The past week or so had plenty of transfer business between the top sides from the two leagues.
Regardless of the mystery that exists about the recommencement of the professional sports in our country, the Indian football clubs are making the right calls off-the-field with regards to player transfers.
They seem to be engaged in refining and refurbishing their squads for the upcoming season, whenever it begins. Accordingly, there are a couple of usual suspects who have been unsurprisingly caught up in finalising the transfer deals.
Let us look into some of the transfers that have made news in the recent days:
Mumbai City FC
The Islanders have been on the move ever since the 2019-20 campaign concluded and they don’t seem to be in a mood to rest anytime soon. In the past week or so, Khel Now broke two transfer stories about the City Football Group-owned franchise who seem to be forming a credible team to challenge for the title in the coming season.
As revealed by us recently, Mourtada Fall might be the latest FC Goa personality to switch sides to their coastal neighbours. The Gaurs were apparently awaiting Fall’s decision to extend his stay with them. However, the central defender looks keen to join his former boss Sergio Lobera at Mumbai City FC.
The Islanders couldn’t find the perfect replacement for Lucian Goian last season and the Senegalese international’s arrival could aid them to fill that void. Moreover, the 32-year-old would possibly be joining the duo of Ahmed Jahouh and Mandar Rao Dessai who could be donning the blue jersey of the Islanders soon too.
Jorge Ortiz Mendoza
Moreover, Mumbai would possibly be adding more firepower and quality in their attacking ranks by roping in former Atletico Madrid B winger Jorge Ortiz Mendoza. The 28-year-old currently plies trade at Atletico Baleares, a Segunda Division B outfit. Khel Now understands Mumbai are currently in talks to sign him ahead of the next season. The first-team lacked any prominent goal-scoring right-winger in the previous ISL season and Mendoza seems to be a player that a coach like Lobera would be keen to invest in.
Goal.com interestingly disclosed that goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte would be rejoining Bengaluru FC after the completion of his loan deal at East Bengal. Ralte last represented Bengaluru FC in the 2017-18 season and thereafter has struggled to get adequate game-time.
He then joined East Bengal before the last season after unsuccessful stints with FC Goa and Kerala Blasters where he didn’t turn up for a single game. With the Red & Golds, Ralte played nine matches in the I-League. Now, he is set to rejoin Carles Cuadrat’s Blues, according to the given report.
George D’Souza is a left-back from Sporting Club de Goa who has now signed a two-year-long deal with Odisha FC. He had a successful spell with the Goa Pro League side wherein he played 20 matches in the previous season and scored an impressive four goals. His free-kick taking ability is much appreciated whilst both reports from The Times of India and Goal.com state that he had attracted interest from two other ISL franchises too.
Now, we would be coming to the club that has been adamant on a complete squad revamp and overhaul this summer.
The forward claimed, “Yes, I have entered talks with them, but nothing is official yet. I am in touch with a few clubs and East Bengal is one of them. It is being said that they would join the ISL next season and I am definitely talking to them right now. Let’s see.”
East Bengal officially confirmed the signing of Mohammed Rafique from Mumbai City FC, a transfer which Khel Now had first brought into notice in the past week. He played 17 matches for Mumbai City FC over the course of the last two years.
However, he has now returned back to East Bengal where has spent four seasons in the past and is a genuine fan-favourite too. Rafique is a versatile, efficient squad player who can play in both midfield and full-back positions if required. He struggled to make a formidable impact at Mumbai in the previous season and hence would now be initiating a new chapter in his career back in Kolkata.
The 33-year-old experienced midfielder would be joining East Bengal from Bengaluru FC, the club officially confirmed. He had an excellent stint with Bengaluru in the 2014-15 football season when he scored nine goals and made a further 16 assists in all competitions. However, a ruptured ligament on his left knee meant that his career faced a stumbling block in the last couple of years.
He managed to clock only 72 minutes on the field in the league in 2019-20 with the Blues. Moreover, the Red and Golds seem to have made a curious call and hence it would be compelling to witness the sort of performances that the former Shillong Lajong player could deliver with them.
The 28-year-old midfielder was a regular starter for NorthEast United FC in the last campaign. However, he seems to have joined the flurry of players who are on the move to East Bengal and would unarguably be a valuable addition to the unit. Milan has represented several ISL teams in the past and also made 13 appearances for the Highlanders in the recently concluded season. Whether he dons a similar, consistently starting role for East Bengal is yet to be seen as they have already lured in numerous players so far.