Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Mumbai City FC are interested in roping in Hernan Santana, who turned out for Real Sporting de Gijon in Secunda Division last season, and have held talks with the Spanish midfielder, The Bridge understands.
Reports in Spain suggest that Mumbai have already made a solid offer and the deal is close to being finalised. Apparently, FC Goa were also keen but at this point, the Islanders seem to be ahead in the race.
Santana, 30, is a centre midfielder who can also operate as a defensive medio. He began his professional career at UD Las Palmas' academy and rose up through the ranks before joining the senior side in 2012. Interestingly, Sergio Lobera, Mumbai’s current coach, was the head coach of the team at that time. Lobera worked with Santana for a good couple of years before moving to Morocco.
Santana, on the other hand, polished his skills at Las Palmas before making the switch to Sporting Gijon in 2018. His contract with the club was supposed to run until 2021, but over the course of last season, he fell down the pecking order and made only two appearances. As a result, the club and the player came to a mutual agreement to terminate the contract.
Sergio Lobera is building a strong team (Source: ISL)
Looking at Mumbai’s foreign signings so far, it definitely feels that Lobera is building a team capable enough of winning the trophy. In Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam Le Fondre, they have two experienced strikers who are known to be prolific scorers. Then they have Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall and Hugo Boumous is also expected to join soon.
The addition of Santana indicates two things — that Boumous will operate down the wings, and maybe, just maybe, Mumbai are confident about signing Sanesh Jhingan. It is no secret that Lobera likes to operate with two foreign defenders, but if they get Jhingan, that won’t be necessary. In that case, Santana would be the perfect buy as the sixth foreigner. If they don’t get Jhingan, though, Mumbai should go for an Asian defender.
Overall, here is what Mumbai’s starting line up might look like next season:
Amrinder Singh; Md. Rakip, Sarthak Golui (Sandesh Jhingan?), Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Desai; Ahmed Jahou, Hugo Boumous, Rowllin Borges; Farukh Choudhary, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam Le Fondre