Promising Indians and exciting foreigners - a detailed account of BFC’s transfer activity

Photo credit: Bengaluru FC Twitter

Bengaluru FC finished in 7th position in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) table last season accumulating just 22 points in 20 matches, and finishing 18 points behind the league leaders Mumbai City FC. The Blues won 5 and drew 7 matches and parted ways with their ISL winning head coach Carles Cuadrat midway through the season. Naushad Moosa who replaced him couldn’t quite recover the season as the Blues failed to reach the semi-finals for the first time.

One of the most successful clubs in recent times, the Blues would look to get back in the reckoning for the title in the 2021-22 season and have made their moves in the transfer market to support their ambitions.

INs

Prince Ibara:

The 25-year-old forward has joined Bengaluru FC on a free transfer from Beerschot VA, a first-division Belgian club. In 2019, the Congolese won the Algerian first division league with USM Alger.

Moreover, in the 2017-18 season, he helped AI-Wakrah finish second in the Qatari second division (QSD) league.

In 2019, Ibara signed for the Antwerp-based club, but he was loaned out to Neftçi PFK in the first division league of Azerbaijan. A few months later, he signed for the third division French club, LB Châteauroux.

Ibara is a strong forward who knows what it takes to win titles.

Sarthak Golui:

The towering center-back will bolster the Blues rearguard having arrived on a free transfer from East Bengal FC. The 24-year-old from Bengal was part of AIFF Elite Academy and has represented India at youth levels.

Sarthak made a name for himself during his time at FC Pune City before he signed for Mumbai City FC, where he got a decent run. He made 113 clearances, 46 tackles and scored a goal in 13 matches for the Islanders.

Last season, he struggled for game time, but in the upcoming 2021-22 season, he would be a strong contender for a place in the starting XI with his new club.

Jayesh Rane:

Bengaluru FC have strengthened their attack with the signing of the Mumbai-based attacking midfielder on a free transfer from ATK Mohun Bagan. The 28-year-old has won the Hero ISL with Chennaiyin FC in 2015 and with ATK in 2019-20. He was also part of the I-League-winning team with Aizawl FC. In 2015, he was named Football Player’s Association of India (FPAI) Fans’ Player of the Year.

Rane spent his developmental years at Mumbai FC. Last season, he made 16 appearances for the Mariners, but most of it were from the bench. The fast and skillful midfielder could turn out to be the key player as BFC look to mount a title challenge.

Bruno Ramires:

The 27-year-old midfielder has joined the Blues on a free transfer from Belenenses SAD. The Brazilian made 32 appearances for the Lisbon-based club in Primeira Liga, Portuguese first-tier league, last season.

Bruno played for various second and third-division Brazilian clubs in the early days of his career. He is a highly skilled player who can dictate the pace of the game.

Bidyashagar Singh:

The TRAU FC striker is another addition to the Bengaluru FC squad this season. The Manipuri who arrived on a free transfer was awarded Golden Boot and Hero Of The League prizes for his outstanding performance in the I-League 2020-21 season. He scored 12 goals in 15 matches.

Bidyashagar began his youth career at East Bengal and has been making an impression since then.

Iman Basafa:

The 29-year-old defensive midfielder has joined the Blues on a free transfer from Machine Sazi. The Iranian started his career at one of the most iconic clubs in Asia, Esteghlal FC. However, he soon switched to clubs in the Iranian second division.

In the last two seasons, Iman played over 40 matches in the Iran Pro League, which is the country's top-tier league.

Alan Costa:

Bengaluru FC have added 20-year-old centre-back Alan Costa to their defensive ranks, signing him on loan from Avaí FC. Costa played 29 matches and scored 3 goals in the Brazilian second division league last season. The Brazilian had spent the later stage of his youth at Palmeiras.

Danish Farooq:

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder has joined the Blues on a free transfer from Real Kashmir FC. The Kashmiri had the most assists during Real Kashmir’s promotion to I-League in the 2017-18 season. Regarded as Kashmiri Ronaldo by fans, he has scored 11 goals in 65 appearances for them.

