ISL: Analysing ATK Mohun Bagan FC's foreign contingent ahead of the Indian Super League season
The Mariners have made big signings in the summer transfer window, by adding Euro 2020 star Joni Kauko, and Indian transfer record signing Hugo Boumous. How will the foreign contingent of the Kolkata-based team fare, let's have a look.
The Kolkata powerhouse ATK Mohun Bagan have added two huge stars to their galaxy of stars in the summer transfer window. The first one being Joni Kauko, the Finland midfielder who represented his country at the recently concluded Euro 2020, and they broke the Indian transfer record for French attacker Hugo Boumous, when they signed him from the reigning Indian Super League champions Mumbai City FC.
Let us look at the foreign contingent of the team which looks like favorites to win the ISL, at least on paper.
José Luis Espinosa Arroyo aka Tiri has been one of the best defenders in the Indian Super League. He won the ISL with the then ATK team and then captained Jamshedpur FC for three years before signing for the Mariners last season. He played an integral part in ATKMB's charge for the title, which they, unfortunately, lost to Mumbai City FC in the final. The presence of Tiri was missed in ATKMB's AFC Cup campaign, and it showed the value of the Spanish defender in the team He will be the center of the ATKMB defense alongside Pritam Kothal and Subhashish Bose. He is the highest capped foreign player in the ISL, and with seven more appearances, he will touch the 100 mark.
2. Carl McHugh
The Irish midfielder can play multiple positions, he can operate as a center back, and even as a defensive or holding midfielder. Carl McHugh was one of the reasons why ATK MB cruised through in their group in the AFC Cup. He will be key to Antonio Habas' team because a player of his talent, caliber, and ability to play in different positions is something a coach keeps in his treasure chest. It will be exciting to see how would his chemistry be with Joni Kauko and Tiri.
3. David Williams
The Aussie midfielder is the creative mastermind you need who will supply goals to strikers who have a knack for finding the back of the net. Williams was an integral part of the ATK team that won the Indian Super League in 2019-20, and when the club merged with Indian giants Mohun Bagan he was retained by the team. In his first season with the Mariners, he scored 6 goals and has two assists two his name in 20 games. David Williams and Roy Krishna form a special partnership with each other, and Habas would be looking to get more of this partnership in this season.
4. Joni Kauko
When it was announced that ATK Mohun Bagan have signed a player who was playing at the Euros, the fans roared with happiness and excitement. Joni Kauko has played the majority of his life in Europe, and this will be the first time he will be playing in Asia. Joni's debut for the Mariners was one to forget, as ATKMB were beaten comfortably by FC Nasaf in the AFC Cup Inter-zonal semi-final. He would be looking to bounce back, and show the fans why the club signed him in the Indian Super League.
5. Roy Krishna
What can be said about the Fiji captain that has not been said before? Roy Krishna is an ace striker every club would want in their team. He has scored 29 goals in the last two seasons in the ISL but has just missed out on the golden boot on both occasions. He was awarded the Hero ISL Player of the year last year, for his performances for the Mariners that helped them finish second and reach the final of the playoffs. Roy Krishna is the star attraction, and we all know there will be goals from him in the upcoming season as well.
6. Hugo Boumous
The former FC Goa star and Mumbai City FC star has made teams break the transfer record for him two years in succession. The transfer of Hugo was the highest transfer fee paid by an Indian club for a player, but the man is known for breaking records on the pitch as well. He has won wherever he has played, and he will be looking to do the same for ATKMB as well. Most of the Indian football fans are looking forward to how he links up with Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh, and Liston Colaco.
On paper, ATKMB have a galaxy of stars with the best foreign and Indian players, and they look like early title favorites. Who do you think will be the key foreign player for the Mariners this season?