Transfer watch: Kauko’s signing provides buzz as Hero ISL teams continue building up their squads
Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) teams have continued strengthening their squads ahead of the next season. Last month, Finland’s Joni Kauko’s signing by ATK Mohun Bagan was undoubtedly the biggest movement in the Indian transfer market. The 30-year-old central midfielder joined the Mariners shortly after Finland exited Euro 2020.
ATK Mohun Bagan, who have to contend with the AFC Cup before the 2021-22 Hero ISL, didn’t stop there and went on to secure the services of midfielder Deepak Tangri, who featured for Chennaiyin FC last season.
Hyderabad FC, who narrowly missed out on the Hero ISL 2020-21 semi-finals, meanwhile brought over young winger Abdul Rabeeh AK from Luca SC and forward Aaren D’Silva from FC Goa. Two-time Hero ISL champions Chennaiyin FC too were busy and signed defenders Narayan Das from SC East Bengal and Salam Ranjan Singh from ATK Mohun Bagan. They also extended right-back Reagan Singh and forward Rahim Ali’s contracts.
2018-19 Hero ISL champions Bengaluru FC, who play their AFC play-off tie against Maldivian side Club Eagles soon, on the other hand, secured the services of midfielder Rohit Kumar from Kerala Blasters FC. The Blues also extended skipper Sunil Chhetri’s stay by two years as well as that of Gabonese defender Yrondu Musavu-King. Assistant coach Naushad Moosa also saw his contract extended at the Blues by three years. 2020-21 Hero ISL champions Mumbai City FC too extended defender Amey Ranawade’s contract.
For Kerala Blasters FC fans, the long wait at last got over as Serb Ivan Vukomanovic was rolled out as their new head coach. There were also quite a few departures with no new destinations in sight as of now. The Blasters, after finishing 10th last season, said goodbye to a bunch of players, namely, Vicente Gomez, Jordan Murray, Gary Hooper, Bakary Kone, Facundo Pereyra and Costa Nhamoinesu. Jamshedpur FC let go of Aitor Monroy, David Grande and Isaac Vanmalsawma while Bengaluru FC parted ways with Juan Gonzalez.
NorthEast United FC, one of the semi-finalists last season, meanwhile let go of Luis Machado, their highest goalscorer with seven goals. Finally, ATK Mohun Bagan also parted ways with Javier Hernandez, Jayesh Rane, Komal Thatal and Regin Michael.