Both players in question enjoyed a mixed bag of a season during the recently concluded campaign.
Veteran forward Mohammed Rafi is set to return to Kerala Blasters next season after spending two seasons with Chennaiyin FC, Khel Now can confirm. The experienced campaigner won the coveted Indian Super League title in his stint with the Marina Machans.
Indian football may be on hiatus currently but the team’s arent holding their horses with the transfers. Most of the ISL sides have been very active with their transfer activities this time out. Amongst all the Indian Super League sides Kerala Blasters have shown intent with their transfer and have bagged in some exciting young Indian talent till now. The Tuskers are keen to return to their best next season after a highly disappointing season and adding someone like Rafi will only bolster their options in attack, where they massively lacked last season.
Rafi has been in the Indian football circuit for quite sometime now, starting his career at Mahindra United and playing for clubs like Churchill Brothers, Mumbai FC, ATK, DSK Shivajians etc. He won the ISL first with ATK in the inaugural year of the tournament.
Similarly, Jamshedpur FC have been just behind the Tuskers in the pecking order. The Steelers have been linked with several players throughout the off-season and may end up landing a few for the next season.
In the meantime, Jamshedpur FC centre back Raju Gaikwad has been linked with several clubs like ATK, Pune City FC and even I-League side East Bengal are interested in the 28-year old. It is likely that the Indian football journeyman who has played for clubs like Mohun Bagan, East Bengal Mumbai City FC, and FC Goa.
However, Raju had a tough season last time out for the Steelers only managing to feature in five matches and failed to make much impact. The India international then was sidelined for a considerable amount of time missing the latter part of the season.
Apart from the injury and form, Raju Gaikwad is one of the most experienced centre back around in the Indian contingent and he will be an asset for whichever team he joins next season. ATK are seemingly going for an overhaul and adding someone of Raju Gaikwad’s calibre will only increase their options in defence. Same goes for the Stallions who were pretty poor defensively and adding in an experienced campaign in their backline can change a lot of things positively next season.
East Bengal are also reportedly in the race for his signature as head coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia is looking to increase his Indian options at the back.