Teams have hit the ground running as they look to improve on the previous campaign in their own ways.
After an intense season, Indian club football has finally come to an end. The Super Cup, which pitted Indian Super League clubs against I-League clubs had a dramatic end as Bengaluru FC clinched the inaugural trophy by defeating East Bengal, making it their fifth piece of silverware in five years.
Since well before the domestic season ended, both the I-League and ISL sides have been busy planning moves in the transfer market. Let’s take a look at how they have been doing and who have these sides roped in in the meantime.
Mohammed Rafique has penned down a deal with Mumbai City. The central midfielder has experience playing for ATK and Kerala Blasters in the ISL. His addition could sort out the problems Mumbai’s midfield have.
Dicka was the highest scorer in I-League 2017-18
Mohun Bagan had a trophyless season this time. The Mariners finished third in the I-League, while they suffered a defeat from old-rivals Bengaluru FC in the semi-finals of Super Cup. However, the valiant show displayed by striker Aser Dipanda Dicka was among the reassuring facts the Kolkata giants had. Khel Now sources suggest that Bagan are vying to retain the services of the Cameroonian.
Talk about consistency in the ISL and the name ATK will, undoubtedly come to everyone’s mind. But, the fourth edition of the ISL saw them produce a below-par season, much to the frustration of their ardent faithful. Adding to their woes are reports suggesting that players like Robin Singh, Keegan Pereira, Ashutosh Mehta are all set to leave the Kolkata outfit and are looking for options elsewhere.
To balance the books, ATK have secured the signature of experienced defender Arnab Mondal, who’s currently at East Bengal. The 28-year-old was a regular centre-back in the national team and boasts immense experience. Another East Bengal player, Cavin Lobo is also on the radar of ATK, as they look to fill the void in their midfield.
Mohun Bagan’s Sheikh Faiaz is set to join ATK, Khel Now sources have confirmed. The young winger was an integral part of Bagan’s season this term and it is understood that negotiations are in the final stages.
Elsewhere, East Bengal’s Ugandan recruit Khalid Aucho will likely leave them as both parties are unwilling to extend his contract. Contrary to reports suggesting Aucho had penned a two-year deal, his contract will expire on 31st May, sources confirmed.
However, the club seem to have turned the tide, at least on paper, by announcing the arrival of six new players into the contingent. Among those new inclusions, four are from Minerva Punjab, the reigning champions.
East Bengal have also signed Senegalese midfielder Kassim Aidara as a replacement for Aucho. Aidara plied his trade for Minerva in the recently concluded season and was among the crucial figures their team had. They have also signed Rakshit Dagar from Minerva Punjab. However, their current shot-stopper, Ubaid CK is also likely to stay with the Kolkata club, sources confirmed.
To further stabilize their defense, they have also secured the services of Deepak Devrani from Minerva Punjab. The biggest of the arrivals is, however, the signing of Sukhdev Singh. He had a tremendous season marshalling the defense of Minerva Punjab this season.
Other than the aforementioned four, they have also managed to lure the likes of Sanchayan Samaddar, who impressed in the recently concluded Santosh Trophy and Ginkaholen Haokip.
In what could be termed as quite shocking news, ISL’s defending champions Chennaiyin FC have offered a massive deal to enlist Semboi Haokip’s services from Bengaluru FC.
Zohmingliana Ralte is alo close to joining Chennaiyin FC. The Shillong Lajong academy product is now with the Blues, but sources confirmed that the defending champions of the ISL have made a move for Zotea.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Cit have been concentrating heavily on improving their defence. As a part of it, they’ve secured the services of Anwar Ali from ATK. Anwar is well-known for his resoluteness and his inclusion would further improve the stability of Mumbai’s backline.
Kerala Blasters’ Ugandan player Keziron Kizito is unlikely to continue with the southern outfit next season. “He’s meant to move to Spain,” said a source close to the player. Earlier, Khel Now had reported that he’d received multiple offers from Spanish clubs.
NorthEast United had a tumultuous season in both the ISL and Super Cup. To turn the scales, they’ve roped in veteran defender Guruwinder Singh to solidify their fragile defence, Khel Now learns.
Finally, Gokulam Kerala have added another Ugandan player to their roster. 29-year-old Brian Umony is the latest of their Ugandan crew. Umony follows in the footsteps of Henry Kisekka and Mudde Musa. He penned down a one-year contract and is expected to join the squad soon.