EAST BENGAL SECRETARY Kalyan Majumdar has strongly denied that his club is in the race to sign Haitian winger Sony Norde for the I-League 2015-16 season. Speaking to reporters at the East Bengal tent, Majumdar said,
"We are not robbers. I said it before as well... we are not interested [in signing Sony Norde], simple."
His comments came after news emerged from arch rival club Mohun Bagan that another I-League club had a keen interest in signing Sony Norde. It was hinted that a secret bidding war was ongoing for Norde and that is the reason why Mohun Bagan have not been able to extend his contract.
Sony Norde, who joined Mohun Bagan last season, played a pivotal role in their I-League triumph. It was the Mariners' first league title in 13 years and propelled Norde to the status of a universally loved club legend.
Norde has gone on to make his mark at the ISL as well, playing a crucial role in the Mumbai City attack. He is presently away to play for the Haiti national team in the World Cup Qualifiers.
Although Sony Norde himself has repeatedly asserted that he will continue to play in Mohun Bagan, the fact that the deal isn't done yet has contributed to speculations about his future at the club. Mohun Bagan have been going through financial difficulties ever since their title sponsors McDowell (United Spirits Limited) abruptly stopped paying them since November 2014. Many believe that this has created a situation where the champions of India are finding it hard to meet the amount of fees that Norde is asking for.
Meanwhile, even though the East Bengal secretary has denied interest in Norde, his words should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt seeing that both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have repeatedly poached each others' players over the years. Just recently, in the summer of 2015, East Bengal successfully trapped two players who were part of the I-League champion squad; Bello Razaq and Sehnaj Singh.
With the I-League all set to kick-off on 9th January, clubs are now getting busy finalizing their teams. And since Sony Norde being one of the best players in the league (he won the Best Foreign Player Award last season) it's hardly surprising to see multiple clubs attempt to secure his services. And if East Bengal are indeed one of the clubs who are chasing the charismatic Haitian... let's just say no one is going to pass out from the shock of it.