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2018: turns down Rs 5-crore deal to stay with Blasters
Sandesh Jhingan has turned down a massive Rs 5 crore offer from former champions ATK to stick with Kerala Blasters for the rest of his three-year contract.
Jhingan has been Kerala’s signature signing since being offered a three-year contract last year which included a Rs 1.20 crore deal for the first season. He is contracted with Kerala till 2020 but the arrival of central defender Anas Edathodika and a big offer from ATK – which included a transfer fee of approximately Rs 50 lakh for the franchise – turned a few heads around.
Understandably, there were rumours floating around that big-spending ATK could even get the India captain on a three-year contract, but the tough-as-nails defender has stepped forward to assure fans that he is going nowhere.
“When all these things happened, I was still convinced that I don’t want to move. I appreciate the offer (from ATK) but Kerala Blasters is a club that is close to my heart. The fans are unbelievable and I cannot even translate their love into words. I am humbled. There was never even one percent chance that I would move,” Jhingan told TOI on Wednesday. Kerala Blasters had a season to forget after failing to qualify for the semifinals. The 2014 and 2016 finalists came a cropper this time around but Jhingan has been left in no doubt that the franchise will see better days.
“I’ve had a word with (David) James (coach) and he knows what he is doing. We are on the right track. Even when there were talks of me going elsewhere, James was certain that my future is here. I must apologise to the fans, though. I should have cleared the air much earlier rather than allow such talk to linger,” said the Blasters captain, who was also on the shopping list of Jamshedpur FC.
“When this news came up, we were playing Goa at home. I don’t follow news so much and I don’t get bothered. But everything what the (former) coach said was a lie. All my life, I’ve never allowed criticism, or praise, to affect me, and when I read the reports, I decided to stay true to myself.
“It helped that James believed in me. He said when I had done nothing wrong, why should I let it stress me out. I worked hard to get where I am.,” said Jhingan.