Bengaluru FC completed the signing of India national team player and versatile winger Ashique Kuruniyan from FC Pune City for an undisclosed transfer fee ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League season, the club announced on Tuesday. The Malappuram-born winger has signed a four-year deal with the reigning ISL champions and will feature for the Blues till the end of the 2022-’23 season.
Ashique, who completed formalities on a long-term deal, expressed his pleasure at completing a move he described as a dream. “I am really glad to have committed my future to a club like Bengaluru FC. Every young footballer in the country wants to play for BFC and I am happy to be able to realise this dream. I have a lot to learn from the senior players at the club, as well as the coaching staff and while I know that there is massive competition for places, I am confident and ready for the challenge,” said the youngster.
Bengaluru FC Coach Carles Cuadrat said the addition of Ashique gives his squad the kind of depth it needs considering the Blues will be competing in Asia too, this season.
“Ashique is the kind of player who can help us in both, attack and defence. His talent, pace and guile gives us the right kind of selection problems, but more importantly, gives us options. We’re playing the AFC Cup this season and it’s important that we add Indian talent to the squad for the continental campaign. We’re looking forward to have him join the club,” said Cuadrat.
After a few stints at academies back in Kerala, Ashique began his career at the Pune FC Academy under current BFC Assistant Coach Naushad Moosa in 2014. While impressing in the All India Football Federation Youth Leagues for a couple of seasons, he earned a call up to the youth national team.
Moving over to FC Pune City in 2016, Ashique had a brief stint in Spain with Villarreal C before returning to the Stallions’ camp for the Indian Super League ahead of the 2017-’18 season.
A key player for the Maharashtra-side, 22-year-old Ashique featured 26 times in the ISL for FC Pune City scoring three goals in the last two seasons. He even became a regular for the national team under ex-coach Stephen Constantine.
He featured 12 times since his debut in the 2018 Intercontinental Cup for the Blue Tigers and even played in all three games at the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE back in January.
Ashique becomes the sixth new signing for the Blues this season after Manuel Onwu, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Suresh Wangjam, Prabhsukhan Gill and Raphael Augusto.