Business has picked up in the domestic market as the new season draws near.
Teams are getting into transfer action thick and fast as the squads will now soon prepare to leave for Goa for the pre-tournament preparations of the Indian Super League. Clubs have prominently sprung into the business in the last one month. Months of negotiations finally seem to be bearing fruit as several Indian football outfits have more or less filled up their rosters, roped in reinforcements and made some significant upgrades to their incumbent assembly of players. One of the key patterns witnessed in the ongoing transfer window is that several young overseas footballers have opted for ISL clubs.
This ensures that these individuals will be approaching the peak years of their careers in the ISL itself, which can possibly bring a tectonic change to the quality of Indian football. Without further ado, let us ponder upon the transfer moves that took place in the previous week.
ATK Mohun Bagan
David Williams formed a stellar striking partnership along with Roy Krishna for ATK in their ISL title triumph in 2019-20. The Australian forward scored seven goals and notched five assists in his 18 appearances in the league. Unsurprisingly, ATK Mohun Bagan FC have extended Williams’ stay in the club by another year.
After much speculation, Spanish centre-back Tiri has signed a year-long contract with the club from Kolkata. He has lifted the ISL trophy with ATK once back in 2016. Tiri was actually slated to represent Kerala Blasters FC in the upcoming campaign. However, the Kochi-based outfit had asked certain players to take a wage cut in the wake of the financial constraints arisen due to the ongoing pandemic. This was supposedly the breaking point between Tiri and the Blasters and he was on the lookout for a new team in the past few months.
Chennaiyin FC parted ways with ace Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua this week. The Indian football team striker had been a part of the club right from the inception of the league in 2014. According to a TOI report, Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC, Kerala Blasters FC and East Bengal are in the race to secure the signature of the 29-year-old goalscorer.
Lalchhuanmawia Fanai and Reagan Singh:
The Marina Machans have solidified their full-back department as the club added the duo of Lalchhuanmawia Fanai and Reagan Singh to their squad. Fanai plays as a left-back whereas the latter operates from the right side of the defensive line. Both these players have joined the club on free transfers as Chennaiyin FC look to replace Laldinliana Renthlei who left them to join Jamshedpur FC recently.
Odisha FC have roped in Australian defender Jacob Tratt from A-League side Perth Glory FC. The 26-year-old is physically well-built, robust and incredibly dominant on the aerial front. He will add a towering presence to the Juggernauts’ defensive line. Tratt has penned a one-year deal with the Bhubaneshwar-based club and can play as a right-back too.
Odisha FC have retained Manuel Onwu for another season as they officially confirmed his signing on Sunday. The Spaniard had a disappointing spell with Bengaluru FC in the first half of the previous campaign. He was transferred to Odisha in January and the 32-year-old instantly clicked at the club by scoring seven goals in four matches towards the end of the season.
As exclusively revealed by Khel Now earlier, Jamshedpur FC officially signed former Motherwall FC skipper Peter Hartley. The centre-back led the Steelmen to a third-place finish in the Scottish Premiership in 2019-20 and has turned up for clubs like Bristol Rovers, Hartepool United and Sunderland AFC in the past.
The Men of Steel were in the lookout for a reliable custodian after Subrata Paul’s departure from the club this summer. TP Rehenesh has been added to the ranks after his arguably disappointing stint with Kerala Blasters in the previous season. Rehenesh has made 62 appearances in the ISL across the last six seasons. He will induce some valuable experience to the unit if the 27-year-old manages to recover from the lows of 2019-20.
Jamshedpur FC also signed Nigerian centre-back Stephen Eze to further bolster their backline. The 26-year-old has represented his national team in 13 matches. He endured a fairly successful spell at Bulgarian club Lokomotiv Plovdiv from 2018 onward and even made four appearances in UEFA Europa League 2019/20. He stands tall at 6’ 6” and promises to induce tremendous quality to Owen Coyle’s defensive setup.
Aizawl FC forward William Lalnunfela has joined the Men of Steel ahead of the upcoming ISL season, the club has confirmed. The 25-year-old played 12 matches in the I-League for Stanley Rozario’s team last term and scored a couple of goals. Jamshedpur FC are completely revamping their forward line this season and have already acquired some notable players like Jackichand Singh and Nerijus Valskis in the past few months.
Kerala Blasters FC have inducted 21-year-old defender Kenstar Kharshong on a three-year-deal, Khel Now can disclose. The Shillong Lajong FC player represented Blasters’ reserve team in the I-League 2nd Division last season. “”Kerala Blasters have completed the signing of Kenstar Kharshong from Shillong Lajong. They will also pay Lajong an undisclosed fee to secure the transfer,” a source close to the development informed us.
The club has also lengthened Prasanth Karuthadathkuni’s stint by another year, as the 23-year-old penned a contract extension on Saturday. He played 12 matches in the league during the 2019-20 season, registering solitary assist, but had impressed former head coach Eelco Schattorie on a few occasions due to his tenacity and laudable work-ethic.
NorthEast United FC are set to sign Mauritania international Khassa Camara, as exclusively reported by Khel Now. The 27-year-old midfielder will be the Highlanders’ first international signing of the window. Camara had turned for his country in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and has also competed in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. He is a dynamic player, capable of recovering possession and initiating counter-attacks through his widespread vision and astute passing range.
Hyderabad FC have lured in Spanish midfielder Lluis Sastre from Cyprus-based club AEK Larnaca on a year-long agreement. The 34-year-old has represented Barcelona ‘C’ and Barcelona ‘B’ previously. Sastre has had stints with multiple La Liga outfits such as SD Hueseca, Real Valladolid and Club Deportivo Leganes. He is renowned for his composed demeanor at the centre of the park and can unleash some vicious, accurate shots at goal from the long-range.
Gokulam Kerala FC
One o the seasoned defender in Indian football, Rowilson Rodrigues has joined Gokulam Kerala FC on a deal that will see him last at the club for a solitary year. The 33-year-old had missed the previous Indian football season due to personal issues but is now raring to return back to the sport. The Malabarians have thus strengthened their core of Indian players by securing the transfer of the two-time I-League winner.
Konsam Phalguni Singh
Tiddim Road Athletic Union FC (TRAU FC) have extended the contract of their promising midfielder Konsam Phalguni Singh. The 25-year-old started six games in the I-League for the club last season and bagged a couple of assists. Indian Administrative Services (IAS) Manipur-cadre Officer Shri L Nandakumar Singh was especially invited to offer Phalguni his new deal.
Former I-League champions Aizawl FC have signed a host of local players to add depth and more domestic talent to the squad. David Laltlansanga, Vanlalghenga, Thasiama, Vanlalzuidika, K.Lalmalsawma and PC Laldinpuia have been added to the roster as the Reds will look to improve their performance from their lowly tenth-place finish in the competition in 2019/20.
The club from Mizoram has roped in custodian Lalmuansanga to add depth in their goalkeeping department. The player represented Electric Veng in the Mizoram Premier League last year.
30-year-old forward Subhash Singh has joined Mohammedan SC as the Black Panthers continue to induce some laudable quality in their team in order to attain a promotion to the I-League for the upcoming Indian football season. Singh had played for NEROCA FC and Real Kashmir FC in I-League 2019/20 and scored a single goal in nine appearances in the process.