The domestic market continues to be abuzz with the rumour mill and confirmed moves. We bring you all the latest from across the country.
With one of India’s two primary leagues ending and another heading for its conclusion in a few days, the footballing scenario has lit up with players switching sides. In what could be described as a arms race between the clubs and franchises, the Indian Super League (ISL) teams are clearly getting a head-start over their I-League counterparts. Below we bring you some of the moves that have already taken place and news of some others that are in the pipeline.
Chennai City FC skipper Michael Soosairaj has been roped in by Jamshedpur FC following a string of impressive performances in the I-League this term. The Chennai lad had a great season with the southerners, scoring three goals and having as many assists in the recently concluded I-league.
With the transfer, Soosairaj becomes the second player after Nandhakumar Sekar to switch from Chennai City to an ISL outfit. His string of impressive performances this season resulted in Mumbai City FC, Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United FC trying to acquire the services of the 23-year-old, but Jamshedpur came up with the best deal for the Chennai skipper.
The Tata-owned club is offering ₹25 lakhs for Soosairaj and the fee is more than what Chennai got from Delhi Dynamos for Nandhakumar. It is suggested that the midfielder will also have a buyout clause of ₹95 lakhs approximately and Chennai City are also trying to push for a buyback clause. Even if Chennai City decide not to buy him back in the future and Jamshedpur FC sell him to another club, then the South Indian club will get 15% of that transfer fee from the Men of Steel.
On the other hand, Kerala Blasters are looking to sign Zakeer Mundampara as a replacement for Milan Singh who will make the opposite move to Mumbai City. The versatile midfielder was brought in by the Islanders from Chennaiyin FC. The midfielder has featured in nine matches for Mumbai City this term and caught the eye of many with his passing accuracy and interceptions in midfield. However, the 27-year-old’s season didn’t go according to his wishes as Zakeer picked up an injury, piling up the misery for the metropolis club.
The Blasters are also set to extend versatile defender Lalruatthara‘s contract up to three years keeping him at the club until 2021. The defender has been one of the few standout Indian players this season for the Tuskers, featuring in the centre, left and right-back positions for Blasters. the 23-year-old has been their most consistent performer and the team retained his services for the seasons to come.
Elsewhere, first-timers Jamshedpur had a moderate season this time around. Despite the need being just a win to ensure a spot in the semi-finals, they were unable to register a victory in the last two games and were eventually knocked out by FC Goa. Now, their coach Steve Coppell, and Jamshedpur FC are all set to part ways, sources have confirmed. Despite long drawn out negotiations, both parties haven’t yet managed to reach an agreement and both are mentally unwilling to continue, sources added.
Meanwhile, southerners, Chennaiyin FC have had a brilliant season under the guidance of John Gregory. The Marina Machan’s resurged from their disastrous end last season and were obviously flying high in the league this campaign. Happy with the performance of Gregory, the Chennaiyin management have offered him a year’s extension, and Gregory has penned a new deal, Khel Now understands.
Mumbai City, who failed to replicate their previous season’s performance have now roped in Alen Deory to strengthen their attack. The young lad had a good season playing for Shillong Lajong in the I-League. He’s managed to impress the scouts and the deal is said to be finalised.
Latly, defending champions ATK, who had a pathetic journey in the fourth edition have been looking for options to fortify the defence. Accordingly, they’ve joined the race with Jamshedpur FC to sign Raju Gaikwad, who had a modest campaign with Mumbai. The experienced defender will boost the defence for the Bengal Tigers if the deal goes through.