Having a good striker in a team is a good idea. Retaining a player who scored more than half of the team's goals last season should, in nearly all cases, be a no-brainer.
The deal with Bartholomew Ogbeche at Kerala Blasters appeared to be straightforward at first but then the Coronavirus pandemic took football for a ride. Everything seemed okay for a while initially but then the realization dawned on Indian clubs that the pandemic will have a massive financial impact in the football world.
Every club functions and operates their finances differently. Kerala Blasters were left with no choice but to suggest deferred payments to their players.
The deferrals felt better to some players compared non-payment of salaries, which did occur for a few months during the 2019-20 season. After the dues were cleared, Ogbeche's case stood out.
The player did not want to take a deferral - from his point of view, he had just had two back-to-back brilliant seasons in the ISL and it didn't make sense to earn less money.
And after weeks of discussions, during which Mumbai City swooped in with an offer, both parties came to an amicable resolution.
Earlier this week, Ogbeche sent a farewell message to his Kerala Blasters' teammates, which read,
Hi everyone, I trust you’re all doing fine. This is simply to inform you all that i won’t be part of the team for the upcoming season. I enjoyed the workouts as well as the times we’ve had virtually with some of you and I appreciate the oneness and love that reigned amongst us last season regardless of how tough the season was.
Take good care of yourselves and all the best for the season ahead. God bless
As Goal had earlier revealed, Mumbai City were in advanced talks to sign the former PSG striker and that deal was wrapped up.
The Nigerian's 15 goals were vital for not only the player himself who surpassed Iain Hume as Blasters' all-time top scorer (in just one season!) but also revitalized a Blasters fanbase that felt lethargic seeing their team struggle in front of goal week in week out in the last few years.
Given how Blasters have chosen to approach the current uncertain transfer market, with a preference to wait and observe rather than wrap up deals early, Ogbeche's exit was a long time coming and the club should be well prepared for his departure. Kerala Blasters will move on. And so should the fans.
And now would be a good time to stop creating hashtags to bring back former players. It's time to move on.