The Indian club football market managed to reach the INR 1 crore mark for a single deal after defending I-League champions Chennai City FC traded Pedro Manzi with J2 League Albirex Niigata. The transfer deal for the Spanish-Uruguayan footballer was agreed by the I-League side Chennai for a value of INR 1 crore.
Manzi had joined Chennai City FC on October in 2918, and made an impact right away, scoring four hat-tricks in the 2018-19 season to win the 'Golden Boot' award. He ended the edition as the joint highest goal-scorer with 23 goals. Churchill Brothers' Willis Plaza also had netted 23 goals.
Manzi, however, decided to move to the Japanese club Niigata as he wanted to explore a new challenge. “I would like to thank everyone in Chennai City and the club will always remain in my heart. I also want to thank everyone involved in Albirex Niigata for giving me a new challenge. I go to Japan with hope and will work hard to achieve the goals set by the team,” Manzi said in a statement.
If reports are to be believed, the Japanese league had approached Chennai City FC for procuring the services of Manzi.
“Albirex had appointed former New York City FC assistant coach Albert Puig as their coach a couple of months back. Puig was looking for a striker and he knew about Manzi from one of the fellow NYC assistant coaches Jordi Gris,” Chennai City FC president and co-owner Rohit Ramesh told the Times of India.
“Jordi used to be a CCFC assistant coach and he was the one who brought Manzi to CCFC. So he immediately asked me whether Manzi is for sale. I told him we can think about it if a good offer is on table. It was then that Albirex contacted us and we started negotiating."
A number of Indian Super League (ISL) clubs too were interested in trading Manzi to their clubs, but Albirex clinched the deal due to the record money being offered. “The ISL clubs were not offering us the right terms and conditions. So we thought that it’s better to keep him at our club. But Albirex’s offer was quite good and Manzi was okay with the move,” Rohit added. “This is how all major deals were done all over the world. Barca also raked in huge money when they sold Neymar. So we generated good revenue after selling him. Now, we are in the market for reinforcements.”
The highest-ever transaction previously in the history of Indian football was ISL team Bengaluru FC's INR 80 lakh deal with Chinese second division side Zhejiang Greentown for Edu Garcia, the Spanish midfielder.