Clubs have been busy in the transfer market with the season fast approaching.
The 2020-21 Indian football season is only a few weeks away now, and almost all clubs are very busy preparing for what promises to be an action-packed campaign. Most clubs have completed a majority of their new signings and fans have begun to find out how their favourite teams will shape up in the upcoming editions of the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League.
In the past week in Indian football, teams from both ISL and the I-League have announced several new signings or contract extensions, while also parting ways with some other players. NorthEast United had a productive week as they completed the transfer of two foreign players apart from striker VP Suhair, while FC Goa brought in ex-Leganes forward Ishan Pandita among others.
Without further ado, let us take a detailed look at this week’s transfer activity in Indian football.
ATK Mohun Bagan
Spanish midfielder Javi Hernandez has signed a one-year extension deal with ATK Mohun Bagan this week. After signing his new deal with the club, Javi Hernandez said, “I am extremely delighted to stay with ATK Mohun Bagan. I cannot wait to meet my teammates and the new boys who have joined this season.”
“Kolkata holds a special place in my heart. The club has given great memories and the fans have shown me much affection. We would like to perform well in the AFC Cup while representing the Green & Maroon. Our aim is to attain glory once again this year,” he added.
On Saturday, Bengaluru FC confirmed the signing of young goalkeeper Lara Sharma on a multi-year deal. “The Blues have signed 21-year-old goalkeeper Lara Sharma on a three-year deal, and the youngster is being put through his paces in pre-season training at the Inspire Institute of Sport in Vijayanagar, Karnataka,” the club statement read.
The 21-year-old was with last season’s ISL winners ATK before his term expired last month. He has also played for AIFF’s developmental side Indian Arrows in the I-League.
Chennaiyin FC announced the arrival of Emerson Gomes de Moura, better known as Memo, on Sunday. The 32-year-old Brazilian joins the two-time Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC on a free transfer for the 2020-21 season, after his contract at Jamshedpur FC expired last month.
“I am delighted to be a part of the blue Chennaiyin family. The upcoming season will be fantastic, I am certain. We will have to work hard and be united to achieve glory as a unique ISL awaits us, which will be a spectacle in itself,” the player said after joining his new club.
According to Goal, Jeje Lalpekhlua is set to sign for East Bengal later this week, after he parted ways with Chennaiyin FC in September. The India international has won the ISL twice (2015, 2017-18) with the southerners and has also been a part of the Federation Cup (2016) and I-League (2014-15) winning teams at Mohun Bagan earlier in his career.
Danny Fox and Scott Neville
According to TOI’s Marcus Mergulhao, East Bengal will also sign Danny Fox and Scott Neville if Robbie Fowler is confirmed as the head coach. Mergulhao took to Twitter to reveal details about the potential signings on Sunday.
Reports from multiple sources had previously confirmed Robbie Fowler to be the next head coach of the club, which implies that Fox and Neville could well be on their way to the Kolkata giants in the weeks to come.
FC Goa announced the signing of highly-rated Goan forward Devendra Murgaonkar this week. The 21-year-old joined the Gaurs from Salgaocar after the clubs agreed on an undisclosed transfer fee.
The 21-year-old agreed terms on three-year contract with the reigning champions of the ISL League Winners Shield, after earning rave reviews for his performances in the Goa Pro League over the last couple of seasons.
FC Goa also announced that the club has secured the services of the promising 22-year-old forward Ishan Pandita, fighting off competition from other Indian Super League sides. The youngster put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the club and is set to be a part of the squad that challenges both in the Indian Super League and the AFC Champions League this season.
“I am excited at the opportunity. I want to come in and show what I can do, and score goals for FC Goa. I am ready to come in and show everyone what I’ve got. I am an attacking player coming into the most attacking-minded team in India, so I can’t be more ecstatic,” he remarked after joining the club.
Former FC Goa striker Ferran Corominas, popularly known as Coro, has signed for Spanish Segunda B Division outfit Atletico Baleares, the club confirmed on Tuesday.
“Ferran Corominas is the newest addition to our squad. He is the all-time top-scorer of the Indian Super League, having scored over 50 goals in three seasons at his previous club, FC Goa. He has made 241 La Liga appearances in total for Espanyol, Elche and Osasuna,” the club statement read.
Although the centre-forward was already 34-year-old when he joined the Gaurs, Corominas transformed into an impactful player with them. With 48 goals from 57 ISL matches in three seasons, he is the all-time top-scorer of the Indian top-flight football league.
Anuj Kumar and Nikhil Prabhu
Hyderabad FC have extended the contracts of youngsters Anuj Kumar and Nikhil Prabhu ahead of the upcoming season, the club announced on Wednesday. The highly-rated duo has each penned three-year extensions that will see them feature at the club till the end of the 2022-23 season.
Anuj was a part of Hyderabad FC squad in the ISL last season. The youngster spent the latter part of 2019-20 on loan with Indian Arrows. Meanwhile, Nikhil, a promising defender who captained Mumbai U16s at a young age, joined the club last season. The Hyderabad-born youngster skippered the reserves in the 2nd Division League, registering a goal in five games.
Kerala Blasters winger Rahul KP has signed a five-year contract extension, the club had announced earlier this week. The new deal will see the forward stay with the club till 2025, which was earlier reported by Khel Now.
“Kerala Blasters is home to me and the support of the fans means everything. I was very happy with my conversation with the Sporting Director and his plans for me at the club. This is only the beginning of my career, there is definitely more room for improvement and I’m confident that Kerala Blasters is the right place for me to develop even further,” the winger said after signing the extension.
