Former India international Mehtab Hossain is in Hyderabad to sign for Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Kerala Blasters, Goal has reliably learnt. The Sachin Tendulkar co-owned franchise are also in talks with Chekiyot Kizhakkeveettil Vineeth and are expected to complete the signings soon.
The diminutive Mehtab, who had been a pivotal part of East Bengal's midfield for a decade, had made it clear that he would not extend his contract with the Kolkata giants in case they fail to win the I-League.
Mehtab was picked in the first round of the domestic draft by Blasters before the inaugural edition of the cash-rich league way back in 2014 and has remained a member of the team's roster ever since. The Kochi-based team have finished runners -up in two of the three editions.
Hossain, who came from a very weak economic background to make a name for himself, had represented Tollygunge Agragami and Mohun Bagan before donning the Red and Gold colours.
"He is our own guy and we respect his decision. He is welcome to return to the club whenever he wants to," East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar had remarked last week.
CK Vineeth, who previously played for Bengaluru FC, was available for the Blasters since Bengaluru FC chose not to retain the Kerala-born forward ahead of their maiden ISL campaign, instead opting to go for Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh.
Vineeth has been a part of the Blasters' setup since 2015 but his exploits in the last edition, where he was instrumental in the Tuskers' run to the final, propelled him to superstardom among the fanbase who are expected to welcome the news positively.
This move from Kerala Blasters means that Sandesh Jhingan, ISL 2014's Emerging Player of the Year, will most likely move into the Indian player draft pool unless he opts to play I-League football.