After weeks of speculation, star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche is close to committing his future with Kerala Blasters FC, The Bridge understands.
Ever since news broke out that the Kochi-based Indian Super League (ISL) franchise are in a little bit of financial trouble owing to the Covid-19 situation, speculation has been rife whether the free-scoring forward would continue or not. As reported, several players were asked to take pay cuts for the next season, which obviously did not go down with all of them.
In the aftermath, Spanish defender Tiri’s pre-contract agreement to join the side from Jamshedpur FC fell through, the CEO was fired and then, to make matters worse, it was also announced that fan favourite Sandesh Jhingan would depart.
However, it is learnt that the club management has managed to convince Ogbeche to stay, with no pay cut, although the Nigerian had offers from other ISL clubs. Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and Mumbai City FC were all interested in signing the 35-year-old.
Ogbeche's thunderous strike from outside the box against Chennaiyin received a whopping 61.27 per cent of the votes!Watch the Kerala Blasters forward's superb goal here:
Posted by The Bridge on Tuesday, 5 May 2020
Ogbeche, who began his career at French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain FC, joined the Blasters on the back of a terrific season with NorthEast United where he scored 12 goals in 18 games. Although Kerala could not make the cut for the playoffs this season, he finished as the top scorer in the league, alongside Nerijus Valskis and Roy Krishna, with 15 goals from 16 appearances. His venomous goal against Chennaiyin back in December was also voted as the Fans’ Goal of the Season.
Despite their hardships, the way Blasters are approaching the transfer market appears to be very shrewd. Newly appointed coach Kibu Vicuna is eyeing a few more solid signings, especially a couple of foreign defenders. The club is also likely to rope in former Mohun Bagan midfielder Joseba Beitia as well in this window.