Kerala Blasters have signed former Bengaluru FC midfielder Harmanjot Khabra on a two-year contract ahead of the 2021-22 ISL.
From Punjab, Khabra is a product of the Tata Football Academy. He signed his first professional contract with NFL/I-League side Sporting Clube de Goa after graduating from TFA, Jamshedpur, in 2006.
After a few years at Sporting, Singh moved to East Bengal FC in 2009. He spent a number of years at the club playing in the I-League, CFL and picked up the Federation Cup with the Red & Gold Brigade in 2012. In 2014 & 2015, he was loaned out by the club to Chennaiyin FC as part of the ISL draft. He won the ISL Championship with Chennai in 2015.
Post the I-League season, Harmanjot left EBFC and joined Chennaiyin on a permanent transfer in 2016. A few months later, he joined Bengaluru FC – first on loan and later permanently in 2017. Over the next few seasons, Khabra was a prominent part of BFC’s success story. He would win his second ISL title with the club in 2019, a second Federation Cup in 2017 and the Indian Super Cup in 2017-18.
Overall in the ISL, the 32-year old defensive midfielder who can slot in as a right back or even in right midfield has featured in over a 100 ISL matches. He has also featured in the AFC Cup competition and has been capped for the National Team on four occasions.
Khabra has been a free agent since the end of May after BFC announced his departure. The two-year contract at the Blasters will help the club add steely determination and much needed solidity in the centre of the park.
Analyst’s Take (Amrit)
Another utility player that covers multiple roles, similar to most signings in this window. He’s probably going to be Kerala’s first choice RB, but can also do a job in midfield.
Tough, no nonsense and always up for the big games.
Harmanjot Singh Khabra (Statistical Analysis by Shlok)
A short thread on @KeralaBlasters ‘ new signing @harman_khabra:
– enters aerial duels more often than other RBs, and wins them more often than not
– is more susceptible to being beaten by a man
– does not dive into a lot of grounded challenges
– gives away fewer fouls than avg but has a knack of picking up yellows
– doesn't cross or pass very often but has a decent accuracy with both
– attempts a lot of long balls and succeeds at them as well
– got a total of 3 assists from only 5 key passes (all were crosses)
What Khabra offers in this Kerala Blaster's team is tenacity and versatility. He would have to contend with Nishu Kumar for the RB spot, but can also slot in next to Jeakson or Sahal in midfield.
His aggressiveness and physicality will be key in frustrating opponents.
In an interview with @IFTWC, coach @ivanvuko19 said that he prefers an offensive style of football. He added on that he likes determined individuals with a “strong character” and “winning mentality”
In conclusion, Khabra fits the coach's expectations both on and off the pitch. In play, he can help stretch the pitch wide, and can aid in transitions. Off the pitch, he would be a great leader figure for a squad populated with youngsters
Analysis and visuals by @KeepItRowllin
Originally tweeted by The Away End (@theawayendco) on 15th July 2021.
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