The defender will immediately transform the fortunes of the outfit looking to improve next season.

The Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Hyderabad FC are making some smart moves in the transfer market. The Nizams have brought in yet another impressive foreigner in Juanan, who has ample experience playing in the ISL. He joins Bartholomew Ogbeche and Edu Garcia in the list of arrivals after signing a one-year deal.

One can clearly see the ambition of the club, who are bringing in champions. All three of their new foreign signings have won the ISL before with their previous clubs. This will perhaps be the defining factor if Hyderabad FC are to improve on their fifth place finish during the 2020/21 season.

The Spanish Connection  

Juanan hails from Spain and so does the tactician Manolo Marquez. Furthermore, Edu Garcia is also a Spaniard, which helps create a Spanish core in the team. This leads to better understanding between all the parties. 

This will also allow the head coach to implement his Spanish-influenced tactics with more efficiency. That is, a brand which puts its faith in possession-based football, which is easy on the eye.  “Juanan’s experience is very important because we have very good young defenders in our team and he can help them. Not too many players have played in India consistently over five seasons,” Marquez said in response to securing Juanan’s services.

The Perfect Replacement

Hyderabad FC bid farewell to Odei Onaindia a few weeks ago, who was hugely impressive in his debut season. The Spaniard has left the ISL outfit to join CD Mirandes in his native. The defender was exceptional in his performances and led the young Indian defenders like Asish Rai and Akash Mishra well. He developed a great partnership with Chinglensana Singh, helping HFC to concede only 19 goals (third-best in the league). 

Juanan is much more experienced, especially when it comes to Indian football. He spent five years with Bengaluru FC and won three trophies with them, including the ISL in the 2018/19 season. The 34-year-old will bring invaluable experience to the table, which will certainly help the Indian defenders grow more.

The Numbers

Juanan is not only a tough competitor on the back foot, who uses his judgement and physicality, but he also possesses a composed head. In terms of defending, he has over 433 clearances and 89 blocks. In addition, Juanan also has 91 tackles and 48 interceptions. 

The center-back also has good longevity, clocking in 6173 in 71 overall ISL appearances. HFC like to build from the back and play the ball out to the wingers. Juanan will be a key figure in starting attacking moves, thanks to his 2527 passes with a 81.48% success rate. He has five goals and an assist in that time, therefore one will see him attacking the ball in set-piece situations.

The center-back is also a cautious defender who does not receive a lot of bookings. In 71 games, he has only 14 yellow cards overall and no red cards in the ISL. Last season alone, during 14 appearances, he only got three yellows, which is a decent number for a defender and shows his discipline.

The Difference Maker

Juanan could be the most important signing of the season. He will certainly lead the backline and use his knowledge of Indian football to good effect. The next season of the ISL is Hyderabad FC’s to steal. The outfit showed positive signs last year and are making the right moves to move upwards in the league standings next year.

The Nizams came within reach of ensuring their first-ever playoffs qualification last year, but fell at the last hurdle. However, they will be looking to grab one of the playoffs spots next year and Juanan could be the difference-maker. He is a proven winner and knows what are the requirements to finish among the top places. 

Teams like FC Goa and NorthEast United will be their immediate rivals. HFC have been better than their competition in bringing new players in. There is a clear plan to build on the accolades of the previous year and Juanan could be the perfect catalyst.

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