India Under-17 goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem has reportedly been spotted by international scouts representing football clubs in Europe and around the world.
Moirangthem was one of the standout performers for India in their 2017 Fifa Under-17 World Cup campaign, which ended in a first-round exit.
Although India conceded nine goals in three matches, Moirangthem was praised by many for his goalkeeping skills, which saved the team from more humiliating defeats. Former India captain Bhaichung Bhutia even said he was the “find of the tournament”.
According to an Indian Express report, Moirangthem’s heroics have caught the attention of scouts representing a few international clubs. India’s Portuguese goalkeeping coach Paolo Grilo told the daily that “people from many teams in Europe and around the world” have shown interest in the 17-year-old. However, he did not reveal which teams these were.
Grilo, who is the goalkeeping coach of USA’s Major League Soccer side Philadelphia Union, added that Moirangthem has the potential to play in Europe but won’t improve “if he returns to the methodology of training in India”.
Moirangthem was involved in a discussion with senior All India Football Federation officials regarding his future, the report further said. An AIFF official told the daily that Dheeraj will consult his family during the three-day break given to the players after the tournament and will get back to them next week to see if there are any “genuine interested parties”.
The AIFF will be one of the key parties involved in any future move by Moirangthem since he is the federation’s academy product and is close to signing of a two-year deal to play in the I-League. “We are aware of the interest shown by the scouts and have spoken to Dheeraj about it,” the AIFF official was quoted as saying. “The most important thing is to ensure the interest is genuine and not because of commercial reasons.”