The 28-year-old has joined the club after mutually terminating his contract with Croatian side HNK Sibenik.

In a surprising move, India international Sandesh Jhingan returned to ATK Mohun Bagan for his second stint in the January transfer window on a free transfer. Jhingan mutually terminated his contract with Croatian club HNK Sibenik and has joined on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Jhingan was one of the standout players for the Mariners in the 2020-21 season, where they finished as the runners-up in the league. He helped ATKMB maintain the best defensive record in the league and go all the way to the ISL final, where they lost to Mumbai City FC. The 28-year-old left the club in August 2021 and decided to join Croatian side HNK Sibenik in a bid to try his luck in Europe.

However, Jhingan’s stint at the Croatian side didn’t go as planned. He failed to clock any minutes and was only included in the matchday squads for a couple of games. A calf injury derailed Jhingan’s season and although he appeared to have initially recovered, the injury resurfaced. The centre-back had returned to India for rehab.

Sandesh Jhingan has returned to ATK Mohun Bagan

Jhingan opted against going back to Croatia and rather make his return to the ISL. He has been one of the most decorated defenders in the league’s history, having made 98 ISL appearances in his career.

Sandesh Jhingan in ISL 2020-21

He made 22 appearances for ATK Mohun Bagan last season after coming back from a year-long injury period. Jhingan helped them keep 10 clean sheets and only concede 19 goals – maintaining the best defensive record in the league stages.

The return of the veteran defender will give a much-needed boost to Juan Ferrando’s side. In nine games so far in the ongoing season, the Mariners have already conceded 18 goals – just one shy of the total number they shipped in the previous season. They currently have the joint-third worst defensive record and have been giving away too many cheap goals.

Jhingan should join up with the squad soon, but it remains to be seen when he makes his second debut. ATK Mohun Bagan face Odisha FC in their next ISL game on Saturday. However, the 28-year-old is unlikely to be fit enough to start the match.

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