Bengaluru FC, on Sunday, announced the signing of Indian football team defender Sandesh Jhingan on a one-year deal, ahead of the Indian Super League 2022-23 campaign.
The 29-year-old, who most recently turned out for ATK Mohun Bagan, will begin his second spell at the club having previously played on loan during the Federation Cup-winning 2016-17 season.
“There were a few factors that made the decision to come back to Bengaluru FC easy." Jhingan said.
"I’ve spent a season here before and the amount of love and support I’ve received from the fans even after I’ve left, has been very special. I’ve played at the Kanteerava more than just a few times with the national team and Bengaluru, and the atmosphere has always been electric,” he added.
Jhingan, the AIFF Men’s Player of the Year for 2020-21, started his football journey at the St. Stephen’s Academy before moving to I-League 2nd Division side United Sikkim in 2011. After two seasons in Sikkim, the first of which saw the side promoted to the I-League, Jhingan had a one-year spell at Mumbai FC before signing with ISL side Kerala Blasters in 2014.
From the Blasters, Jhingan made three loan spells to I-League clubs; Sporting Clube de Goa (2015), DSK Shivajians (2016) and Bengaluru FC (2017).
“The club has built a strong team this season and has never been short on ambition. They know how to win trophies," Sandesh Jhingan said upon completing formalities for his transfer.
"In addition to some quality new signings, players like Chhetri bhai, Gurpreet and Udanta have been here for a while now and we’re looking good as a unit. I’ve received tremendous support from everyone at the club ever since I put pen to paper, and I cannot wait to get started and help us achieve all our targets for the season,” Jhingan said.
Jhingan has been capped at the youth and senior levels for the Indian national football team, having made his bow with India U23s at the 2014 Asian Games.
Since his debut for the senior team, the centre-back has made 46 appearances for India, scoring four times in the process. At the club level, Jhingan has 107 appearances across seven seasons in the Indian Super League.
“We’ve been through a very sure process of strengthening this team with the right kind of signings, and Sandesh Jhingan fits right into our plans," said Bengaluru FC director Parth Jindal.
"He’s been a Bengaluru player once before, has won a trophy with us and has the kind of mentality, leadership qualities and fight, that this team needs at the moment," Jindal added.
“We’re also glad that we could turn his signing and unveiling into a little surprise for the fans at the club’s open training session on Sunday, and going by their reaction, we know how much this means to them,” Jindal said.
In 2021, Jhingan signed a five-year deal with ATK Mohun Bagan, guiding his side to the final of the Indian Super League where they would go down to Mumbai City FC. At the end of his first season, Jhingan signed a deal with Croatian Nogotmetna Liga side HNK Sibenik, making him the first Indian to play professionally in Croatia.
Sandesh Jhingan is the latest player to be recruited by Bengaluru FC under head coach Simon Grayson, with the side having acquired the services of Javi Hernandez, Roy Krishna, Prabir Das, Hira Mondal and Aleksandar Jovanovic among others.
Speaking on Jhingan's signing, Grayson said, “We have a squad that possesses experienced leaders, and Sandesh fits right into the role. We’re glad to have him on board, and hope to use his quality and experience to help us through what we’re hoping is a successful season for this football club.”
Bengaluru FC begin their 2022-23 campaign with a Group A clash against Jamshedpur FC in the 131st Edition of the Durand Cup, on August 17.
Featured photo: Bengaluru FC