It's turning out to be a season of surprises for Kerala Blasters fans.
The Indian Super League side has been undergoing a major structural overhaul since finishing seventh on the 10-team table with 19 points from 18 matches, last season.
First, Kerala Blasters appointed Karolis Skynkis as sporting director. Soon after, the Lithuanian convinced former Mohun Bagan coach Kibu Vicuna to take over as the head coach, replacing Eelco Schattorie. Vicuna, who had led Mohun Bagan to the I-League title in the 2019-20 season, will be ninth coach for the Blasters.
Schattorie had emphasised that he needs a few years to build a strong team and his plans were severely affected by the spate of injuries, including the one to the team's defence mainstay, Sandesh Jhingan. Fans had been quite vocal in giving the Dutchman another chance, but the club went ahead with the change.
And now, Jhingan, too, is on the way out. It has been learnt that the India defender and fan-favourite player is keen on greener pastures, though neither Jhingan nor the club have confirmed the development officially.
According to club sources, Jhingan and the Blasters mutually agreed to part ways ahead of the upcoming ISL season. “Yes, Sandesh is no longer with the club. It was under mutual agreement,” a source told PTI.
Jhingan still has two years left in his contract. Reports say that he is in talks with foreign clubs.
The Blasters have, reportedly, asked many of the players to take a paycut owing to financial constraints.
The 26-year-old has been with Kerala Blasters since the inception of the ISL in 2014. He won the 'Emerging Player of the Year' award in the inaugural season. He holds the record of maximum appearances for the Blasters—76.
Jhingan had suffered an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury just before the ISL 2019-20 began and had missed the entire season. He was supposed to make a comeback to the India side, at the national football camp in March. But the COVID-19 pandemic messed up the sports calendar worldwide.