ATK Mohun Bagan’s young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh is close to an agreement with FC Goa according to reports with the Indian Super League (ISL) looking to move Mohammad Nawaz on to Hyderabad FC. The two talented 20-year-olds are seemingly locked in a transfer merry-go-round that may make or break their respective teams’ playoff hopes.
Dheeraj became a household name following his exploits for India in the 2017 U-17 World Cup. His stellar performances for Indian Arrows in the I-League thereafter earned him a call-up to the Kerala Blasters setup under former England international David James. It was there that he solidified his position as one of India’s best young goalkeepers with 13 appearances in the 2018-19 campaign.
He then moved to ATK ahead of the 2019-20 season but struggled for game time under Antonio Habas. Having played just once last season and with Arindam Bhattacharja ahead of him in the pecking order, a move to a side that is going to play in the AFC Champions League may not be such a bad proposition after all.
As far as Nawaz is concerned, reports suggest that he has rejected a contract renewal offer from the Gaurs and is looking for pastures anew. Hyderabad FC have since shown their interest in the young custodian who has featured in all but one match this season and has impressed with the ball at his feet as well as his handling. The Nizams’ enquiry for him also makes sense because of the injury to Subrata Pal, someone who has been a mainstay in their challenge for the playoff spots this campaign. As someone who led FC Goa to their ISL Shield triumph last season, Nawaz seems to be the perfect profile to replace the veteran.
With Nawaz gone, Dheeraj will be vying for the top spot at Goa with Naveen Kumar who made his first appearance in two seasons in the victory against Jamshedpur FC on Thursday. It remains to be seen if both these sides can make it to the top 4 though, as we enter the business end of the season.