The news is out there and Indian football fans know it by now. Lalengmawia or Apuia, NorthEast United's star of last season, is on the verge of being roped in by Indian Super League (ISL) champions Mumbai City FC on a long-term contract. And undoubtedly, they have had to break the bank to seal the transfer.
Indeed, it is one of the most high profile domestic transfers of this window, but what makes the entire deal more interesting are the underlying layers.
To understand the whole picture, for a layman, one must know how transfers work out in the world of football, especially Indian football.
First of all, a said club has to be attracted to a said player, his abilities. They have to be interested, and once they are interested, the next step is approaching the player or the player's representatives. This is done to understand the said player's willingness to join the said club. Once the player is willing and personal terms are agreed in principle, the said club reaches out to the player's parent club (considering the player is not a free agent) and negotiates over the transfer fee.
Once a transfer fee is agreed upon, the rest of the steps are just formalities. This is the simple case when only one club is interested in the said player. But whenever there is more than one club involved, a bidding war ensues, and that's when things get interesting.
Now, coming to Apuia's case, obviously, over the summer several clubs have expressed interest in the 20-year-old midfielder who lit up the ISL last season and, on the back of his performances, was even called up to the senior national team. In fact, he went further to make his debut in national colours.
Two of the clubs who had the means to sign Apuia and were going head to head to rope him in were Mumbai City, of course, and ATK Mohun Bagan, again, of course.
It is learnt that the two clubs went to their extremes to try and persuade the player. But finally, after weeks of negotiation, Mumbai seem to have won the race.
Now, this is where we get into the interesting part.
Because here, the person representing the player is none other than Mumbai City's former Director of Football who departed the club earlier this summer. After being sacked by Mumbai City, this ex-director decided to venture into something which is his comfort zone, and understandably so, he decided to become a football agent. The only player he represents so far? Apuia.
And Apuia, about a month back, was represented by one of the top agents of India, someone who is well-known within the Indian football industry. However, for some reason, he suddenly changed his agent just before securing a transfer away from NorthEast.
It is understood that this ex-director-now-agent had an integral role to play in Apuia's decision to reject ATK Mohun Bagan and join Mumbai City, albeit of the fact that both clubs were willing to dig deep into their pockets and dish out a handsome contract.
Curiously enough, back in January, the Islanders didn't go all out to try and retain club captain and local favourite Amrinder Singh, who, also, is one of India's best goalkeepers. But now Mumbai are not hesitating to go out of their way, break transfer records in order to sign a domestic player from NorthEast United who may also enter the list of top 5 earners in Indian football.
Interesting things are happening in Indian football and one should keep their eyes and ears open for such things, we think!