ATK Mohun Bagan have signed Indian international Sandesh Jhingan on a record-breaking five-year contract reportedly worth around six crore rupees.
Born in Chandigarh, Jhingan spent his formative years at the St. Stephen’s Football Academy. The Chandigarh-based academy has also produced two-time AIFF Emerging Player of the Year Anriudh Thapa and the 2019-20 AIFF Player of the Year Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
In 2011, Sandesh signed his first professional contract with Bhaichung Bhutia’s United Sikkim FC who were competing in the 2nd Division League. He helped them win promotion to the I-League in 2012 and left the club after they were relegated from the 2012-13 I-League in what was only their first year in the division.
After leaving United Sikkim, the centre-back turned up for the now dissolved Mumbai FC in the 2013-14 I-League following which he joined newly-minted Kerala Blasters in the ISL in July, 2014. He won the Emerging Player of the League that season and helped the Blasters reach the final where they lost to ATK. Jhingan also picked up the AIFF Player of the Year accolade that season.
Sandesh continued to be a constant presence at Kerala Blasters and during off-season was loaned out to Sporting Clube de Goa, DSK Shivajians and Bengaluru FC who were competing in the I-League in early 2017. In six seasons with the Blasters, Sandesh featured in 76 matches in the ISL.
The 27-year-old made his national team debut in 2015 and helped the Indian team to the Hero Intercontinental Cup in 2018. He was conferred with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in August this year for “outstanding achievement in sports.”
Last season was a forgettable one for Sandesh after he picked up a cruciate ligament injury while on international duty. He was ruled out for the entire 2019-20 season and left KBFC earlier this year by mutual consent.
Jhingan will likely partner with former Jamshedpur FC defender Tiri in the heart of defence. The Spaniard recently joined the defending champions on a one-year deal.