With a couple of months to go for the new season of the Indian Super League (ISL) to kick off, teams have been addressing their deficiencies through some shrewd recruitment. Here we take a look at the most recent ISL transfer stories.
Kerala Blasters close to completing foreign signings
Kerala Blasters fans have been worried sick. Despite numerous rumours, since the announcement of Facundo Peryera, the ISL club is yet to officially confirm any of the foreign signings, which has led to further speculation.
While The Bridge confirmed that ex-Wellington Phoenix striker Gary Hooper has agreed terms with the Blasters ahead of the upcoming season and is all set to join the side, rumours suggested that the Englishman had failed his medicals and the move had fallen through. Nonetheless, we can confirm that such reports are ‘totally fabricated’.
As per reports, Kerala have also held talks with African defender Costa Nhamoinesu and apparently, a deal has been agreed. The club was also interested in another former Premier League striker, who has the experience of playing in India before, but talks seem to have broken down in recent days.
Hyderabad FC building a competitive squad with 3 new signings
After a torrid debut campaign in the ISL where they finished at the bottom with just 10 points from 18 games, Hyderabad FC have been busy dipping their hands into the transfer market. After the purchase of winger Joel Chianese from Perth Glory FC, the Nizams have now gone on to bring forward Aridane Santana on board from Odisha FC.
The Spanish striker scored 9 goals and had 2 assists in 14 outings for the Bhubaneshwar-based outfit last term and should play an integral part in coach Manuel Marquez’s new look Hyderabad team.
Official and here we go! https://t.co/wkJBz963c3
— Sagnik Kundu (@whynotsagnik) September 21, 2020
Another signing that should whet the appetite of Hyderabad FC fans is that of Francisco Sandaza. The Spanish striker, who has been a prominent name in the Spanish second division having featured for Girona and Alcorcon, has joined on a one-year contract and would be hoping to hit the ground running at his new club once the season starts.
At the other end of the pitch, the signing of Spanish defender Odei Onaindia should provide more structure to the defensive unit which conceded 39 goals last season, the highest in the division. The 30-year-old joins from Spanish second division side CD Mirandes and would be hoping to bring his experience of facing teams like Celta Vigo, Villareal and Sevilla in the Copa Del Rey last season, into the ISL.
Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC sign solid defensive reinforcements
Former Newcastle United and Wellington Phoenix defender Steven Taylor’s signing by Odisha FC has now been confirmed by the club and his partnership with the other new defensive recruit, Jacob Tratt, will be one to watch out for. The 34-year-old Taylor brings bags of experience into a young defensive unit and should be one of the leaders in the squad, someone who can rally others alongside him.
Chennaiyin FC have also moved to improve their defence with the signing of Bosnian center-back Enes Sipovic for the 2020-21 season. The 30-year-old stopper is the third defensive signing for the team after Reagan Singh and Chhuantea Fanai and joins on a free transfer after playing for Qatari side Umm Salal SC last season. The 6’6” defender, who has an imposing presence and is very good aerially, should be able to form a dependable partnership with Brazilian Eli Sabia at the heart of the Chennaiyin defence.
Both the Kolkata giants looking for a fresh start
ATK Mohun Bagan have wasted no time in building a title-worthy team to compete in the upcoming season of the ISL. With new contracts for Roy Krishna, David Williams, Edu Garcia and Carl McHugh, the team has its spine in place already. The signings of Tiri, Manvir Singh and Subhasish Bose may also turn out to be important ones for the club keeping in mind the fact that they will also be featuring in the AFC Cup this season.
The latest signing to add to this promising bunch of players in Aussie Brad Inman who joins from Brisbane Roar. The 28-year-old midfielder is a former Newcastle United academy product and becomes the 7th foreign recruit for ATK Mohun Bagan.
Welcome to the #ATKMB family, @brad_inman8 !!
The versatile midfielder has penned down a year deal with the club. 🖊️📜
.#Mariners, how excited are you to see Brad in the Green and Maroon⁉️
.#JoyMohunBagan #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/COQV3q8wFd
— ATK Mohun Bagan FC (@atkmohunbaganfc) September 21, 2020
Another developing story that should further bolster the Mariners’ ranks is the potential signing of India international Sandesh Jhingan from Kerala Blasters. Reports suggest that a deal for the defender is close amidst interest from multiple other suitors. If and when the transfer goes through, this may well be the most high profile move by an Indian player in recent seasons.
On the other side of Kolkata maidan, East Bengal FC have gone about their business slowly with some important domestic signings in the form of C.K Vineeth, Mohammed Rafique, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Lalramchullova. But now, with an announcement on their ISL sojourn imminent, they would be looking to assemble a well-rounded side that is good enough to compete with their local rivals as well as others in the league.
The club is reportedly in talks to sign former FC Goa and Odisha FC left-back Narayan Das on a long-term deal. The management is also looking to bring in India international Jeje Lalpekhlua after he announced that he was leaving Chennaiyin FC after 6 years at the club. The Mizoram-born striker is just one of the high profile names that the club are considering ahead of their debut ISL season with contact initiated with former Barcelona winger Ibrahim Afellay to sign him on as one of the Marquee foreign players in the squad. However, as explained in a previous article, Afellay’s move could be a complicated affair with there being some ambiguity regarding the criteria that a Marquee player is supposed to meet.
The Red and Gold fans would also want a decision to be arrived at regarding the head coach position as soon as possible with several highly rated names in the mix. With the assistant coach position already finalized in the form of 38-year-old Francisco Bruto Da Costa, it is one less thing to worry about for the club who are racing against time to complete all the formalities before the start of the ISL season. The Goan, who holds an AFC Pro License, joins the Kolkata side after previous stints at North East United and Kerala Blasters apart from a short spell with the Malaysian national team.