East Bengal claimed it had finalised a deal with Indian soccer captain Baichung Bhutia for the coming season.
"After much discussions, we have finalised a deal with Baichung. He has agreed to play for us once he is back after a two-month stint with a Malaysian club," UB-East Bengal Football Team Private Limited director Amit Sen said in Kolkata on Monday.
Sen said Bhutia, who left for Delhi during the day to finalise the visa formalities for his Malaysia trip, would sign the agreement once he returned from the national capital in the next couple of days.
"Or else, we will courier his papers to Malaysia," Sen said, adding: "regardless of when he signs, we have got a gentleman's word from him".
Bhutia, who is expected to leave for Malaysia later this week, could not be contacted.
Only last week Bhutia had complained about the 'shabby treatment' meted out to him by East Bengal, alleging that the club had delayed clearing his last year's dues. The striker even approached Mohun Bagan on Friday.
The ice started melting after a meeting between East Bengal football secretary Santosh Bhattacharya and the player on Saturday. Yesterday, Baichung had a detailed meeting with Sen where the issue seems to have been thrashed out.
Meanwhile, sources close to Bhutia said he is negotiating with two Malaysian outfits -- Perak FC and Peoples' National Bank (PNB).
"PNB seems to be the most likely option," they said.
Once he inks a deal, Bhutia would play in the 16-team Malaysia Cup that concludes in September.
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