According to reports on Khel Now, Indian Super League runners up from last season, ATK Mohun Bagan are in contact with NorthEast United fullback Ashutosh Mehta.
The 30-year-old right-back is no stranger to Indian football and even to the Mariners, as he was a part of the I-League winning side of Mohun Bagan which later got merged with ATK to form ATK Mohun Bagan. Mehta who is known for his hardworking spirit and exceptional crossing will add more steel to the Mariners defence as head coach Antonio Lopez Habas keen to bring the trophy back to Kolkata next season after failing to win both- the League winner’s Shield or the main trophy as they were both beaten by Mumbai City FC.
Ashutosh Mehta’s professional career started with now-defunct I-League club Mumbai FC. He went to and fro from the I-League to the Indian Super League as the cash-rich did not receive its elite status till then and players had to be loaned from their I-League clubs. Mehta has featured in the ISL since its inception as he was picked up by FC Pune City. He also plied his trade for teams like Bharat FC and later under Khalid Jamil’s tutelage he won the historic I-League trophy with Aizawl FC. He has also featured in a handful of matches for the Islanders as well. But this season he was something else with NorthEast United under his favourite coach Khalid Jamil.
He brought that form from the I-League where he won his second title with the Mariners under Kibu Vicuna’s leadership in the 2019-20 season as Mohun Bagan created history. Mehta played 18 matches this season and was a very crucial player for the Highlanders, as he registered some decent figures of 3.44 tackles, 1.28 interceptions, 2.78 clearances and 1.44 blocks per game in the recently concluded ISL.
Rewarding his performances even Indian national team coach Igor Stimac has also grabbed the opportunity to don the national team jersey. He made his debut against Oman in their recent tour in Dubai, United States animal.
Mending their situation this time the ATKMB management has shown faith again in Antonio Lopez Habas. The Mariners have also added Hyderabad FC fiery winger Liston Colaco for a recording-breaking fee. They also have eyes on some other players as they keep no stone unturned going into another fresh season.