Mumbai City FC recruits star-studded reinforcement as they gear up for the season

Mumbai City FC will make a run to defend their title in the upcoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season. The Islanders finished at the top of the table in the league stage and won the Hero ISL trophy last season. They managed to collect forty points in twenty matches, equal to what ATK Mohun Bagan gathered. However, a better goal difference saw Mumbai pip the Mariners in the league stage. A similar story followed in the final, where the Islanders defeated ATK-MB 2-1 to take home the title.

Mumbai City FC was a solid team last season. But with the prospect of the AFC Champions League this time around, they have made few important additions to the squad.

INs

Igor Angulo

The striker has joined Mumbai City FC from FC Goa. The 37-year-old played for the Gaurs in the 2020-21 season and was the joint top scorer in the league, with 14 goals in 21 matches. Angulo is a seasoned goal-scorer. Before coming to India, the striker had a brilliant stint with Górnik Zabrze in the Polish first division league where he scored 88 goals in 154 appearances.

Lalengmawia Ralte (Apuia)

The 21-year-old midfielder has signed for the Islanders from NorthEast United FC. Apuia was awarded the Emerging Player Of The Season in 2020-21. The midfielder was instrumental in the Highlanders' run to the semi-finals.

The footballer is regarded as a complete midfielder package. In the previous season, he made 93 tackles and 46 interceptions. Apuia, who was also a part of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup squad, will bring calmness and solidity in the middle of the park, where he will partner up with Ahmed Jahouh.

Rahul Bheke

The Mumbaikar has arrived at Mumbai City FC from Bengaluru FC. The fullback is an experienced Hero ISL campaigner, having played over 90 matches in the league. Rahul Bheke scored the winner for BFC in the 2018-19 Hero ISL final against FC Goa. The 30-year-old is an ideal fullback with both defensive and attacking qualities.

Mohammad Nawaz

The 21-year-old has left  FC Goa to join the Islanders. Nawaz won the league stage of the 2019-20 Hero ISL season and 2019 Super Cup with the Gaurs. He is a technically sound keeper who has been a part of India's youth teams. Moreover, he was involved in the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup.

Mohammad Nawaz will most likely become the first preference shot-stopper for Mumbai City FC after the departure of Amrinder Singh. Having already made more than 40 appearances in the Hero ISL, the youngster holds loads of potential.

Cássio Gabriel

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder has joined Mumbai City FC from Vila Nova FC, a second-division Brazilian club. Cássio has been brought in to replace Hugo Boumous in the upcoming season.

The Brazilian has the experience of playing in the Croatian top-flight and winning the 2012-13 Croatian Football Cup with Hajduk Split. In 2020, he lifted the Campeonato Brasileiro Série D title, fourth-tier Brazilian league, with Mirassol FC and took them to Série C, third-tier league.

Ygor Catatau

The forward has joined Mumbai City FC on loan from Madureira, a first-tier club in the state league of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian has spent the last four seasons on loan at different Brazilian second-division and third-division clubs. The 26-year-old's last spell was at Vitória in the second-division, where he scored two goals in eight appearances.

Bradden Inman

The 29-year-old Australian has signed for the Islanders from ATK Mohun Bagan. In the early stages of his career, the midfielder plied his trade in England. Last year, he signed for ATK Mohun Bagan from Brisbane Roar. However, he was loaned to Odisha FC in the January transfer window.

Bradden had a good run with Brisbane Roar. He would look to replicate the same in the ISL.

Huidrom Naocha Singh

The fullback has joined Mumbai City FC from Gokulam Kerala FC. Naocha Singh has won the 2019 Durand Cup and 2020-21 I-League with the Malabarians. The 22-year-old played in every match last season.

The Manipuri will challenge for a place in the playing XI alongside fullbacks Mandar Rao Desai, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Amey Ranawade, and Rahul Bheke.

Gurkirat Singh:

The 18-year-old fullback has joined Mumbai City FC from Indian Arrows. The youngster from Punjab spent the last three seasons in the I-League with Indian Arrows. Further, he has represented India in various age categories. Gurkirat is a young and talented lad who would look to make the most of the opportunity on the big stage.

OUTs

Hugo Boumous:

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder has left Mumbai City FC to sign for ATK Mohun Bagan. Boumous played a key role in Mumbai City FC’s run to the Hero ISL trophy last season, in which he scored 3 goals and made 7 assists.

In the 2019-20 season, he was named as Hero of the League, for scoring 11 goals and assisting 10 times in just 15 matches for FC Goa.

The absence of Boumous’ creativity and passing will be a loss, but the Islanders have brought in more than enough firepower to make sure it doesn’t hurt them.

Amrinder Singh:

The 28-year-old has signed for ATK Mohun Bagan. The shot-stopper has been rock solid in his five seasons with the Mumbai-based club. In the 2016 season, he was awarded Golden Glove for keeping 5 clean sheets in 6 matches.

Next season, he finished the campaign with the most number of saves in the league -- 59. The 2020-21 season was the icing on the cake as he finally bagged a Hero ISL trophy to show for his valiant efforts over the years.

Bartholomew Ogbeche:

The Nigerian has joined Hyderabad FC. He scored eight goals and made three assists last season for the Islanders. The 36-year-old was the joint-top scorer in the 2019-20 season while playing for Kerala Blasters FC.

Adam Le Fondre:

The striker has returned to Sydney FC after his loan spell with Mumbai City FC. The Englishman scored 11 goals and assisted for one in the course of the 2020-21 season. He led the team from the front to guide them to their first Hero ISL title.

Bidyananda Singh:

The defensive midfielder has signed for ATK-Mohun Bagan this season.The 23-year-old played 10 matches for the Islanders in the 2019-20 season but didn’t feature at all last season. A graduate of the AIFF Elite Academy, Bidyananda was selected for a one-week training stint at the Aspire Academy, Qatar, back in 2016.

Jackichand Singh:

The winger has signed for SC East Bengal on loan. Jackichand joined Mumbai City FC from Jamshedpur FC in the January transfer window of the 2020-21 season. The forward had a relatively quiet season last time, having made only 6 appearances for Mumbai.

A seasoned ISL campaigner like him would want to be more impactful for his club. Therefore, a loan move to SC East Bengal seems only fair for him.

Tondonba Singh:

The 26-year-old has signed for NorthEast United FC. In the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons at Chennaiyin FC, the Manipuri competed with Jerry Lalrinzuala and managed to get a decent run in his absence due to injury. In 2020, he signed for Mumbai City FC but only got to play 25 minutes throughout the season.

Mumbai City FC have been very active in the transfer window. The club has brought in plenty of reinforcements to cover for the players who have left. They have managed to assemble a solid squad on paper. All that remains to see is how they fare on the field.

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