José Luis Espinosa Arroyo, better known as Tiri in the Indian Football community has signed a pre-contract with Kerala Blasters for the 2020-21 season of ISL. The 28-year-old is currently signed with Jamshedpur FC but his contract runs out soon.
After beginning his professional career with Cadiz B in the Tercera Division, Tiri made the jump to the Atletico Madrid's B team and made a total of 94 appearances for them in the Tercera Division and Segunda Division B over a span of five years.
Tiri made his first foray in India in 2015 playing for ATK in the ISL. He made a staggering 162 clearances, 32 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 12 blocks in his 13 matches and grabbed the attention of almost every club in India.
However, the Kolkata-based side managed to retain him and Tiri played a pivotal part in their quest to clinch their second ISL title. In the 11 matches he played then, the Spaniard committed 19 tackles, 15 interception, 61 clearances, and 6 blocks.
Tiri, then, completed his move to Jamshedpur FC before the onset of the 2017-18 season and played all of their matches. Although his side had the second-best defensive record in the league stages, he couldn't steer his team to the playoffs as they finished fifth on the table.
Tiri would go on to represent Jamshedpur FC in the subsequent next two editions. Despite maintaining his individual supremacy in the heart of the defense, his side failed to breach the top four.
Kerala Blasters would want to reconfigure their squad, especially their defence, which has conceded 28 goals in 17 matches so far. Head coach Eelco Schattorie's problems started even before the season began as Sandesh Jhingan was ruled out without kicking a ball and Jairo Rodrigues succumbed to injuries midway through the season.
Gianni Zuiverloon also missed a lot of matches owing to injuries whereas Vlatko Drobarov hasn't been as impressive. With Tiri set to bolster the Kerala Blasters unit the next season, it remains to be seen whether his acquisition can save the sinking ship.Published 21 Feb 2020, 14:00 IST