Sandesh Jhingan to leave ISL & ATK Mohun Bagan, will join top division club in Croatia- Former Kerala Blasters captain Indian stalwart Sandesh Jhinghan will quit ISL and is all set to live his European dream as he is set to join Croatian top-division club HNK Sibenik.
The 28-year-old, who was crowned the AIFF player of the year, has had his eyes set on Europe for the past couple of years, but injuries and the Covid-19 pandemic put a hold on those aspirations. Jhingan had interest from clubs in Austria, Greece and Croatia, but eventually chose to move to the latter and sign up with Sibenik.
As reported by the Times of India, Sandesh Jhingan has agreed on terms with Croatian top division club HNK Sibenik. The 28-year-old’s representative Anuj Kichlu confirmed the same to TOI and said, “We have an agreement in place with HNK Sibenik. All efforts are now on to get him to Croatia as soon as possible.” Sandesh Jhingan had been part of the Kerala Blasters and captained the franchise before mutually parting ways after the 2020 season. He signed a five-year deal with ATK Mohun Bagan and developed a strong partnership with Tiri, as they finished second in the ISL.
While Sandesh Jhingan had agreed on a long-term deal with ATK Mohun Bagan, the contract had clauses that allowed him to leave should an opportunity to play in Europe arrive. HNK Sibenik’s interest meant that ATKMB had their hands tied and Sandesh Jhingan will be allowed to leave for free. His departure will be a major blow for head coach Antonio Habas’ plans for the upcoming AFC Cup and the ISL 2021-22 season.
Kichlu, Jhinghan’s from the Madrid-headquartered Best Of You Sports told TOI, “There were several offers for Sandesh last year but with Covid-19 restrictions, it became very difficult. This year, there were four different clubs who reached out to us. After considering the different types of leagues and offers, HNK Sibenik looked like the best fit for Sandesh. Croatia, after all, are World Cup finalists and the league has grown a lot in the last few years.”The Croatian top division have 10 teams, who play each other four times during a season in a 36-game campaign. The division boasts of clubs like Hajduk Split and Dinamo Zagreb, the latter where the likes of Luka Modric, Mario Madzukic, Mateo Kovacic and Dani Olmo have plied their trade.
Meanwhile, seven years since winning the Emerging Player Award in his debut season, Sanedh Jhingan has come a long way. The 28-year-old is one of the first names on the team sheet for the Indian national team under Igor Stimac and is perhaps the Men in Blue’s most trusted lieutenant in defence. The former Kerala Blasters captain returned to the field in November last year, having suffered an ACL injury while with the Indian team in 2019.