The Spanish striker has the experience of playing in Greece and Poland.
Ushering in a new era under the tutelage of Juan Ferrando, FC Goa will be competing among Asia’s elite in the AFC Champions League next season. Additionally, the Gaurs must be desperate to lift the elusive ISL trophy after narrowly missing out on the coveted crown on several occasions during the last six years.
This will be a much more difficult ask in the immediate future given the noticeable transition that the club is going through. The departure of Sergio Lobera as well as a number of important first-team personnel must have caused a few concerns among the fanbase. However, the signing of Spanish striker Igor Angulo will put a smile back on their faces and reassure the Goan faithful that plans are in place to navigate the club smoothly through this re-build.
The Spaniard becomes the first foreign signing for the Gaurs in this window. The marksman has signed on a one-year contract ahead of the seventh edition of the ISL. He will be joining the likes of Redeem Tlang, Sanson Pereira, and Makan Winkle Chothe as the newest recruits at FC Goa.
So who is Igor Angulo?
Born in the Basque region of Spain, Igor Angulo rose through the ranks at Athletic Bilbao and made his LaLiga debut for the Spanish team in 2003. After making a handful of appearances for the side, he was sent out on loan to Gimnastic and AS Cannes. He spent a considerable amount of time playing for the reserve side of Athletic Bilbao, before going on to represent other Spanish clubs like Numancia and Real Union.
Later, he decided to move out of his comfort zone and test himself abroad. Accordingly, he had stints in Cyprus and Greece at Enosis Neon Paralimni and Apollon Smyrnis as well as FC Platanias respectively. However, his big breakthrough came in Poland when he moved to Gornik Zabrze in 2016, who were then in the second division of Polish football.
He made a dream start to life in Poland as he plundered 17 goals in his debut campaign, becoming the top scorer for his side and consequently powering them back to the first division with his goalscoring exploits. In the following campaign in the Ekstraklasa, the top flight of Polish football, he continued his rich vein of form with 23 goals to his name, finishing second on the goalscoring charts in the league.
His tremendous performances also saw his side finish fourth on the table and make it to the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, which was also their first participation in the European competition since 1994. After narrowly missing out on the Golden Boot in the previous campaign, he went one better in the 2018-19 season by notching 24 goals to finish as the highest goalscorer in the league.
In his last year at the Polish side, Angulo again produced the goods, scoring 16 goals and providing six assists during the same period. Apart from his obvious goalscoring numbers, it should be noted that the 36-year-old also has 21 assists under his belt, reflecting his ability to link-up effectively with other attackers and create chances for his teammates.
During his four-year stay in Poland, he amassed an incredible 109 goal contributions across 154 games, including his 88 strikes. The forward ended up as the top scorer for his club in all the four seasons and was even more impressively among the top two goalscorers in the Ekstraklasa for three consecutive seasons, which speaks volumes about his consistency and lethal nature in front of goal.
What will he bring to FC Goa?
It must be clear so far that Angulo’s main strength lies in knowing exactly where the back of the net is. He is always lurking on the shoulder of the last defender, looking to make that cunning run behind the defence to put himself in one-on-one situations with the keeper. The Spaniard’s movement and awareness in and around the box enable him to find space and score goals at a consistent rate.
He might not offer himself as a constant outlet in the build-up, but will provide the side with a focal point in attack. Angulo is a terrific finisher, can head the ball well too and that makes him a huge threat aerially. He has all the different types of goals in his locker and if he finds his feet at Goa, one can be certain that he will be the difference-maker for them in many games next season.
The Gaurs are synonymous with playing an exciting and attractive brand of football, which should be music to the ears of the striker. They have a plethora of creative options in Hugo Boumous, and Brandon Fernandes among others, who could create a bucket-load of chances for him to feast on. He is a different profile of player to Ferran Corominas, but it remains to be seen if he has been purchased as a replacement for his compatriot or to form a fearsome strike pairing in attack with the star forward.
In any case, he brings with him a guarantee of goals, experience at the highest level and proven pedigree. Finally, on paper, Igor Angulo looks a terrific addition to the squad and if his performances in the last 3-4 years are anything to go by then age shouldn’t necessarily be a concern with the sharpshooter.