Transfer Wrap: Mumbai City FC agree loan extension for Vinit Rai; Jorge Diaz ends his Kerala Blasters FC journey

Mumbai City FC have agreed an extension to the loan spell of Vinit Rai with Odisha FC, the club announced the extension through their social media handles, on Tuesday. The 24-year-old midfielder will continue with the Islanders until the end of the 2022-23 season.

The Assam-born player, who joined from fellow Hero ISL outfit Odisha FC on loan in January 2022, made 10 appearances for the Islanders in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season. He was also part of the club’s historic second-place Group Stage finish at the 2022 AFC Champions League, where he featured in five of the Islanders’ six games at Asia’s premier club competition earlier in April. 

A product of the Tata Football Academy, Vinit started his ISL career in 2016 and has played a total of 79 league games so far featuring for Kerala Blasters, now defunct Delhi Dynamos and Odisha FC.

“The last six months of my career with Mumbai City were an important part of my learning curve as a footballer and I am pleased to add another season to my time with the club that has helped me grow. Being able to work with some of the finest players in the league and to be able to play at the highest level in Asia has given me plenty to build on in my first full season with Mumbai City,” said Vinit after putting pen to paper.

“Working with a coach and staff who believe in you really helps a player and playing under Des Buckingham has tremendously helped me progress both, as a footballer and as a person. I want to extend my gratitude to Odisha FC and thank the club and the staff for the support they’ve given me. Now, my sights are set on making the most of this opportunity that lies ahead of me and I hope to help the Mumbai City family achieve our goals and objectives,” he added.

"I’m pleased that we are able to secure Vinit with us for another season. He brings a balance and other qualities to our midfield that will be very important for the team. Having joined us midway through last season, Vinit settled into the group quickly and has already demonstrated how important he can be for us, especially during our AFC Champions League campaign. He has exceptional personal qualities and I am confident he will have a really positive impact on and off the pitch in his time here with us at Mumbai City,” stated Des Buckingham, head coach of Mumbai City FC on Vinit’s contract extension.

Jorge Diaz departs Kerala Blasters FC

Kerala Blasters FC announced the departure of their forward Jorge Pereyra Diaz from their squad ahead of the new season of the Hero ISL. The club announced his departure through their social media handles, on Tuesday.

Diaz began his professional career with the Argentine club Ferro Carril Oeste in 2008. After four years at Ferro, he went on to play for Club Atlético Lanús, helping his team win the 2013 Copa Sudamericana.

Later, Pereyra moved to the Malaysian Super League team Johor Darul Ta’zim FC, scoring 26 goals in 45 league matches over 3 years. During his stint at Johor Darul Ta’zim FC, he featured in both AFC Champions League-Qualification and AFC Cup.

The striker took the centre-stage in attack alongside Alvaro Vazquez and put up some incredible numbers in his debut Hero ISL 2021-22 season, being involved in nine goal contributions comprising eight goals and one assist across 21 matches.

While an influential asset for the Blasters under Vukomanovic’s regime, his void needs to be filled with an identical player who can rekindle the numbers in the attack.

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