ISL- Indian Super League

Five positions NorthEast United need to rebuild this summer

Keshava Verma

May 8 2023
NorthEast United ISL positions fix

The Highlanders finished at the bottom of the league last season.

NorthEast United had arguably the worst season ever in the Indian Super League. The club broke a number of embarrassing and shameful records – the team with the lowest point tally ever, and the team with the most goals conceded in a single season.

The Highlanders, however, had something to salvage from such a disappointing season. They did pretty well in the Hero Super Cup, and also qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament. This however doesn’t rule out the fact that NorthEast are in a very poor situation, and need to strengthen their squad this summer, if they want to do well in the upcoming season.

So here are five positions which NorthEast United need to strengthen this summer.


The biggest problem with NorthEast last season was their poor work in guarding their goal. The Highlanders conceded a total of 55 goals in 20 games, which is by far the highest in the entire league in its history. The issue also prevailed in the Hero Super Cup, a tournament they performed well in. Their defensive troubles were something which continued to prevail and haunt them.

Although the signing of Alisher Kholmurodov helped their defence immensely, NorthEast need to find a player to pair him up with. Their current option, Mashoor Shereef, isn’t very consistent with his performances, and cannot be relied upon for the entire season.

The bringing in of an experienced and solid centre-back can help the Highlanders immensely, and can help tackle one of their biggest weaknesses.

Defensive Midfielder

NorthEast as a team lack quality in midfield. Despite having players like Joseba Beitia and Jithin MS, NorthEast’s midfield is often scattered and inefficient. This is why they need a proper defensive midfielder, who can help with the team’s ball progression, and can also act as a guardian of the defensive line.

By bringing a quality and experienced player for the DM position, the Highlanders will help their defence immensely and would also fill a major role in the middle of the park.


NorthEast United’s main option in the right-back position, Alex Saji, did really well towards the end of the season, but at times suffered due to his lack of experience and poor defensive abilities. 

Although his contribution in the offensive phase was really commendable, his work in the backline was a thing of concern. Moreover, Saji continuation at the club is also a question since he came on loan in January. An ideal replacement is what the Highlanders should go after!


Wilmar Jordan Gill NorthEast United ISLWilmar Jordan scored six goals in the Hero Super Cup. (Courtesy: AIFF Media)

NorthEast have arguably one the best strikers in the entire league – Wilmar Jordan. But the club needs to understand that they can’t rely on the Colombian in all situations and games, and need to find an ideal replacement in case Jordan gets injured and cannot play.

Currently, other than Jordan, the club has no other player who has the necessary attacking and finishing abilities to assure goals. Relying on a single player to carry the team in crucial positions is a mistake that the Highlanders have made in the past, and they should avoid doing so in the future.


Arindam Bhattacharya ISL NorthEast United yellow card refereeArindam Bhattacharya receives a yellow card from the referee. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Arindam Bhattacharya had a pretty lousy season, full of conceding goals and injury problems. To add to issues, NorthEast United’s second choice goalkeeper Mirshad Michu was also not at his best with his displays, lacked proper ball distribution and made costly mistakes at times. Both Arindam and Mirshad had a goal conceded per game average of 3 and 2.5 respectively, a truly staggering number.

This is why the Highlanders will have a crucial task of adding a lot more quality under the sticks, which as it stands, would be done by signing a quality goalkeeper. 

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