Manchester United could play I-League club East Bengal in 2020
Premier League giants Manchester United may play a friendly against I-League club East Bengal in 2020 as a part of their Asia Tour. The Red and Golds are celebrating their centenary year and would love to have a club of the stature of the 20-time domestic champions to play a friendly against them.
A four-member delegation team from Manchester United - Matthew Charles Jones, Phillip Malcolm Smith, Christoffer Laurens Komen (Director of Tours and Friendlies), Allan John Dawson (Director of Football) - met West Bengal Sports Minister Aroop Biswas at Nabanna (Chief Minister's office) on Friday to hold talks regarding a friendly with East Bengal. The delegates also visited the Salt Lake Stadium in the afternoon to inspect the facilities.
The friendly against East Bengal would most probably take place in July or the first week of August before the 2020-21 season begins. Manchester United could also play a friendly in Bangladesh to commemorate the hundredth birth anniversary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The same delegation team travelled to Dhaka on Tuesday morning and held meetings with Bangladesh Football Federation president Kazi Salahuddin, Bangladesh's Youth and Sports Minister Jahid Ahsan Russel as well as the tour's country agent Antar Showbiz.
They also visited Bangabandhu National Stadium, the practice ground of Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Army Stadium to inspect the grounds.
It won't be the first time East Bengal is facing an opponent from Europe if the talks go smoothly. In 2004, they took part in the Pepsi Max Challenge Cup in England where they lost 0-1 to Leicester City FC and 0-3 to Portuguese club CS Maritimo to finish fourth in the invitational tournament.
The last time a European giant visited India was in 2012 when Bayern Munich played against India in Bhaichung Bhutia's retirement match. The Bavarians also played against East Bengal's arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in 2008 in the farewell match of their goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.