Mohun Bagan Super Giant has completed the signing of Kerala Blasters midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad on a five-year deal.
The Blasters swapped Sahal for Mohun Bagan captain Pritam Kotal for a fee of 90 lakhs.
This is the third Indian international that Mohun Bagan has signed ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League season, with Anirudh Thapa joining from Chennayin FC while Anwar Ali was loaned in from Delhi FC.
Mohun Bagan continues to add reinforcements to its squad after winning the ISL title last month and, bringing in two-time ISL-winning coach Antonio Habas as its Technical Director and A-League winner Jason Cummings as its striker.
Sahal has ten goals and eight assists for the Blasters and is expected to make the midfield stronger, following a blistering form with the national team in the Intercontinental Cup and the SAFF Championship last month.
Sportstar understands that Mohun Bagan was ready to offload Kotal after the 2022-23 season and the club was waiting for the player to agree personal terms with the Blasters.
Initially, Hormipam Ruivah was involved in the deal as the player to be swapped but the Mariners wanted Sahal to boost their midfield.
With Sahal incoming, the team may just have three Indians in its four-man midfield with Joni Kauko playing the role of a defensive midfielder.
However, the team will have a substantial void created in the right-back role left behind by Kotal.
The 29-year-old has been with one of the longest-serving players of Mohun Bagan since 2014. Over two stints at the club, he has won the I-League, the Federation Cup and the Indian Super League title with the club.
Asish Rai, who moved to Mohun Bagan last season, after impressing with Hyderabad FC, will be entrusted with the job to take up that full-back position in Kotal’s absence.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, is looking to start afresh, with at least six of its players already out for other clubs.
Nishu Kumar (East Bengal – loan), Prabhsukhan Gill (East Bengal), Harmanjot Khabra (East Bengal) and Ivan Kalyuzhnyi (FK Oleksandriya) are the prominent departures from the club, with Sahal being the latest addition to that list.
Kotal will pair up with fellow Kolkata boy Prabir Das for the Blasters as the two full-backs, with Marko Leskovic and Ruivah completing the four-man defence for Ivan Vukomanovic’s side.
The Blasters finished fifth in the ISL group stage last season and were eliminated by Bengaluru FC in one of the most controversial games in the league’s history.
With a fresh bunch of players, it remains to be seen how Vukomanovic creates a new era in Kerala.
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