Indian Arrows hold captain Amarjit, but keeper leaves post

Amarjit Singh, Captain of AIFF's developmental side Indian Arrows - InsideSport

I-League club Indian Arrows have extended their contract with captain Amarjit Singh till the end of 2019-20 season. However, the club could not succeed in retention negotiations with goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, who has made a mover after serving his contract with the club.

The All India Football Federation side has scored a big goal by retaining Amarjit. However, the club could not hold goalkeeper Dheeraj, who will be appearing for a trial with Scottish Premier League side Motherwell FC.

The Manipuri teenaged striker, who also captained India’s U-17 World Cup team, will continue to be with the Indian Arrows for the current I-League season and two more years.

All the remaining players, except for Jeakson Singh, Anwar Ali and Nongdamba Naorem, have reportedly signed contracts till the end of 2019-20 season.

“Amarjit’s contract was to expire today (on the New Year’s Eve) but he has signed to extend his contract till 2019-20 season. Except for Jeakson, Anwar, and Naorem, all the players now have the same contract till 2019-20,” national news agency PTI has reported quoting anonymous sources.

“Before the start of the I-League, Amarjit and Dheeraj had signed contracts for upto December 31 and all the others for three years, that is till 2019-20 season.”

Meanwhile, India’s U-17 World Cup goalkeeper Dheeraj has applied visa for travelling to the United Kingdom for a trial with Motherwell FC, which is currently at the bottom half of the Scottish Premier League table.

“Dheeraj has applied for his visa and he will be leaving for Scotland as soon as he receives the visa. He will be there in Scotland for at least two months for a trial at Motherwell FC,” his agent Anuj Kichlu is quoted as saying.

Dheeraj Singh quits Indian Arrows for trials at Scottish side Motherwell FC - InsideSport
Dheeraj Singh

Dheeraj Singh has quit the team after AIFF insisted he signs a three-year contract extension like all other players. “It didn’t make sense for Dheeraj to be tied down by another contract for three years (by the AIFF). He wants to (appear for) trial abroad and try his luck on foreign soil,” media reports have quoted Anuj as saying.

The AIFF, on the other hand, said they couldn’t make an exception for Dheeraj. “We were offering Dheeraj the same contract which we offered to the rest of the team. We are not a club, so cannot differentiate,” said an AIFF official.

Reports also state that the Motherwell FC has written to the AIFF about Dheeraj’s appearance for a trial in Scotland. There exists an exit clause in the Arrows’ contract. The clause allows the players to go if they get an interest from an overseas club. The club as per the agreement is required to inform the AIFF that they will be released if any foreign club expresses interest in them and officially writes to the federation in this regard.

Even if Motherwell decides to sign Dheeraj, the club will have to wait till 4 July, 2018, when the goalkeeper turns 18.

The star who guarded the goalpost of Indian side at the FIFA U-17 World Cup has already left the team hotel in Kolkata and will explore other options which include Motherwell FC, Charlton Athletic Club (League One in England) and Toronto FC (MLS champions). Talks with English Premier League side West Ham United have also picked up pace.