Bello Rasaq has switched from the Green and Maroon ranks to join bitter rivals East Bengal for next season's I-League, merely days after the defender's goal saw Mohun Bagan lift their maiden league crown.
While the player has left Kolkata, according to sources close to the Red and Gold brigade, the Nigerian had signed the agreement with the club last Wednesday. An East Bengal official who did not want his name disclosed, also revealed that the deal was done for far less than 1 crore rupees as reported, although he refused to divulge the exact figure.
While it was allegedly reported that Mohun Bagan were willing to renew their star defender's contract for next season, the Nigerian's wage demands proved to be the stumbling block. Sources close to Rasaq have completely rubbished those suggestions, claiming that the I-League champions hadn't approached him for a new deal.
East Bengal football secretary, Santosh Bhattacharya remained silent on the signing when Goal contacted him, saying, "I have no idea regarding this deal."
While this could be seen as a body blow to Mohun Bagan's aspirations of keeping their championship winning team together with Pierre Boya and now Bello Rasaq departing, the Mariners officials remained unperturbed and let it be known that Rasaq was not in their plans for next season.
Meanwhile, coach Sanjoy Sen is expected to confirm his stay for next season after meeting with the club's executive board while the agreement with Sony Norde is also in the final stages.
After only finishing fourth last season, East Bengal have been proactive in signing players for the following campaign with Mumbai FC's Rahul Bheke and Salgaocar's Bikash Jairu already joining the Kolkata giants. The search for their new head coach is still on, though Trevor Morgan looks to be the clear frontrunner.