The 25-year-old starred for the Hornbills in KPL 2020-21.

Midfielder Arjun Jayaraj has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal at Kerala United, Khel Now can confirm. The former Kerala Blasters and Gokulam Kerala midfielder impressed for the Hornbills in the recently-concluded Kerala Premier League (KPL) 2020-21.

“Kerala United handed a brand-new two-year contract to Arjun Jayaraj. He has agreed terms and signed the deal,” a source close to the developments informed Khel Now. We also understand that he had offers from other clubs. However, this new development means that the 25-year-old will remain with the Malappuram-based outfit till the end of the 2022-23 season.

Arjun’s career so far

Arjun Jayaraj began his professional career with Gokulam Kerala in 2017, after he scored against them in a friendly match for his university team. The midfielder debuted for the Malabarians in Kerala Premier League 2017-18. He then scored a goal in the final to help his team lift the title. Later that year, he made his I-League debut for them against Indian Arrows and a month later, scored his maiden goal for the club – a 90th-minute winner against Shillong Lajong.

At the end of the 2018-19 season, Kerala Blasters signed him for a transfer fee of ₹21 lacs. However, he suffered an injury during the pre-season. Eelco Schattorie, the then head coach of the club, was thus forced to exclude the player from their Indian Super League (ISL) squad, as he got ruled out of the entire season.

He recovered well before the 2020-21 season and was included in the Blasters’ first-team squad that travelled to Goa for the ISL. But, a lack of playing time caused him to seek opportunities elsewhere. This eventually led to his parting of ways with the Yellow Army.

Soon afterwards, Arjun signed for Kerala United. His partnership in midfield with Hrishidhath became the focal point of the club’s successes, as they finished second in Group B of KPL 2020-21. The 25-year-old is also among those who created the most goalscoring chances for his team last season.

Kerala United’s pre-season preparations

The Hornbills came into existence last summer, when United World – the owners of then-Premier League side Sheffield United, Belgian Pro League club Beerschot FC and others – acquired Quartz FC and rechristened them. The team play their home games at the Seethi Haji Stadium in Edavanna, Malappuram and are hoping to gain entry into the Second Division League soon.

Following their success in KPL 2020-21, Kerala United are currently working on adding more reinforcements to their squad. Arjun Jayaraj’s midfield partner Hrishidhath has already signed a three-year extension. Ex-Bengaluru United and Minerva Punjab’s Akhil Praveen and former Gokulam Kerala midfielder Salman Kalliyath have also been roped in ahead of the upcoming season.

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