ISL: Edu Garcia set to sign for Odisha FC
The 33-year-old Spaniard will follow his head coach Sergio Lobera from China.
Odisha FC are set to land Spanish attacking midfielder Edu Garcia. The highly experienced player currently plays for China League One club Sichuan Jiuniu and will reunite with head coach Sergio Lobera. “Edu Garcia is close to completing a switch to Odisha FC, his name came up during contract talks with new head coach Sergio Lobera,” a source close to the development revealed to Khel Now.
A creative midfielder who can play as a winger when required, Edu Garcia is renowned for his killer through balls and set-piece deliveries. He will slot right into the attacking midfield role in behind Diego Mauricio for Odisha FC.
The Juggernauts have had a very positive start to the transfer window, extending the contracts of key players Diego Mauricio and Carlos Delgado, and bringing in seasoned ISL stars Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall. The Hero Super Cup winners will represent the country in the 2023-24 AFC Cup, after qualifying for the group stages.
About the player
A breakthrough star from the Real Zaragoza B team, Edu Garcia first took India by storm with then ISL debutants Bengaluru FC, who got off to a flier under Albert Roca in the 2017-18 season. Edu notched up a goal on debut, and soon became the key to unlocking defences with his nimble footwork, busy movement and clever positioning.
The bustling midfielder went on to make ISL history, after securing a move to Chinese club Zhejiang Greentown midway through the season for an undisclosed fee. With this switch, Bengaluru FC became the first Indian club to receive a transfer fee from a foreign club.
Garcia followed the China stint with a return to India with ATK (later ATK Mohun Bagan after the merger), currently Mohun Bagan Super Giant, with whom he spent two seasons and scored 10 goals in 33 appearances. The man for the big occasions scored a goal off the bench in the 2019-20 ISL finals against Chennaiyin FC, resulting in his first career league title.
He stayed loyal to the Mariners after the merger, signing a two-year deal. However, an ankle injury saw him face a long spell on the sidelines. He terminated his contract with ATK Mohun Bagan and signed for Hyderabad FC for the 2021-22 season, proving to be a valuable asset in the middle of the pitch for the Nizams.
Edu returned to China after moving to Sichuan Jiuniu, where he linked up with Sergio Lobera and became a vital first-team player. He re-discovered his scoring touch, notching up seven goals in 24 appearances in China League One.
Odisha FC’s 2022-23 season
It was a season of historic firsts for the Juggernauts, who qualified for the ISL playoffs for the first time in the club’s history. Josep Gombau returned to familiar surroundings, and used his ISL experience to good effect to lead the club to a sixth-place finish. A loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the eliminator derailed all of the good work.
Still, under Clifford Miranda‘s management, Odisha went on to taste silverware for the first time in a historic Hero Super Cup 2023 run, defeating Bengaluru FC comprehensively in the final. Odisha then overcame Gokulam Kerala in the 2023-24 AFC Cup group stage qualifier, to earn the bragging rights of continental football.
The club’s ambition and hunger for success have clearly been outlined with their aggressive transfer approach. Garcia’s arrival will finally fill the gaping boots left by Javi Hernandes’s departure.
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