Defending champions of the I-league, Bengaluru FC, have today announced the capture of Sandesh Jhingan on loan from Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters.
Pune-based DSK Shivajians were also in the fray for the talented centre-back but ultimately he chose to sign for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Cup runners-up. Jhingan, an established India international, is expected to lend flexibility to Albert Roca's defensive line. The Spanish coach is thought to favour a 3-man defence which might see the Chandigarh-born defender line-up for the Blues alongside Juanan and John Johnson.
Jhingan made his I-League debut with United Sikkim before opting to move to Mumbai FC in 2013. Despite having made a name for himself, thanks to his stints at Kerala Blasters in the ISL where he was named the Emerging player of the inaugural season in 2014, Jhingan has never won a club-level tournament. This move might be the perfect opportunity for the defender to land some silverware, with the Southern Eagles looking extremely strong at the start of the season with a good mix of youth and experience.
It is believed the Shivajians vied with the Jindal Steel Works (JSW) owned side for the coveted defender's signature, but signalled an end to their chase when they signed experienced defender Gouramangi Singh from FC Pune City.
Bengaluru FC had the second-best defensive record last season, conceding just 17 goals in 16 matches, and have started this season with a win and a clean sheet against Shillong Lajong. On paper, they already seem to have the best defence in the league.
Even then, there is no doubt that the 23-year-old will prove to be a valuable addition for the Steelmen , who have already brought in established Indian players like Harmanjot Khabra, Sena Ralte and Lenny Rodrigues this season.
The Blues now face I-League newcomers Chennai City FC at the Kanteerava stadium, in a round two clash on 14th January at 7 PM IST.