The transfer of Sahal Abdul Samad from Kerala Blasters to Mohun Bagan SG has shocked Kerala Blasters fans. Sahal’s departure marks the end of an era for the ISL side as the club’s longest-serving player and their beloved poster boy.
Sahal Abdul Samad, who played 97 matches for Kerala Blasters, was a player destined to spend most of his career with the club. Being from Kerala, he had a special relationship with his fans.
The unexpected transfer left many followers disappointed. Here’s a look at everything that went on behind the scenes last month:
The long transfer saga began at the start of the summer window when Kerala Blasters extended the contract of young defender Hormipum Ruiva to a five-year deal.
However, a few weeks later, the club offered him to Mohun Bagan SG as part of a proposed deal to acquire their captain Pritam Kotel. Kerala Blasters were also willing to pay more to secure the services of the experienced defender as they need defensive strength.
Unfortunately, Mohun Bagan SG showed no interest in signing Hormipam Ruiva, and the young defender himself expressed his desire to stay with Kerala Blasters. This setback forced Kerala Blasters to look for other avenues. Sahl Abdul Samad, a long-time target of Mohun Bagan SG, suddenly looked like a viable option.
Sahal has expressed his strong desire to stay with Kerala Blasters despite receiving a lucrative offer from Mohun Bagan. But despite his wishes, the ball had started rolling.
Knowing about Sahal’s availability in the market, Bengaluru FC also expressed interest in signing Sahal. Bengaluru FC offered around 2 crores and were even ready to include a player in the contract if necessary.
The amount offered by BFC is much higher than what MBSG offered. But Kerala Blasters’ eagerness to secure Pritam Kotal led to an understanding between the Kolkata and Kerala clubs.
The talks, led by Kerala Blasters’ sporting director Karolis Skinkis, finally paid off, and KBFC are known for their top target, Pritam Kotal, a versatile defender known for his leadership skills – sadly.
Pritam Kotal’s initial intention was to stay with Mohun Bagan SG, but with the signing of Anwar Ali, there was a change in his thought process. Recognizing that his playing time may be limited due to increased competition, Kotal, who values regular game minutes, decided to pursue other opportunities. Kerala Blasters’ offer presented an enticing offer that he found difficult to refuse.
Although the transfer fee received by the club may be considered less than 90 lakhs, Kerala Blasters got an excellent defender in Pritam Kotal in return. Cottle’s presence in the team is expected to provide stability and leadership at the back that has been lacking in recent seasons.
Was KBFC unfair to Samad?
Following Sahal’s move, much focus has been placed on the club’s motivation in pursuing a transfer deal.
Fans expressed disappointment and dismay at the club’s handling of Sahal’s departure. They pointed to instances where they were left out or ignored, raising questions about the club’s treatment of its longest-serving player.
A notable incident was the star’s omission from the Indian national team’s match day posters. Also, there were no public congratulatory messages or wishes from Kerala Blasters when Sahal got married recently.
This lack of recognition raises questions about the level of support and appreciation the club had for their player, especially given Sahal’s stature within the team and his huge popularity among fans.
Ultimately, the success of a transfer deal is measured not just by the amount of money involved, but by the overall impact it has on the team’s performance. Kerala Blasters’ focus on strengthening their defense and securing a proven player in Pritam Kotel demonstrates their commitment to build a competitive and successful team with the ultimate goal of achieving greatness on the football field.