In what is going to be a huge blow for ATK Mohun Bagan's AFC Cup and Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaigns, talismanic defender Sandesh Jhingan is set to sign for Croatian top division side HNK Sibenik, according to The Times of India.
The 28-year-old has always maintained that he sees himself playing in Europe. He had been pushing for the same for the past two years but first a long-term ACL injury and then the Covid pandemic foiled those plans. This time though, there was reported interest from Croatia, Austria and Greece. And it seems like it is just a matter of time before he departs for the Croatian club who compete alongside UEFA Champions League regulars Dynamo Zagreb.
When Jhingan joined ATK Mohun Bagan last year on a five-year deal, there were murmurs that he would be allowed to let go if a good offer came from abroad. However, neither the club nor the player's camp had confirmed anything on those lines. However, it now seems that there was indeed a clause in his contract which allowed him to leave for foreign shores, and TOI reports that as soon as Sibenik registered their interest in writing, the Kolkata club could do little to stand in the way.
Although this is a big news for Indian football as a whole, it leaves the Mariners in a tight spot days before they start their AFC Cup campaign. The club have already assembled a fantastic team including new signings like Hugo Boumous, Liston Colaco and Finnish midfielder Joni Kauko. Still, the absence of Jhingan in the centre of defence is sure to hit them hard.