Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


ISL 2020-21: How ATK-Mohun Bagan could line up next season

Which Mohun Bagan players will find a place at ATK-MB in ISL next season? Who has impressed Antonio Lopez Habas? Read to know.

ISL 2020-21: How ATK-Mohun Bagan could line up next season


Published: 9 April 2020 3:47 PM GMT

The 2019-20 season was nothing less than a fairytale ride for the two teams which will be merging into one entity from next season, ATK FC and Mohun Bagan. While ATK clinched the Indian Super League (ISL) title, Mohun Bagan had secured the I-League title with four matches to spare.

Naturally, the new side — a combination of the two champion teams — is expected to dominate Indian football over the next couple of years at least. However, for that to happen, the most important exercise is the team-building process.

The fans are already going gung-ho about which players will play for the newly formed team. With RPSG Group chairman Sanjiv Goenka confirming that Antonio Lopez Habas will continue as the head coach, it will be interesting to see just how many players from Mohun Bagan make the cut in the final squad.

RPSG Group is known for their astute decision making in the transfer market. Over the years, they have roped in some of the biggest names in Indian football, sometimes it has worked, sometimes it hasn’t. But last year, they hit the gold mine with their transfer strategy.

Roy Krishna and David Williams Roy Krishna and David Williams celebrate a goal together (Image: The Telegraph)

From Roy Krishna to Agus Garcia, from Michael Soosairaj to Dheeraj Singh, every signing was made keeping in mind the best interests of the team. And that made a champion team.

Also read: Throwback: The match which made Bhaichung Bhutia an Indian football legend

It is no surprise that the Kolkata-based club have already started planning ahead for the upcoming season, even when the entire world is on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. They have already added more firepower to their Indian core by signing FC Goa’s Manvir Singh and Mumbai City’s Subhasish Bose.

More importantly, they have begun the process of retaining their core by giving contract extensions to Krishna, David Williams and Edu Garcia. And it is only a matter of time before they tie down Javi Hernandez and Carl McHugh, the two other foreign recruits who impressed, with new deals. Under the new norms of ISL’s foreign player quota, that leaves space for just two more foreign signings.

If we take a deeper look at their current squad, they have long-term contracts with almost all key players and youngsters. Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Sehnaj Singh, Anas Edathodika and Balwant Singh are the only Indian players whose contracts run out this summer. Given their squad depth, there are only a few spots where Habas would look for replacements and Bagan is a viable place to look for options.

Jersey colour is representational How ATK-MB might line up (Jersey colour and kit numbers are representational)

Bagan, on their part, also did quite well when it comes to building the team. They did not just win the league, their second I-League title in their long and glorious history, but also they shattered a lot of records in doing so. The likes of Joseba Beitia, Fran Gonzalez, SK Sahil, Baba Diawara among others impressed through the season.

But the truth is, as much as they were impressive on the pitch, as much as they were focussed on winning the title, everyone else seemed to not want to win it at all. One look at the league table, and you will also see it. The difference in points between the team placed second, East Bengal, and the team placed last, Indian Arrows, is fewer than that between first and second. Three points separate the teams between second to eighth.

There are only a handful of Bagan players who deserve to be in the combined team next season. Of them, Fran Gonzalez is a viable candidate while SK Sahil and Subha Ghosh could come in as replacements for Sehnaj and Balwant, should they leave.

It is vital that RPSG Group play their cards right. Along with the usual suspects FC Goa, Bengaluru FC, and Chennaiyin FC, Hyderabad FC, Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters are all keen on building the strongest squad. An exciting, new season beckons once the ongoing pandemic is dealt with, and the champions of India have to be ready.

Also read: What can East Bengal fans expect from Indo-Iranian winger Omid Singh?

Next Story