The Kolkata-based side sit at the bottom of the table with six points.
While Renedy Singh might have eked out some positives from a poor team, SC East Bengal’s season has by far been one infested with negatives. Former coach Manolo Diaz reiterated on the lack of quality in the squad. With the January transfer open, the club now have an opportunity to bring in some players to bolster certain positions.
So, we take a look at the five positions they should look to reinforce in the window;
For the better part of the first 10 games, Joyner Lourenco has featured in the right-back role. We saw Mohammed Rafique take up this position in the first game of the season and he fared well too. Despite putting in a good shift defensively, Rafique is best utilized in midfield. In their last fixture against the Islanders, Lourenco was forced to go off the pitch within the first 20 minutes with an injury. Details aren’t clear yet on the injury, but the fact remains that SCEB are slim with their options at right-back.
Lourenco’s defensive numbers are quite impressive, average a tackle every game. If we take a look at his crossing abilities, they are quite poor (33% accuracy). Hence, SC East Bengal should look for someone who is defensively sound as well as a threat in attack.
The team are third on the list of sides conceding the most goals so far this season. This fact points a big finger at the defence, which has been quite leaky up until the last few fixtures. One of the main reasons behind this is the inconsistent heart of the backline. The foreigners in Franjo Prce and Tomislav Prce have been quite poor in their performances, with the former being slightly better. Even Raju Gaikwad, apart from his effective long throws, has been culpable at the back.
Right now, the aforementioned names are out with injury. In their absence, Adil Khan has stepped up to the fore and been a breath of fresh air to the squad. While Ankit Mukherjee is slowly forming a decent partnership with Adil, it’s safe to say that the Kolkata-based side should certainly invest in a solid centre-back.
Under the interim coach, players like Sourav Das and Wahengbam Angousana have been very impressive. Despite their decent displays, they aren’t what you would call a “holding” midfielder. SC East Bengal need someone who can stay back with the centre-backs and stop the opposition passes whenever possible.
Amarjit Singh Kiyam is one who fits the bill, but he has been moved around the pitch a lot. To add a second layer of defence, the club should try to look for a defensive midfielder in the market.
2. Left winger
The wings have been an area which has lacked any attacking threat this campaign so far. With the return of the experienced Jackichand Singh from a long-term injury, the right wing can be occupied by him once he is fully fit. It is the left flank that is a matter of concern. Players like Naorem Singh and Bikash Jairu have looked clueless on most occasions. They do well to carry the ball into the final third, but fail when it comes to a pinpoint cross.
Other clubs in the Indian Super League have this threat from the wings, something that is severely lacking in the SCEB camp. Therefore, it would do them good if they can get a hold of a speedy and technically good winger.
After Daniel Chima left SC East Bengal officially due to personal reasons, the options upfront have thinned further. The Nigerian could only find the net twice in 10 appearances. 28-year-old Semboi Haokip has three goal contributions in six appearances. Long-time absentee Balwant Singh has also returned from injury and will be looking to open his account. Still, scoring goals has been a glaring issue for the club (11 goals- second-lowest in the league).
The club confirmed the signing of Brazilian forward Marcelo Ribeiro, but we don’t know if it would be enough. Preferably, the side should add another forward to their ranks who has some ISL experience. Once they fix the goalscoring situation, the first win might not be that far for the Red and Gold.