The 31-year-old is widely known for his goalscoring prowess.
Keeping true to their superpower tradition, ATK brought out the big guns to sign Fijian star Roy Krishna to lead their line next season. Not only was the 31-year-old made one of the highest paid players in Indian Super League (ISL) history, but the Kolkata giants made a statement of intent by snapping up this bombastic forward to help reestablish their reputation as ISL giants next season.
Arriving at the City of Joy with an enviable reputation, the Fijian actually has his roots in Kolkata as well. It was 140 years ago when his ancestors travelled from the then-British rule India to Fiji in search for better opportunities and as his family tree grew bigger, Krishna grew up in South Pacific Oceania. However, after a celebrated decade long career down under, he’s ready to take up a formidable challenge in ISL and help ATK get back competing at the top of ISL under Antonio Habas.
Having started out his professional career at New Zealand Football Championship side Waitakere United, the 31-year-old even rejected advances from PSV Eindhoven in 2009 to develop his career better. A risky move indeed, but it paid off as he began to soar in New Zealand and he started pounding goals for Waitakere. After winning the NZFC golden boot in the 2012-13 season with an amazing 19 goals from 14 games, he had a short spell at Auckland City and even became the first Fijian to score in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup.
However, his real claim to fame came at Wellington Phoenix, where he spent almost five eventful years. The 31-year-old netted over 50 goals in 122 appearances in the A-League, also becoming Phoenix’s all-time top scorer in the league as well. With 18 goals last season, which included three consecutive braces, winning the Golden Boot and also being awarded the Johnny Warren Medal for his performances in the 2018/19 A-League.
After winning the Wellington Phoenix Players and Club player of the year in recent years, the Fijian heads to the ISL with the reputation for being a deadly goal-scorer. He’s incidentally exactly what ATK, who finished last season with the lowest goals among any ISL side, need to revitalize their attacking style.
When you look into the fact that only two goals transpired from their natural strikers(Kalu Uche and Balwant Singh) last season, there’s little surprise why ATK are stacking up on quality goal-scorers. Even Steve Coppell lamented at lacking a proper striker to have plagued his side’s season last time out and Balwant’s impressive showing in the Super Cup wasn’t really enough to change the management’s mind either.
Uche was made the centre-piece of their attack after the 36-year-old was roped in from Delhi Dynamos. However, a gruesome injury and a low fitness cost both parties, as even Manuel Lanzarote seemed like a sitting duck until their season had already ended. Everton Santos only assisted one goal throughout the season, offering very little creativity in attack.
So it’s not surprising that the Kolkata giants have opted to bring in known goal-scorers and match-winners to their team. Not only content with Jobby Justin’s signing, but ATK’s real statement of intent is also through Krishna. There’s little doubt he’d gell on with Habas very well knowing his elite winner’s mentality and a knack for scoring match-winning goals every now and then.
Considering the fact that the Fijian scored as many goals as ATK’s entire team did in the ISL last season, one can see the improvements he’d bring. Granted, Krishna played more games, but consistently turning up in the competitive A-League shows the lethal goal-scorer the Kolkata giants have perhaps missed since Iain Hume’s departure. Indeed, the 31-year-old can probably be an upgrade over the Canadian, as he’s much more agile and lethal in the final third.
The Fijian has pace to burn for days, with his electric movement capable of bringing out the best in Lanzarote or Edu Garcia as well. Krishna loves to blaze behind defences, bully defenders with his movement and strength, while also possessing an emphatic finishing ability. If ATK’s Spanish guard can use their creativity to find him in prime possession, the Kolkata outfit might be experiencing some real fireworks going forward.
Moreover, Krishna’s also very good with his link-up play and a real fox in the box. Even Jayesh Rane or Michael Soosairaj can adapt well with his interplay, while crosses from wing-backs Pritam Kotal and Ricky Lallawmawma won’t go to waste thanks to his powerful heading ability. The 31-year-old’s adaptability to often move into the wings to create chances can also add a dynamic stance to ATK’s attack, allowing the midfielders or wingers to move centrally to cause trouble for defences.
With the fans craving for a reliable goal-scorer, ATK lived up to their rich reputation to tempt a deadly striker like Roy Krishna to come onboard and help Habas’ chase for their third ISL title next season. Knowing his fantastic record in the A-League and the amount of experience he’s bringing to the table, it’s safe to say goals won’t be a problem for Antonio Habas’ men next season.