Indian football team centre-back Sandesh Jhingan is set to part ways with Indian Super League side Kerala Blasters after a six-year association with the franchise since their inception, according to a report in The Times of India.

Jhingan had previously signed a contract extension with Kerala Blasters in 2019 that would have seen him stay at the club for another three years. However, the defender has decided to end his association with Kerala Blasters and is likely to move abroad, the report claimed.

It is also learnt that Kerala Blasters has asked many of their players to take pay cuts amid a financial restructuring, which is believed to have played a part in Jhingan’s exit.

“Sandesh [Jhingan] has an existing contract with Blasters which extends to another two years,” an official was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

“Yet he will be parting ways with the club. A final settlement will be done between Sandesh and Blasters. As of now he is leaving Blasters and in all probability moving outside the country for his club football,” the official added.

Jhingan, who has earned 36 caps for India since making his debut in 2015 and the Blasters mutually agreed to part ways ahead of the upcoming ISL season, according to another club official.

“Yes, Sandesh is no longer with the club. It was under mutual agreement,” the official told PTI.

ESPN India reported that Jhingan “has been in touch with clubs from UK and Australia, though India’s low Fifa ranking rules him out of the former. There are also reports of a possible move to Qatar.”

The 26-year-old Jhingan has been like a rock at the centre of Blasters’ defence since the club’s inception in 2014, helping them reach the ISL final twice (2014 and 2016).

The Chandigarh-born Jhingan, a hugely popular figure for the Blasters’ fans, has made 76 appearances for the club, becoming their most-capped player. He, however, missed the whole of the 2019-’20 ISL season due to an injury. Without Jhingan, Kerala Blasters finished seventh out of 10 teams.

Kerala Blasters have appointed Mohun Bagan’s I-League winning coach Kibu Vicuna for the upcoming season.