Indian Super League side Bengaluru FC, on Sunday, announced the signing of Indian international defender Sandesh Jhingan on a one-year deal, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. The 29-year-old, who most recently turned out for ATK Mohun Bagan, joined Simon Grayson's squad for their open training session at the Bangalore Football Stadium, and is no stranger to the club, having turned out for the Blues in a loan spell during their Federation Cup winning 2016-17 season.
"There were a few factors that decided to come back to Bengaluru FC easy. I've spent a season here before and the amount of love and support I've received from the fans even after I've left has been very special. I've played at the Kanteerava more than just a few times with the national team and Bengaluru, and the atmosphere has always been electric," said Jhingan, after completing the formalities on his deal.
The AIFF Men's Player of the Year for 2020-21, Jhingan started his football journey at the St. Stephen's Academy before moving to I-League 2nd Division side United Sikkim in 2011. After two seasons in Sikkim, the first of which saw the side promoted to the I-League, Jhingan had one year at Mumbai FC before signing with ISL side Kerala Blasters in 2014. From the Blasters, Jhingan made three loan spells to I-League clubs; Sporting Clube de Goa (2015), DSK Shivajians (2016) and Bengaluru FC (2017).
"The club has built a strong team this season and has never been short on ambition. They know how to win trophies. In addition to some quality new signings, players like Chhetri bhai, Gurpreet and Udanta have been here for a while now and we're looking good as a unit. I've received tremendous support from everyone at the club ever since I put pen to paper, and I cannot wait to get started and help us achieve all our targets for the season," added Jhingan.
Jhingan has been capped at youth and senior levels for the Indian National Team, having made his bow for the tricolour with India U23s at the 2014 Asian Games. Since his debut for the senior team, the centre-back has made 46 appearances for India, scoring four times in the process. At the club level, Jhingan has 107 appearances across seven seasons in the Indian Super League.
Club Director, Parth Jindal said, "We've been through a very sure process of strengthening this team with the right kind of signings, and Sandesh Jhingan fits right into our plans. He's been a Bengaluru player once before, has won a trophy with us and has the kind of mentality, leadership qualities and fight, that this team needs at the moment.
"We're also glad that we could turn his signing and unveiling into a little surprise for the fans at the club's open training session on Sunday, and going by their reaction, we know how much this means to them."
In 2021, Jhingan signed a five-year deal with ATK Mohun Bagan, guiding his side to the final of the Indian Super League where they would go down to Mumbai City FC. At the end of his first season, Jhingan signed a deal with Croatian Nogotmetna Liga side HNK Sibenik, making him the first Indian to play professionally in Croatia.
Jhingan represents the latest in a string of new signings by Bengaluru under Head Coach Simon Grayson, with the side having acquired the services of Javi Hernandez, Roy Krishna, Prabir Das, and Hira Mondal and Aleksandar Jovanovic among others.
Speaking on the signing, Grayson said, "We have a squad that possesses experienced leaders, and Sandesh fits right into the role. We're glad to have him on board, and hope to use his quality and experience to help us through what we're hoping is a successful season for this football club."
Bengaluru FC begin their 2022-23 campaign with a Group A clash against Jamshedpur FC in the 131st Edition of the Durand Cup, on August 17.