Still far from his prime, Farooq has the potential to be the surprise package in the 2021-22 season.

Rohit Kumar:

The Blues have added the young defensive midfielder to their squad signing him for an undisclosed transfer fee from Kerala Blasters FC. The Delhi-born player was part of Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) and the DSK Shivajians youth system. He represented India at the U-19 level.

Rohit played 11 matches and under 500 minutes for the Blasters last season. The midfielder showed a lot of promise at FC Pune City in the 2017-18 season but has struggled to get going since then. Still young, the Blues would look to get the best out of him.

Harmanpreet Singh:

The 20-year-old has joined Bengaluru FC on a free transfer from East Bengal FC. The striker from Punjab has played for the Indian men’s national team at the youth level and was a part of Indian Arrows. Harmanpreet signed for East Bengal last season and went on to make 7 appearances for them.

OUTs

Harmanjot Khabra:

The versatile player left for Kerala Blaster FC on a free transfer. The man from Punjab has won ISL in 2015 with Chennaiyin FC and 2019 with Bengaluru FC. In addition, he also won the 2018 Super Cup with the Blues.

Last season, Khabra played 16 matches and made 3 assists. It is worth mentioning that he made his 100th appearance in the Hero ISL 2020-21 season. The Blues will miss the experience of this utility player.

Rahul Bheke:

The 30-year-old right-back has signed for Mumbai City FC on a free transfer. The Mumbaikar won the Hero ISL in 2018-19 and the Super Cup in 2018 with Bengaluru. He played 15 matches and made 47 tackles in the previous season.

Bheke was a vital member of the Bengaluru squad that dominated the competition for two years and now leaves a void to be filled at the Kanteerava.

Thongkhosiem (Semboi) Haokip:

East Bengal FC have acquired the former FC Goa forward on a free transfer. In his four seasons at Bengaluru FC, from the 2017-18 to 2020-21 season, Haokip made 28 appearances in ISL in which he scored 2 goals. His contribution to the club’s continental campaigns is more than decent. He has scored 8 goals in the 13 matches that he played.

Last season, the Manipuri could only manage 21 minutes of game time in the Hero ISL.

Juan (Juanan) Antonio González Fernández:

A mainstay in the Blues defence has signed for Hyderabad FC on a free transfer. The Spaniard was instrumental in Bengaluru FC’s success in the 2016-17 Federation Cup, 2018 Super Cup, and 2018-19 ISL.

In the previous season, he played 14 matches in which he made 46 clearances and scored two goals. The Blues will have to find a way to replace his composure and leadership at the back.

Joe Zoherliana:

The 22-year-old right-back has signed for Northeast United FC on a free transfer. The former Aizawl FC man joined BFC last season but didn’t get a chance to make his ISL debut.

Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha:

The Blues have let go of the 19-year-old midfielder who has signed for Northeast United FC on a free transfer. Emanuel was scouted by BFC’s assistant coach Moosa, who put him in the youth system. And although he rose to the first team last season, the man from Mizoram couldn’t make a single appearance in the league.

Lalthuammawia Ralte:

The 28-year-old goalkeeper has signed for Round Glass Punjab FC on an undisclosed transfer fee. The man from Mizoram has managed only 3 appearances in his ISL career. From 2011 to 2014, he had a good run with Shillong Lajong and Bengaluru FC in the I-League. But he has struggled for starts in the ISL.

Erik Paartalu:

The 35-year-old midfielder has left Bengaluru FC but hasn’t signed for any other club yet. The Australian spent the last four years at BFC, where he scored 9 goals and made 8 assists in 67 matches. The two-time A-League champion was instrumental in BFC’s run to the 2018-19 ISL trophy.

Erik Paartalu is an AFC Champions League winner with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Last season, he scored 2 goals and made an assist in 18 matches.

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