Gary Hooper & Costa Nhamoinesu
Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters are all set to complete the signings of striker Gary Hooper and Costa Nhamoinesu, Khel Now understands. Both players will join the club on season-long deals, with official announcements expected in the days to come.
In an interview with the Polish YouTube channel Kanal Sportowy that premiered on Thursday, Blasters’ head coach Kibu Vicuna also appeared to confirm both the above signings, when asked about his plans for the upcoming season.
Mumbai City FC
Adam Le Fondre
Earlier this week, Goal reported that Mumbai City FC have agreed terms to sign Adam le Fondre from Sydney FC for the 2020-21 ISL season. Apparently, he had entered talks with several other ISL clubs before choosing the Mumbai outfit as his next destination.
Le Fondre last played for Sydney FC in the 2019-20 season. His contract with the Sky Blues ran till 2021 but the potential salary cut due to COVID-19-enforced losses forced him to look elsewhere. He had a very good spell with them and was last involved in the 1-0 win over Melbourne City in the 2019-20 A-League title-deciding clash. He has scored 45 goals from 67 games for the club till date.
NorthEast United completed the signing of former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan striker VP Suhair this week. “VP Suhair is a Highlander! The last season’s I-League winner joins the NEUFC Family,” the club statement read. Khel Now understands that the player has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Highlanders, after initially attracting interest from Kerala Blasters as well.
The 28-year-old’s career reached a turning point in the 2019-20 Indian football season, when he signed for Mohun Bagan. Under their then-head coach Kibu Vicuna, he started every match in the I-League in the last season, scoring two goals and helping Mohun Bagan to win the league after a gap of five years.
NorthEast United also announced the signing of versatile Belgian player Benjamin Lambot on a one-year deal this week. Primarily a defender by trade, Lambot is known for time in his home country.
Starting off his youth career at White Star Bruxelles in Belgium, the player went on to feature for Tubize’s senior team in 2001. He spent a major chunk of his career at the Belgian Second Division club, who he also helped secure promotion to the top flight in 2008. Thereafter, Benjamin Lambot went on to represent several other Belgian clubs, before eventually making a shift to Azerbaijani outfit Simurqe in 2014. In the 2019-20 season, the defender featured for Cypriot club Nea Salamina making over 20 appearances.
NorthEast United roped in Northern Irishman Dylan Fox as their fourth foreign signing of the season earlier this week. He began his youth career with Sutherland Sharks in Australia before moving to Bonnyrigg White Eagles. in 2014. He was one of the regulars in their team and went on to make over 40 appearances for the club that season.
The defender was later picked up by A-League giants Wellington Phoenix, who first inducted him into their reserves team. Rising through the ranks, Fox eventually established himself as a first-team player and spent four seasons at the club. Later he joined South Korean outfit FC Ananyag before returning to the A-League and signing for the Central Coast Mariners, for whom he played during the 2019-20 season.
Narayan Das, Rana Gharami, Romeo Fernandes, Amit Tudu, Bikramjit Singh and Lalchhuanmawia Fanai
Odisha FC have officially announced the departures of six of their Indian football players viz. Narayan Das, Rana Gharami, Romeo Fernandes, Amit Tudu, Bikramjit Singh, and Lalchhuanmawia Fanai (Chhuantea). The Indian Super League (ISL) outfit thanked the players for their services on social media and wished them the best in their future endeavors last Monday.
“The Club would like to thank them for their professionalism and efforts and would like to warmly wish them the very best,” the club statement read. They have also made some great additions to their squad and will be hoping to finish in the playoffs spots under the tutelage of Stuart Baxter.
Earlier this week, Khel Now confirmed that I-League outfit Gokulam Kerala are in advanced talks to sign defender Ajin Tom. The player has entered the final stages of negotiations on his contract with the Malabarians and is all set to sign for them in the days to come, if everything goes as per plan.
Previously, the ex-Indian Arrows player had interest from as many as three different ISL clubs, while a fourth is still in the race with Gokulam to sign him.
I-League outfit NEROCA FC have roped in in former Leganes U-23 starlet Aryan Gupta into their team for the upcoming I-League season. The 21-year-old attacker gained a reputation for becoming only the fourth Indian to play in Spain, when he was signed by Spanish second division football club AD Alcorcon in 2017.
After spending a season with Alcorcon, he then moved to UB Conquense U-23 side before being acquired by former LaLiga side Leganes’ U-23s. He has now returned to India, where he will play in the upcoming I-League with his new club.
NEROCA FC have also confirmed the signing of Varghese Jayan ahead of the upcoming season. The young wing-back has been handed a one-year contract at the Imphal-based club.
Jayan has put pen to paper on a contract that will see him remain with the club till the end of the upcoming 2020-21 season. Prior to this, he had been playing for various Singapore National Football League (NFL) sides in the past three years, while also training with some Singapore Premier League clubs.
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I-League new entrants Sudeva FC completed the signing of Indian winger Pintu Mahata, according to Goal. The player had been linked with a move away from his previous club East Bengal for a few weeks now, and it was last Tuesday that he put pen to paper on a new deal with the Delhi-based outfit.
The 23-year-old represented East Bengal in the 2019-20 Indian football season and played seven matches for the Red & Gold Brigade as they finished runners-up in I-League. He has also played for Mohun Bagan and had made seven appearances in the 2018-19 edition of the I-League.