| Bhaichung Bhutia
Calcutta, April 26: A day after being crowned with the most prestigious trophy in domestic football, East Bengal’s process of making a new team is in full swing. Though the recruiters have already completed deals with some of the key players, the strikers’ position is a bit of a worry with Mike Okoro set to leave the country.
However, one name that was on the verge of being forgotten in the East Bengal ranks, is slowly resurfacing.
A section of the East Bengal officialdom felt ‘insulted’ by Bhaichung Bhutia’s behaviour last season, when he decided to play for Mohun Bagan (after confirming to don the red-and-gold jersey).
However, if Okoro finally confirms his unavailability, the mercurial striker can come into the reckoning, say some club officials.
However, for that, the deal with sponsors UB Group (that the Big Two cannot take each other’s player) has to be broken. But if coach Subhas Bhowmick doesn’t show his unwillingness about the player (which he is unlikely to do), Bhaichung can become the big factor in transfer market.
Mohun Bagan are also learnt to be not too keen on retaining Bhaichung.
Meanwhile, East Bengal confirmed Douglas da Silva for the coming season. He asked for a pay-hike which the club officials have agreed to. However, defender Arun Malhotra is unlikely to be retained and Mahesh Gawli of Churchill Brothers are being tried out.
However, Mohun Bagan are also after the Indian defender and it can become a bit of a tussle between the rival clubs.
Some of the others who have already confirmed to stay with the red and golds are Alvito D’Cunha, Subhas Chakraborty and S. Malswamtluanga. Suley Musah, who has offers from Punjab and Mumbai clubs, is also likely to stay back with the National League champions.