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Top five deadline day transfers in Indian Football this January 2024

Published at :February 1, 2024 at 5:23 PM
Modified at :February 1, 2024 at 5:23 PM
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(Courtesy : Toronto FC/BFC Media)

Atawaris Warsi

Indian football clubs brought home the players they needed to solidify their squads.

The January 2024 transfer window Deadline Day proved to be a whirlwind for Indian football clubs, with eleventh-hour deals dominating headlines. The rush to finalise transfers before the window closed added an extra layer of excitement, as teams aimed to strengthen their squads for the remainder of the season. Notably, the winter transfer window often witnesses strategic loan deals as clubs strategically manoeuvre to meet their seasonal objectives.

The day was marked by a flurry of activity, showcasing the urgency and unpredictability that characterise Deadline Day. Clubs navigated through negotiations and paperwork to secure last-minute signings, aware of the risks involved in making crucial decisions with the ongoing season in mind. As the transfer window slammed shut, Indian football witnessed a tapestry of moves that could significantly impact the league’s landscape.

Khel Now takes a look at the best transfers that took place in Indian football during the January 2024 window:

5. Isaac Vanmalsawma – Odisha FC to Punjab FC

Punjab FC find themselves in the 11th position in the standings after 12 games in their inaugural ISL campaign, grappling with inconsistency. Coach Staikos Vergetis remains resolute in his determination to reshape the team’s fortunes in the second phase of the season, aspiring to climb the league table. 

The strategic addition of midfielder Isaac Vanmalsawma aims to bolster the team’s midfield, addressing a key area of concern. Despite not featuring for the Juggernauts in the ongoing campaign, the 27-year-old brings technical prowess and versatility, having previously played for Odisha FC and Jamshedpur FC.

4. Nim Dorjee – Hyderabad FC to FC Goa

FC Goa have strengthened their defensive ranks by securing the services of seasoned defender Nim Dorjee from Hyderabad FC until the culmination of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) season. The acquisition underscores Goa’s commitment to vie for top honours in the league. 

Dorjee, who clinched the ISL title with Hyderabad FC in 2021 under the guidance of head coach Manolo Marquez, will reunite with the boss and former teammate Odei Onaindia at FC Goa. His wealth of experience is anticipated to fill the void left by the absence of Sandesh Jhingan, currently sidelined due to a knee injury. 

3. Nikhil Poojary – Hyderabad FC to Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC have further solidified their squad by securing the services of Nikhil Poojary, who officially joined the club on Wednesday. The new deal ensures that the India international remains with the Blues until the conclusion of the 2027-28 season. This signing follows closely on the heels of Bengaluru FC’s acquisition of Chinglensana Singh on a long-term deal, showcasing the club’s ambitious intentions in a bustling January transfer window.

Poojary, who recently featured prominently for India in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, adds valuable experience to Bengaluru FC. Poojary’s versatility and proven track record make him a significant asset. Coach Gerard Zaragoza, acknowledging the team’s challenging start to the season, looks to leverage Poojary’s skills to bolster Bengaluru’s campaign and enhance their competitive edge in the league.

2. Iker Guarrotxena – Real Murcia FC to Mumbai City FC

Mumbai City FC have secured the services of Spanish forward Iker Guarrotxena until the culmination of the 2023-24 season, as announced by the Indian Super League club. The accomplished Spaniard returns to India, having previously excelled in the 2022-23 ISL season, scoring 11 goals in 20 appearances before briefly joining Real Murcia in Spain’s Primera Federación. 

Completing the signing on deadline day, Guarrotxena, who will don the #34 shirt for the Islanders, expressed his delight in joining a club with a history of success and high standards. With close to 350 games at the highest levels, his arrival bolsters Mumbai City FC’s attacking prowess, and he aims to contribute to the club’s success both on and off the pitch.

1. Víctor Vázquez – Toronto FC to East Bengal FC

East Bengal hace secured the services of Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez, announcing his signing until the culmination of the Indian Super League 2023-24 season. A product of FC Barcelona’s renowned style of football, Vazquez hails from the same generation as football luminaries Lionel Messi, Gerard Piqué, and Cesc Fàbregas. With a wealth of creativity in the midfield, East Bengal supporters can anticipate moments of joy and brilliance from the experienced playmaker.

Vazquez, who rose through the youth ranks at FC Barcelona and played a pivotal role in the iconic La Masia batch, was promoted to Barcelona’s first team by Pep Guardiola in 2008. His impressive career includes contributions to Club Brugge’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final run in 2014-15, earning him the title of Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year. East Bengal’s head coach, Carles Cuadrat, expressed confidence in Vazquez’s ability to shine in the ISL, citing his previous experience in the UEFA Champions League and notable achievements in European football.

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