Kerala Blasters FC’s Ivan Vukomanovic on Ivan Kaliuzhnyi's future and Puitea’s departure

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic evaluated the club’s chances of securing Ivan Kaliuzhnyi on a permanent transfer in the summer and also discussed the club’s decision to let centre-back Puitea join direct rivals ATK Mohun Bagan ahead of their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 match against Jamshedpur FC. 

Kaliuzhnyi will miss the match against Jamshedpur FC through suspension but Vukomanovic expressed confidence in the player who is set to replace him for the Tuesday clash before speaking about securing the Ukrainian for the long term. 

“There were many possibilities that led to us having him (Kaliuzhnyi) on loan,” Vukomanovic said during the pre-match press conference. 

“He has good football education, has a long contract with his club and comes from the best club in his country Dynamo Kiev. In the European market, this kind of player costs a lot. In football anything is possible and if we are in a situation where the player is willing to continue with Kerala Blasters FC then we will see at the end of the season. If there's a possibility, we will work on the deal,” he added. 

The Blasters let midfielder Puitea leave to join ATK Mohun Bagan during the January transfer window and even though the move strengthened a direct rival in the Hero ISL, Vukomanovic backed the decision to let the player leave. 

“When a player finds himself in one environment for a long period, there is a hunger for a new challenge and a new environment. We as a club will never stop a player when they seek a new challenge or have a good offer,” the 45-year-old said. 

“As a former player, I know those feelings. As a club, it's always better to let a player leave than to keep him and see him struggle. Last season, he contributed a lot to this team and I was very happy to have him. He is a good human being and as (a) club, we wish him well,” he added. 

Kerala Blasters FC take on Jamshedpur FC in the Hero ISL in Kochi on Tuesday and will look to extend their seven-match unbeaten streak. A win will take the yellow army to the third spot in the table and within touching distance of the top spot. 

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