It was a proud day for Indian football as 22-year-old goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu completed his signing with Norway-based club Stabaek Football. On the occassion of India's 68th Independence Day this news comes as hope to young Indian footballers who aspire to play with top tier clubs abroad.
As per a report by Sportskeeda it was revealed that the young custodian had been on trials with Stabaek since May 20 and the former Pailan Arrows and East Bengal keeper had been training with the men's senior squad under the close supervision of head coach Bob Bradley.
The India U-23 international announced the news of his transfer on his twitter profile @gurpreetgk
— gurpreet singh sandh (@gurpreetgk) August 15, 2014
Gurpreet signed a three-year deal earlier this month but had to wait for two weeks for his work permit only afterwhich the the move would be made an official one.
He is the fifth Indian footballer to play in Europe after Mohammed Salim (Celtic), Bhaichung Bhutia (Bury FC), Sunil Chhetri (Sporting Lisbon ‘B’) and Subrata Pal (FC Vestsjaelland).
“I feel good and privileged to stay here and learn so much in three months already. It feels great as an Indian and I want to follow in the footsteps of our footballing greats like Mohammed Salim, Bhaichung bhai, Chettri bhai, Mistu da (Subrata),” Gurpreet told Sportskeeda.
He thanked and acknowledged the efforts of former Manchester City goalkeeper John Burridge for helping him throughout his career. Also, he appreciated television presenter Joe Morrison's contribution. Both Morrison and John Burridge were instrumental in getting him a trial at Wigan Athletic in 2012. “Thanks to Budgie as he identified my talent in Kolkata and Joe’s support has been phenomenal throughout,” he added.
The new signee will have to fight it out for a regular place in the playing eleven with Ivory Coast's Sayouba Mande and Norwegian youngster Borger Thomas.
Gurpreet will sport the number 22 jersey and is delighted that it all worked out in the end despite it taking long to complete the contractual formalities. "Good things take.time to happen. Just happy that it happened," he told goal.com.