Kerala Blasters turned their attention to Gurwinder Singh in order to further strengthen their squad this season. The Yellow brigade are lying fifth on the Indian Super League (ISL) table and with five games to go, they need a few wins if they are to make the cut for the play-offs.
It is reliably learnt that the club approached Gurwinder Singh, who too was keen to re-join his former side. However, East Bengal were in no mood to let the centre-back leave mid-way through the I-League season.
"Of course, we will be looking at other players from other clubs because we can. In a sense, yes. But not necessarily that player (winks)," said James.
The former JCT defender has only made one appearance this season which was in the derby last month which they lost 1-0 to Mohun Bagan. Gurwinder was first in pecking order during Khalid Jamil's early tenure but after the first leg derby loss, the club management put pressure on the gaffer to include Arnab Mondal, mainly to pacify the fans who had voiced their opinion of having more Bengalis in the starting XI.
The relationship between the club and its long-serving defender only began to worsen from that point and reached its nadir last week during the second leg of the derby. While Gurwinder was not part of the 18-man squad against Mohun Bagan, he wasn't given a ticket to watch the tie and was stopped at the main gate by security personnel. The former JCT player, who lives very close to the stadium, watched the second half of the match on television.
In his last two seasons with Kerala Blasters, Gurwinder has clocked a mere 130 minutes. In season one of the ISL, Gurwinder was a regular feature under David James as he made 11 starts.
It remains to be seen who Kerala do manage to rope in as they look to reinforce their squad.