Player transfers and re-signings ahead of ISL Season 3
With Season 3 of the Hero Indian Super League approaching at a rapid pace, most of the eight teams have been busy behind the scenes as they look to fine-tune their squads. There has been a lot of movement in the Hero ISL’s off-season and it’s not just the players who are switching their allegiances this time. Here indiansuperleague.com looks at the noteworthy player re-signings and transfers undertaken by the teams so far.
NorthEast United FC
The Highlanders have arguably been the busiest team in the lead-up to the season. Having already re-signed star performers from last season in Reagen Singh and Seityasen Singh, the Highlanders were quick to add the signatures of up-and-coming talents like Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Shouvik Ghosh, Sumit Passi, Rowllin Borges and Uruguay’s Sasha Aneff.
They further strengthened their squad with the arrival of experienced individuals like midfielder Manoel Morais Amorim from Brazil, Japanese playmaker Yusa Katsumi, goalkeeper Subrata Paul from Mumbai City FC, Hero ISL winner Mailson Alves from Chennaiyin FC, Nirmal Chhetri, formerly of the Kerala Blasters, and local talent Fanai Lalrempuia. However, it’s the resigning of NorthEast’s top-scorer from last season Nicolas Velez that will please the Highlanders most.
Atlético de Kolkata
Hero ISL 2014 champions and semi-finalists last year, Atlético de Kolkata got the ball rolling with the announcement of José Francisco Molina as their head coach in early May. ATK then confirmed the re-signing of six players from last season with Arnab Mondal and Jewel Raja being their only two domestic re-signings. Their other four re-signings include defensive mainstay José Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), midfield-general Ofentse Nato, creative winger Sameehg Doutie and their top-scorer last season Iain Hume.
Other individuals to have penned on the dotted line for Kolkata include former Delhi Dynamos FC pair Robert Lalthlamuana and Prabir Das, ex-Mumbai City FC players Kingshuk Debnath, Lalrindika Ralte and Debjit Majumder, and the FC Pune City duo of Bikash Jairu and Pritam Kotal from last year. ATK have also signed up keeper Shilton Paul from Kerala Blasters FC and Bikramjit Singh from FC Goa, while also bagging Bidyananda Singh Ningthoujam who has been touted as Indian football’s next big thing.
Their latest batch of foreign acquisitions feature Spanish centre-back Pablo Gallardo, goalkeeper Daniel Dani Mallo Castro and midfielder Stephen Pearson. 33-year-old Pearson represented Kerala Blasters FC in the inaugural season and will be joining ATK from Motherwell.
Mumbai City FC
After underwhelming performances in the last two seasons that have seen them finish sixth and seventh respectively, Mumbai City FC have put their faith in former Costa Rican midfielder Alexandre Guimaraes to mastermind their title bid in Season 3 of the Hero ISL. Guimaraes, who also managed his country during both the FIFA 2002 and 2006 World Cup, has wasted no time as he looks to put things right for Mumbai. The first thing following his appointment was the re-signing of their top assist-provider from last season Sony Norde.
Mumbai City FC have also signed Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Vadocz, who played for FC Pune City in the first season. Argentine playmaker Matias Defederico and Brazilian defender Gerson Vieira are also set to don the blue of Mumbai. Mumbai further bolstered their squad with the addition of former NorthEast United FC duo Aiborlang Khongjee and Boithang Haokip while also poaching away the prodigious talent that is Jackichand Singh from Maharashtra rivals FC Pune City. Their latest batch of signings feature Anwar Ali from Delhi Dynamos FC, Pronay Halder from FC Goa and Sena Ralte from Chennaiyin FC. 23-year-old David Lalrinmuana is also set to represent Mumbai City FC in his first Hero ISL season.
FC Pune City
The Stallions made a major statement of intent by prising away Hero ISL winning manager Antonio Lopez Habas from ATK earlier this year. It’s a move that is certain to have a positive impact on FC Pune City’s title hopes this year given his experience in Indian conditions over the course of the last two seasons. Kerala Blasters FC’s right-back from last season Rahul Bheke became the Stallions’ first domestic signing ahead of Season 3, while La Masia graduate and former Barcelona midfielder Pitu Comadevall became their first foreign recruit recently. Another former member of Atlético de Kolkata, Arata Izumi also joined FC Pune City as he prepares to rekindle his relationship with head coach Habas from last season. Their latest signings include the NorthEast United FC duo of Yumnam Raju and Sanju Pradhan from Season 2.
Kerala Blasters FC
The Blasters have also kick-started their preparations for Season 3 with the appointment of Steve Coppell as their head coach. The former Manchester United winger, who led Reading to Premier League promotion in the 2005-06 season after a record 33 wins in the Championship (2nd tier of English football), will bring European know-how to the Blasters, having managed at the top level of English football. The first course of action by the new Blasters coach was the re-signing of key individuals like Sandesh Jhingan, Sandip Nandy, Mohammed Rafi, Mehtab Hossain, Ishfaq Ahmed and Gurwinder Singh from last season. The men yellow also re-signed their top-scorer and assists provider from last season by securing the services of Englishman Antonio German and Spanish playmaker Josu Currias besides the signing of Thongkhosiem Haokip, who scored a hat-trick for FC Goa last year.
Delhi Dynamos FC
The Lions announced World Cup winner and Italian legend Ginaluca Zambrotta as their head coach for the new season. They’ve also confirmed the re-signing of Souvik Chakraborty and Sanjiban Ghosh as well as the signing of youngster Kean Lewis.