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Mohun Bagan rope in India midfielder Anirudh Thapa for 'biggest ever fee'

Anirudh Thapa, who had 103 appearances for Chennaiyin FC over seven seasons, joins Mohun Bagan SG on a five-year contract.

Anirudh Thapa Football

Anirudh Thapa in action for Chennaiyin FC (ISL)



Updated: 23 Jun 2023 12:53 PM GMT

Indian central midfielder Anirudh Thapa, who played for two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin FC for seven seasons, was on Friday roped in by Mohun Bagan Super Giant on a five-year contract.

The 25-year-old, who chose to stay with the Marina Machans rejecting lucrative offers from clubs including Mohun Bagan, finally agreed for a move to the Mariners in a mega deal that is believed to be the biggest ever by an Indian footballer.

"Indian team's one of the premier central midfielders Anirudh Thapa will now be seen in Mohun Bagan Super Giant jersey. The club has signed a five-year contract with the Midfield Maestro," the club said, without disclosing the transfer fee which is believed to be in the tune of Rs 3 crore.

The club has also posted a video of Thapa donning the No 7 jersey at Mohun Bagan in their official Twitter handle. The Dehradun lad, who came up the ranks from the All India Football Federation Academy, previously known as Pailan Arrows, was signed up by Chennaiyin FC in 2016 before becoming a vita cog in their attack.

From there he made his national debut in 2017 in a friendly against Nepal. Since then, he has been a regular in Igor Stimac's set-up with 45 appearances and four goals to his credit. He will also play a key role in the Indian midfield in the upcoming Asian Cup in January next year.

"I'm really happy to play for ISL champions Mohun Bagan, looking forward to don the iconic green-and-maroon colours. I hope to give my best to the team and make the fans happy," Thapa said.

"I always had a dream to play in Kolkata, the hub of Indian football. I grew up hearing about the famous Kolkata derby. Whenever I used to play for the AIFF Academy -- Pailan Arrows -- I would come to watch the derby at the Saltlake Stadium. Everyone would say you need to be a star to play in the derby. That dream will finally be fulfilled."

Thapa had 103 appearances for CFC with eight goals and also led the club to win the ISL in 2019-20 and the Super Cup final in 2019. "

Since we are the champions, we have to continue the winning momentum. The team has become stronger this time with some good acquisitions," Thapa said. "

I've tasted success in Indian colours many times, now it's time to replicate it with Mohun Bagan colours when we play the AFC Cup.

"It's really tough to win the AFC Cup, you have to pass through difficult challenges. But I feel we have to take it as a challenge to take the club to a greater height at Asia and International level.

"I am aware of the playing style of coach Juan Ferrando, who stresses on the importance of ball possession and playing attacking football. It's for me to get used to his style and cement my place in the side."

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