Some of these teams have made history by spending/receiving huge sums to bring in some valuable players.
Gradually, one can witness the changing dynamics of the Indian football transfer market. For a considerable period of time, clubs usually dealt in minimal transfer fees. There still exists a pattern of sorts to rope in players who are out of contract and primarily construct the squad for the upcoming campaign with that approach. There is the case of Jose Ramirez Barreto moving to Mohun Bagan from Mahindra United for a hefty amount believed to be around ₹60 lacs.
Now, there seems to be willingness amongst the clubs to breach such barriers and acquire marquee players or prodigious starlets for a fairly high fee. This confidence stems from a robust financial backing from reliable investors. Hugo Bomous’s move from FC Goa to Mumbai City is another instance of this phenomenon. In this article, we will shed light on the top five transfer fees received by Indian clubs.
It is a unique piece, as a couple of footballers mentioned were also bought by foreign clubs. Those teams paid an exorbitant amount to the Indian sides, which is in some ways a reflection of some sought-after and significant international players plying their trade in the country.
5. Ashique Kuruniyan from FC Pune City to Bengaluru FC – INR 70 lacs
Ashique Kuruniyan’s stock rose after his impressive outings for the national team in the AFC Asian Cup 2019. The winger had scored twice and assisted thrice in FC Pune City’s disappointing 2018-19 campaign. As the club shifted base to Hyderabad after a change in ownership, Kuruniyan made the move to Bengaluru FC for INR 70 lacs. The Blues already host multiple current Indian stars and they made their intent clearer by attaining the services of a player of Kuruniyan’s pedigree.
However, it is arguable that his potential has not been optimized, as Carles Cuadrat often played him in a withdrawn left wing-back role and thus the 23-year-old encountered a slump in form in 2019-20. Yet, the promise that he carries will definitely bear fruit and Bengaluru are set to receive the returns of their investment in the winger in the coming years.
4. Manvir Singh from FC Goa to ATK Mohun Bagan – INR 80 lacs
There is certainly a dearth of prolific domestic goalscorers currently. Considering that Sunil Chhetri is not leaving Bengaluru FC anytime soon, teams definitely need to find other alternatives to fill the void of an Indian forward on their roster.
Accordingly, ATK Mohun Bagan paid INR 80 lacs to secure his services from FC Goa. The 24-year-old represented the Gaurs in three ISL campaigns, but could notch only three goals and a solitary assist in 47 matches. It is important to note that he didn’t attain consistent time on the field either over the course of the last three years.
The team from Kolkata are definitely ambitious and thus looking to hone upcoming Indian talents to form a strengthened core of the team. They have shown a lot of faith in the former Mohammedan Sporting player and it is now up to the striker to repay the same on the field.
3. Michael Soosairaj from Jamshedpur FC to ATK – INR 90 lacs
Michael Soosairaj rose to fame during his time at I-League outfit Chennai City FC in the 2017-18 season. He made his move to Jamshedpur FC in the next season, with the Men of Steel paying INR 25 Lacs as transfer fee. In the next season, he had a promising campaign with Jamshedpur FC and that was when ATK knocked the door to acquire the forward. They paid the 25-year-old’s buyout clause valued at INR 90 lacs. Sportstar reported that Chennai City FC earned a 10% sell-on fee from the move too, as Soosairaj had been a part of the I-League club previously and the move made him the only Indian player involved in two paid transfers.
He scored three goals in 20 appearances for ATK in their title-winning run last time out. The player from Tamil Nadu demonstrated fine footwork, an ability to deliver appropriate crosses and composure in front of goal. His move to the Kolkata club is another testament of the team looking to nourish Indian goalscorers and also their readiness to shell out a hefty sum for the same.
2. Edu Garcia from Bengaluru FC to Zhejiang Lucheng, Pedro Manzi from Chennai City to Albirex Niigata – INR 1 crore
In February 2018, Spanish midfielder Edu Garcia put in a transfer request at Bengaluru FC to facilitate his move to Chinese club Zhejiang Lucheng. After intense negotiations, the JSW Group-owned outfit managed to procure INR 1 crore from the foreign suitors to let go of Garcia. This was one of the rare instances when an international club paid a transfer fee to obtain a player plying his trade for an Indian club. This instance is also in some ways evidence of Bengaluru FC’s astute think-tank, which is a factor that has largely impacted their successful run since the club’s inception.
Earlier this year, Chennai City FC sold their celebrated striker Pedro Manzi to Japanese J2 league club Albirez Niigata for INR 1 crore. The 31-year-old was vital to the club’s I-League victory in 2018-19. He scored 21 goals and assisted a couple in 18 appearances to lead the club to the title. This transfer was noteworthy also because of the fact that the I-League was demoted to the status of a second-tier competition in Indian football. Hence, for Chennai City to receive such a major fee for one of their players speaks of the quality of talent that exists in the league.
1. Hugo Boumous from FC Goa to Mumbai City FC – INR 1.6 crore
Mumbai City FC have made remarkable moves in the transfer market ever since the conclusion of the previous campaign. The City Football Group-backed club apparently agreed to pay Hugo Boumous’ buyout clause worth INR 1.6 crore, despite resistance from FC Goa. The amount involved in this move makes it the highest-ever transfer fee paid for a player in Indian football.
The French-Moroccan attacking midfielder’s existing contract with the Gaurs lasted until 2022. However, the Islanders communicated their offer to acquire Boumous from his previous club via an e-mail, after the player announced his departure from FC Goa through an Instagram post on the evening of July 27th, 2020. The 25-year-old was adjudged the ISL Player of the Season last term, as he bagged 11 goals and notched 10 assists in 15 encounters in the league. The player was extremely instrumental in FC Goa’s first-place finish in the league phase – a feat that enabled them to secure a place in the group stage of the AFC Champions League in 2021.