Indian Super League (ISL) side ATK Mohun Bagan signed Indian National Team defender Sandesh Jhingan on a 5-year deal. The deal makes Sandesh Jhingan one of the highest-paid football players in India.
A tough transfer battle
Sandesh Jhingan parted ways with Kerala Blasters in May 2020, with his sights set at Europe. Jhingan was in negotiations with several lower division clubs in Europe, but none of the deals went through due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Sandesh Jhingan was forced to postpone his plans to play in Europe till the next season at least. As soon as word of Sandesh Jhingan's availability spread in the Indian football player market, clubs like East Bengal FC, Odisha FC, FC Goa, Mumbai City FC, Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan FC jumped in for the transfer race.
Odisha FC went public with their interest as team officials and fan clubs posted interviews and reactions regarding Jhingan's possible transfer on social media. East Bengal put up a record offer of ₹1.8 crores. Mumbai City FC also put up a handsome sum, but did not disclose the numbers. Till the very end, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan FC were in fray.
Jhingan finally chose ATK Mohun Bagan FC for several reported reasons. The newly merged entity's aspirations to win the AFC Cup 2020 impressed the Arjuna awardee. Jhingan's contract with the Mariners will include allowance of release if Jhingan attracts interests from clubs in Asia and Europe. Jhingan is all set to be paid around ₹6 crores in 5 seasons excluding bonuses, amenities and other funds.
Sandesh Jhingan said:
''I am delighted to have joined ATK Mohun Bagan. I had a detailed chat with the coach and the owners and I admire their visio. I am very happy that they felt that I could be a part of the family. I have a lot of friends already in the team. I am looking forward to joining them, and start working together. Also, I want to say to all loyal fans that ATK Mohun Bagan will not only be the greatest team in India but in Asia as well. For glory - Joy Mohun Bagan.''
ATK Mohun Bagan FC look the strongest team on paper with Sandesh Jhingan
The de facto defending champions of the ISL, ATK Mohun Bagan FC look favourites as they go into the 2020-21 season with domestic and Asian aspirations. With players like David Williams, Roy Krishna, Brad Inman, Michael Soosairaj, Edu Garcia, Tiri, Sandesh Jhingan and Subhasish Bose, the Green and Maroons may just go on to defend their title.
Here is how Antonio Habas' side is expected to line-up: