Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC pulled off a major coup on Thursday when they announced the signing of Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for an undisclosed transfer amount from Norwegian side Stabaek FC. The Indian international has signed a one-year deal with BFC.
The goalkeeper’s paperwork was completed just in time for him to be part of the Federation Cup champions’ AFC Cup campaign in which they take on North Korean side April 25 SC in the inter-zonal semi-final, here on August 23.
Gurpreet, in search of more playing time, was close to signing up with Portuguese top division side Boavista FC but the deal fell through forcing Bengaluru to cough up the cash to Stabaek to bring him in.
“He was supposed to sign with Boavista and we were supposed to loan him from there. That initial deal did not happen and we couldn’t wait anymore because we had a deadline of midnight yesterday (Wednesday) for registering international transfers (to be eligible to play in the AFC Cup). We have been working on this for six weeks,” a source from the club revealed.
Goalie set for ISL?
Interestingly, the Indian custodian will more than likely feature for the Blues in the forthcoming Indian Super League as well, despite not being part of the draft or a retained player.
According to the ISL rules, Gurpreet can be part of the campaign from the sixth round, in which case he will miss the first five matches, or he can be registered as an additional player for the club. With the maximum Indian contingent being 18 per club, BFC, who have 16 after the draft, have an option of roping him in as additional player.
The other option for the lanky goalkeeper is to feature as an injury replacement.
“He will be part of the ISL but how and when only time will tell,” said BFC CTO Mandar Tamhane told this newspaper.
“The rules have been drafted by the league only and they are very clear. The main thing is to understand the rules and then work according to it.”
Meanwhile, the ISL welcomed the goalkeeper in a Facebook post, as part of the league.
“He can feature for BFC in the ISL. Since Gurpreet had a pre-existing contract during the time of ISL draft, he’s exempt for the rule (where every Indian player unless retained by the team have to be a part of the draft),” a source from the league confirmed....