ATK Mohun Bagan sign Ashish Rai, Ashique Kuruniyan; Prabir Das joins Bengaluru FC on three-year deal

ATK Mohun Bagan have signed full-back Asish Rai and winger Ashique Kuruniyan ahead of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, the club announced this news through their social media handles on Monday.

The 23-years-old full-back has been an important player for the Hyderabad FC over the last two seasons and he played a crucial role in winning them their first ever Hero ISL title in the 2021-22 season. 

As for Ashique, he has been among the top performers for Bengaluru FC in the last few seasons.

Rai started his youth career in 2017 when he joined the Pune City Academy. The fullback then joined the Indian Arrows later in November. In the 2018-19 season, he made the most of his opportunities, appearing in every game for the Indian Arrows.

Playing for Indian Arrows proved to be a watershed moment in his career, with solid performances throughout the season helping him to gain a Hero ISL contract from Hyderabad FC ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Since joining the club, the 23-years-old full-back has appeared in 48 games, making 152 clearances and sixty-three interceptions. Though Rai didn’t have a great start to his Hero ISL career at Hyderabad FC in his first season, he picked up after the arrival of head coach Manuel Marquez. He flourished under his guidance and became one of the best full-backs of the Hero ISL.

Ashique began his career at the Pune FC academy and then he moved to Villarreal "C" team in Spain in 2016 on a loan. His stay in Europe was cut short due to injury, the Kerala-born winger returned home. He joined Pune City FC in 2017 and made his debut against Jamshedpur in the ISL 2017-18 season.

After spending two years at Pune City FC, the 23-years-old winger moved to Bengaluru FC in the 2019-2020 season. He has had an impressive stint with the club so far with a total of 39 appearances, making a staggering 1105 passes and 40 interceptions during this time.

Kuruniyan who has been capped 24 times for the Indian National Team, recently played a pivotal role in the team's qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. With time he’s becoming a mainstay in the national team and he’s very much part of coach Igor Stimac’s future plans.

The addition of both these players will undoubtedly help Juan Ferrando's side, who just qualified for the AFC Cup 2022 inter-zonal semi-finals by finishing their campaign at the top of the group.

Bengaluru FC sign Prabir Das

The southern club Bengaluru FC have completed the signing of ATK Mohun Bagan player Prabir Das on Monday. The 28-years-old defender has signed a three-year contract with the Blues.

His football career began at Pailan Arrows (now Indian Arrows). Then he was transferred to Dempo after a breakthrough season with Arrows in 2012-13 and then went on loan to FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos in the Hero ISL's inaugural seasons. From 2016 onwards he’s been with the Kolkata-based side.

“I am very happy at having signed for Bengaluru FC because this is a football club that I have admired for a while now. I have played at the Kanteerava and the atmosphere is always high-energy, and I am waiting to experience it while wearing the Bengaluru shirt. I am eager to play a big part in bringing back the success that this club is used to and I am grateful to the owners and management for showing faith in me, and for wanting me to be a part of their ambitions,” said Das, after completing the formalities on his deal.

Before joining the Mariners, the 28-years-old defender played for ATK FC, where he played a crucial role in winning them their second Hero ISL title. Das was tied for the most assists by a defender with five during the 2019-20 season, and he also went on to win the title with ATK that year. The defender has made 39 appearances for ATK Mohun Bagan in the last two seasons.

"Das is a player we had set our sights on for some time now, and we’re happy to have him commit his future to Bengaluru FC. Having a plethora of talent on the left, what the team needed was strengthening on the right. With Prabir and his experience, BFC have found a trusted and able player who makes us stronger. We are confident we can give Prabir the platform to excel and get back to the national team while helping Bengaluru FC achieve its goal of getting back to where we belong – right at the top,” said club Director, Parth Jindal.

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