December 2017 and cannot sign for any other club unless he secures release from the AIFF. AIFF wants to have Dheeraj for its rebranded Pailan Arrows I-League team and is looking at the longer term.
There were rumours of some foreign clubs interested in signing this young Indian star. According to a TOI report, clubs from Brazil, Scotland and Australia are jostling to sign the U17 star. According to sources, Avai FC from Brazilian first division, Hamilton Academical for Scotland and Melbourne City FC from A- League are the leading clubs which jostle of Dheeraj's signature. There are interests from USA and England, but the eligibility rules say he cannot play but only train in these counties.
With many foreign and Indian Super League clubs keen to sign him and are offering three times more wages with extra incentives, it is more unlikely that Dheeraj will sign a contract extension with the AIFF. However, he'll have a shot at more game time with the AIFF XI.
Dheeraj's agent Anuj Kichlu from The Football Edge told TOI: “We are in discussions with an ISL franchise and Dheeraj should join them no sooner the contract comes to an end. There is an understanding with the franchise that they will allow Dheeraj to move outside the country, should there be a good-enough offer”.
“There was interest from several others too but eligibility rules are a big hurdle. We need to make sure that Dheeraj is playing and not just making up the numbers somewhere. If he doesn’t get game time in the ISL, he will either play abroad or with AIFF XI on loan” said Kichlu. Kichlu confirmed that there are three good offers from foreign clubs but said they are unlikely to take any decision until Dheeraj returns from Saudi Arabia where he is part of India U19 team.
Several notable ex-players like David James, Bhaichung Bhutia had praised Dheeraj's performance in the World Cup