The 24-year-old made eight appearances so far in ISL 2021-22.

Indian Super League (ISL) defending champions Mumbai City have completed the signing of Vinit Rai from Odisha FC. The midfielder has joined the Islanders on a short-term loan deal that will last till the end of the ongoing 2021-22 season.

“We are pleased to announce that the Club has reached an agreement with Odisha FC for the loan of 24-year-old midfielder Vinit Rai until the end of the season,” Mumbai City’s official statement from Wednesday, January 5 read. Odisha FC also confirmed the player’s exit, as they said, “He has been with us since our inception in 2019 and was selected as one of the captains in the ongoing eighth season of the ISL. We wish Vinit all the very best for his upcoming games.”

Vinit Rai’s footballing career started in Assam. The midfielder was roped in by the Tata Football Academy at the age of 13 and after graduating, earned his first professional contract with Dempo SC. He was picked by Kerala Blasters for ISL 2016 and he played two games for them. He was then loaned out to Minerva Punjab for the I-League and a move to Delhi Dynamos followed. The central midfielder hit the ground running and was brilliant for the Delhi-based team in ISL 2017-18.

After an underwhelming 2018-19 season with the Lions, the 24-year-old signed with Odisha FC and made 15 appearances for them in 2019-20. He also scored his first ISL goal during that season.

The midfielder featured heavily for the Bhubaneswar-based outfit in ISL 2020-21 too, featuring in 16 games although his team had an underwhelming campaign. Under the new head coach Kiko Ramirez and his staff, they are now looking to turn things around – as evident from their performances so far this season.

Vinit Rai featured in eight out of the nine matches played by Odisha FC so far in ISL 2021-22. He has maintained a really impressive passing accuracy of 86.81% and has also registered an average of 4.25 tackles, 1.38 interceptions and 1.63 clearances per game. The Juggernauts are currently in seventh place, but a win in their upcoming clash against ATK Mohun Bagan on Saturday will take them to at least the third place.

Mumbai City, meanwhile, are at second place in the standings as of now. The unavailability of the injured Rowllin Borges has surely affected their progress – and it is expected the Vinit’s signing will help them fill that void.

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