2020-21 Hero ISL Golden Glove winner Arindam Bhattacharja joins SC East Bengal

Ace goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja will provide his reassuring presence under the bar for SC East Bengal after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal, the club announced on Monday.

Arindam was the bedrock of ATK Mohun Bagan’s success last season, helping the Mariners reach the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) final where they lost to Mumbai City FC.

The 32-year-old custodian pipped Mumbai City’s Amrinder Singh to win the Golden Glove award for the 2020-21 season, keeping as many as 10 clean sheets and making 59 saves.

“I am glad to be here. I can’t wait for the season to start. I want to win as many games as possible for SC East Bengal, and keep as many clean sheets as possible,” said Arindam after completing formalities.

“I will also try and keep the dressing room very tight and together. That’s how you win trophies and that’s what I will try and do in this team.”

Arindam revealed his family members are East Bengal supporters and it was a no-brainer when the opportunity came his way. “I got a lot of messages, saying ‘dada don’t leave Kolkata’. To be honest, that motivated me a lot and that is one of the reasons [for him joining SC East Bengal].

“At home, my father and my grandfather are East Bengal supporters. I have never played for East Bengal in my entire career spanning 16 years. So, when the opportunity came along this time, I grabbed it with both hands.

“We all know the legacy of this club and I will put my best foot forward every day to keep the red and gold flag flying high,” added Arindam, who stands at 6'2".

A teenaged Arindam made news in Indian football more than a decade and a half ago during the Subroto Cup in Delhi, turning heads with his height and ice-cool temperament. He soon earned a place at Tata Football Academy (TFA) followed by a stint with the India Under-19 team.

At the club level Arindam has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell, kick-starting his collection with Churchill Brothers where he played a key role in the Red Machines winning their first I-League in 2009.

Arindam had a stint with Mohun Bagan AC during the 2012-13 season before returning to Churchill and proving to be a vital cog in their wheel as they clinched the Federation Cup in 2014.

Arindam was on FC Pune City’s books from 2014 to 2017 before switching to Mumbai City FC for the 2017-18 season. He joined ATK FC before the 2018-19 campaign, winning the Hero ISL trophy with them in the 2019-20 season.

Rated as one of the finest keepers in the country, Arindam is not only light on his feet but has a great sense of positioning with a natural ability to guard the lower portions around his posts.

With an impressive save percentage of 72.85 last season, Arindam has evolved with time. SC East Bengal, coached by Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, took part in their maiden Hero ISL campaign last time and finished in ninth place.

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