Known for his freekick taking abilities, Gopi is also quite the crafty dribbler. He is a genuine threat down the left flank from where he regularly looks to cut in and shoot towards goal. The 21-year-old winger, who is currently plying his trade at Bhawanipore FC, has been recommended for the first team squad by Indian assistant coach Renedy Singh, as per sources, and has signed a two-year deal with the Red and Golds.
A talented attacking player who hails from Manipur, Gopi first broke through in the 2017-18 season when he impressed for NEROCA FC in the I-League. ATK FC identified him and snapped him up quickly before any other clubs could make a move.
Seen as a promising talent, Gopi was initially registered in the ISL squad. However, competition within the senior squad meant he was left to warm the benches. He was made the captain of the reserves team which played in the I-League 2nd Division and the Calcutta Football League lower divisions. He also featured for ATK in the Durand Cup and impressed with his skills and trickery.
Fowler needs to bolster East Bengal's domestic strength
Things are finally looking positive in the East Bengal camp after months of endless speculation about an uncertain future. New investors Shree Cement Ltd. have taken it upon themselves to build a competitive enough squad, which can fight alongside the top clubs.
Liverpool great Robbie Fowler has been brought in as the head coach, along with his choice of support staff, and the former Brisbane Roar manager is already at work. Despite the late entry, the Red and Golds are reported to have finalised six of their foreigners for the upcoming season. It’s understood that defenders Danny Fox, Scott Neville and striker Anthony Pilkington have agreed terms with the century-old club.
Fowler apparently wants to work with a compact squad comprising of just 26 players — 19 domestic and 7 foreigners. However, truth is, East Bengal's current Indian contingent is not of the quality that the ISL demands. Rival clubs have far better domestic players and new signings before the October 20th deadline are of utmost importance.
Fowler knows this and he has already been discussing the strengths of his domestic players with Renedy who, in turn, has been giving him sound feedback.
There are still quite a few quality domestic players who could be up for transfers from ISL clubs. ATK Mohun Bagan FC, especially, could be a team to raid as they have several talented Indian players like Komal Thatal, Salam Ranjan Singh, Dheeraj Singh, etc. warming the benches. There are other promising talents who might be willing to move to East Bengal in search of first team opportunities like Raynier Fernandes of Mumbai City or Jeakson Singh of Kerala Blasters.
It has been learnt that at least nine Indian players (there could be more), who had been signed by the club management earlier in the summer, have been asked to depart with a promise of compensation.
As of now, apart from Gopi, the club is understood to have convinced Jeje Lalpekhlua and Narayan Das to sign ahead of the upcoming season.
It will be interesting to see what other moves East Bengal make before the transfer window closes.