Kerala Blasters to sport a new look in ISL Season 10

Jessel Carneiro
Blasters bid farewell to their captain and defender Jessel Carneiro. File photo: Special Arrangement

It has become certain that three-time runners-up Kerala Blasters will be having a new-look squad for the 10th edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Blasters bid farewell to five players, including three foreigners and two Indians, as their contract ended on Wednesday. Spaniard Victor Mongil, Ukrainian Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, and Indians Harmanjot Khabra and Muheet Khan have left the side. The club announced the departure through its social media handles.

Earlier, Blasters also bid farewell to their captain and defender Jessel Carneiro. "4 years and countless memories. Go well, skipper," the club tweeted on Tuesday. Greek-Australian forward Apostolos Giannou and full-back Nishu Kumar had already left the club. 

As Blasters have parted ways with three of their five foreign recruits, the remaining foreigners in the squad are playmaker Adrian Luna and star striker Dimitrios Diamantakos. 

The Goa-born Carneiro joined the Blasters in 2019 and had played a pivotal role in the team's backline for four seasons. Playing as a left-back, Carneiro was impressive in his maiden season with the club. However, he struggled with injuries in the next two seasons. Although he made a comeback in the 2022-23 edition, he could not regain his old form. Reportedly, arch-rivals Bengaluru FC have shown keenness to sign the full-back.

Khabra, who joined Blasters from Bengaluru in 2021, was a key figure for Blasters when they reached the final that season. However, he had a limited role in the 2022-23 campaign as Sandeep Singh and Nishu Kumar were preferred over him in the first XI. 

In fact, Blasters are used to chopping and changing their squad every season. The challenge before head coach Ivan Vukomanovic is signing new players and building a compact side. Blasters have roped in Australian Joshua Sotirio as a replacement for Giannou. The 27-year-old striker has been in great form for A-League side Newcastle Jets. 

Blasters, who struggled with poor bench strength and injuries to key players last season, will be looking to bolster their midfield and defence. Croatian defender Marko Leskovic is the only first XI player retained by Blasters. Blasters are also in search of a couple of formidable wingers who possess toughness and tenacity.

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