Indian Super League (ISL) new entrants East Bengal FC have agreed terms with Mizo Sniper Jeje Lalpekhlua and an announcement could be made in the coming weeks, as per a report by Goal. This news should add to the joy of elated East Bengal fans who have been celebrating the announcement of their club’s entry into the country’s top division with much gusto since yesterday.
Having also represented Mohun Bagan previously, Jeje is set to switch sides across Kolkata Maidan after ending his 6 year-long love affair with ISL outfit Chennaiyin FC earlier this month. A crowd favourite at his former club, Jeje has 24 goals and 7 assists in 74 appearances for the Marina Machans in all competitions, and played a key role in their ISL title triumphs in 2015 and 2017-18. There were murmurs that East Bengal were waiting for the official confirmation of their ISL entry before making moves in the transfer market but after yesterday’s announcement, things seem to be moving in a positive direction. If and when this deal sees completion, the 29-year-old would arrive as one of the most highly regarded talents in the country and someone capable of winning East Bengal a lot of matches single-handedly.
This move comes at an extremely critical juncture for Jeje’s career. The diminutive India international has not taken the field since his knee surgery in 2019 which forced him to miss the entirety of the ISL 2019-20 season. He has also not featured for India since January 2019 but was included in the probables for the World Cup qualifier against Qatar in March. With this match now set to be played out next year, it gives him time to prove his fitness and possibly find a permanent place in Igor Stimac’s plans for the national team going forward. The signing will be a show of intent from East Bengal’s perspective as well, and with very little time before the transfer window closes on October 20th, the Red and Gold management would be looking to get in a few more quality players before the start of their debut ISL campaign.