Transfer wrap: Kerala Blasters FC sign Farooq, Givson joins Chennaiyin FC on loan, and more

Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters FC, on Tuesday, confirmed the signing of midfielder Danish Farooq from Bengaluru FC for an undisclosed fee. The 26-year-old will join the club this winter transfer window after penning a multi-year deal that keeps him at the club until 2026.

Danish started his youth career with J&K Bank Football Academy, representing them across all age groups. His exemplary performances earned him a move to Lonestar Kashmir with whom he made 18 appearances before joining Real Kashmir FC in 2016. He became the top scorer and top assist provider in the Hero I-League Second Division, helping the Snow Leopards qualify for the Hero I-league in the 2017/18 season. After spending 5 years with Real Kashmir, Danish was signed by Bengaluru FC for a two-year deal. He has since made 27 appearances and scored 4 goals in the Hero ISL. His strong physique, scoring capacity, and dribbling skills earned him the name Kashmiri Ronaldo.

Commenting on the Blasters winter transfer, Karolis Skinkys said, “Danish was one of the key targets from the last season when we saw him in the context of Hero ISL. He has that Playing style, passion, and quality that Kerala Blasters need. I’m happy that we were able to finalize this transfer and reinforce our team at a crucial moment this season. We signed a 3.5-year contract and this is an important move for team consistency in upcoming seasons.

“I am really excited to join Kerala Blasters. The atmosphere at Kochi is absolutely electric, I can’t wait to wear the famous yellow jersey and give my best for the team,” said an elated Danish Farooq upon signing with his new club.

Danish’s impressive performance in the Hero ISL was rewarded with a national team call up for the two friendly matches against Bahrain and Belarus.

With the Blasters firmly in the mix for a second consecutive playoff finish, the addition of Danish will further strengthen the team as we head to the closing stages of the season. Danish has already linked up with his new teammates in Kochi and will be available for selection for the game against East Bengal on February 3rd.

Givson Singh moves to Chennaiyin FC on loan deal 

Kerala Blasters FC, on Tuesday, also confirmed the departure of midfielder Givson Singh, who joins Chennaiyin FC on a loan deal till the end of the 2022-23 season. 

Givson joined Kerala Blasters ahead of the Hero ISL 2020-21 season and was part of the side that reached the Hero ISL final the following season. However, the young midfielder didn't feature for Kerala Blasters FC this season and will be hoping to get some time under his belt at Chennaiyin FC.

Born in Moirang, Manipur, Givson is a product of the Minerva Punjab Academy. He then moved to the AIFF Elite Academy and spent three years there before his move to the Indian Arrows. Givson was one of the key players in the side, making 16 appearances during the Hero I-League 2019-20 season, contributing with two goals and two assists.

Givson was part of the U-16 Indian national team that reached the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship quarterfinals, held in Malaysia. He has represented the India U-17 Indian national team several times and featured for the U-19 team as well. 

Mumbai City FC secure loan deal for full-back Hardik Bhatt from Rajasthan United FC

Hero ISL side Mumbai City FC, on Monday, confirmed the signing of defender Hardik Bhatt on a loan deal from Hero I-League club Rajasthan United FC until the end of the Hero ISL 2022-23 season.

Born in Mumbai, Hardik began his professional career with ARA FC, an I-League second-division club, before signing on for FC Bengaluru United in 2019. Showcasing his prowess as a full-back, Hardik made eight appearances, scoring twice, for the Bengaluru-based side.

Hardik Bhatt said: “It’s a proud moment for me to join Mumbai City FC, a club from a city that I call home. It is no secret that Mumbai City FC are an ambitious club. I am a Mumbaikar and I know what this club means to the city of Mumbai. I am certain that I will be giving my 100% for the badge and I want to help the club in my time here to achieve success. I want to thank Rajasthan United FC for all the support they have extended and I cannot wait to get started with this new and exciting chapter of my career.”

Following a stint with Hyderya Kashmir FC, Hardik moved to Hero I-League side Rajasthan United FC in December 2021. He established himself in the ranks of the Desert Warriors, becoming a part of Rajasthan United FC’s exploits in their debut Hero I-League season in 2021-22, and became a regular fixture in their side in the ongoing league campaign.

Hardik put in impressive performances at the 2022 Durand Cup as well, including featuring in the Group B fixture against the Islanders, as he helped Rajasthan United FC qualify to the knockout stages.

Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham said: “It’s a pleasure to have Hardik join our talented group. We are aware of his capabilities having seen him up and close at the Durand Cup last year, but we’ve also seen his strong performances in the Hero I-League. Hardik will bring in his qualities in our defence, particularly as a full back, and we are confident that he can contribute greatly in what is a crucial part of the season for us in the Hero ISL and beyond.”

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