The club will go into the season with six overseas players.
After Albert Roca left for FC Barcelona, eyebrows were raised as to whether Hyderabad FC can fulfill expectations this season. However, with the summer transfer window passing by and Manolo Marquez arriving at the helm, the club seem in line with their objectives and have roped in some exciting foreigners to bolster the squad.
It will be more or less a new-look squad for the Nizams, especially in terms of their foreign contingent. Here we take a brief look at the six overseas players, the club will bank on in the 2020-21 season:
One of the unheard overseas names in the ISL this season, Onaindia is an experienced defender, having spent his entire career in the lower divisions of Spain. A typical Spanish centre-back, the 30-year-old is a good header of the ball and has good pace as well as physicality.
He led CD Mirandes – Segunda Division club, to a semi-final finish in the previous season’s Copa del Rey. On the way to the semis, Onaindia helped the side overcome Spanish giants including Sevilla, Celta Vigo and Villarreal – against whom he also got on the score-sheet. His presence at the back will provide Hyderabad’s midfielders a sense of relief, as they can focus on controlling the pace of their game.
Another signing made to strengthen the defence, Joao Victor is one of the most experienced players in the team. Having played against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi during his time at RCD Mallorca, Victor is a tried and tested player brought in to go up against some of the fiercest attackers in the league.
Moreover, he is also familiar with extreme climatic conditions, having played for Qatar Stars League outfit Umm Salal. In addition, his versatility while operating in midfield as well as defence is an added bonus, especially with Adil Khan already in the team. Now with Khan, Victor and Onaindia at the back, the Hyderabad FC defence would be one to beat this season.
Lluis Sastre becomes the third player in the squad with massive experience in LaLiga. Having Plied his trade for FC Barcelona’s youth, C and B teams, along with other clubs including Real Zaragoza, Leganes and Huesca, the central midfielder is a proven talent.
Being a product of the famed La Masia academy, there’s no questioning the technique of Sastre. Over the years, he has also scored some magnificent goals apart from carrying his role of orchestrating the game from the middle of the park perfectly well. Moreover, he is expected to don a leadership role in the dressing room, which will only help the hoard of young Indian players in the team.
Fran Sandaza is probably the most travelled player in the Hyderabad FC squad this season and surely one of the senior-most figures in the dressing room. Having plied his trade with renowned clubs in Europe including Rangers, Dundee United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Girona – whom he helped gain promotion to LaLiga, Sandaza will be an asset for Hyderabad this season.
The veteran Spanish forward has also featured in the AFC Champions League during his time with FC Tokyo. His ability to score goals when needed and also provide chances to his teammates could prove vital in the team’s attack.
A versatile attacker, Joel Chianese adds a spark to the Hyderabad attack. In the past four years, he has been a crucial figure for Perth Glory in the A-League and has delivered over 14 goals in 87 appearances. His ability to slot into any position in the attack will please Manolo Marquez as he chooses his first-choice forwards.
Moreover, being an Asian signing, Joel Chianese’s experience will prove vital as he has played against most of the A-League players who have joined the other ISL clubs this season.
Finally, one of the most trusted foreign players at the club this season has to be Aridane Santana. His tryst with Odisha FC last season is still being talked about by the fans. The Spaniard scored nine goals as well as providing two assists and was one of the most feared strikers in the league.
Santana is a quality frontman with his instincts, technique, aerial prowess and an eye for goal. Hyderabad FC scored 21 goals last season and with a forward of Aridane Santana’s stature in, they will be hoping to break the goalscoring records this time around.