I-League powerhouses East Bengal are looking to rope in Chennaiyin FC defender Bernard Mendy for the new season, which begins on Saturday.
Mendy was instrumental in guiding Chennaiyin FC to their first ever ISL trophy late last year.
The addition of the former France international could work wonders for the Kolkata giants, who are desperate to win the I-League for the first time since 2007, and assure that the trophy is kept intact in the City of Joy. Their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan made history by winning the prestigious title last season.
East Bengal, this year, have three foreigners in the squad -- South Korean midfielder Do Dong-hyun, Nigerian striker Ranti Martins and Nigerian defender Bello Rasaq. The addition of Mendy, who can play equally well in defence as a holding midfielder, will complete the foreigner quota for the club.
However, whether the club, who won the Calcutta Football League (CFL) title for the sixth time in a row after defeating Mohun Bagan in September 2015, actually comes out successful in signing the former PSG defender remains to be seen.
Earlier, East Bengal had announced that they are close to acquiring the services of Ghanaian striker Bright Lukeman, but that deal never really saw the light of day. "Our deal with Lukeman didn't work because of certain issues. But our priority now is to get a good defender as we need to bolster our defence," an official told Kolkata newspaper The Telegraph.
"So, we are in talks with Mendy. Negotiations with Mendy are at a preliminary stage, though. We'll be able to divulge more on this only when things are more or less finalised."
The club, has meanwhile, announced they have added some key players from various ISL franchises this season. While East Bengal have signed Indian defensive midfielder Sehnaj Singh from Delhi Dynamos, they also roped in Indian goalkeeper Rehenesh and star winger Sanju Pradhan from NorthEast United FC.