Transfer Watch: Surprise moves abound as Boumous, Ogbeche and Garcia make the headlines
2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) finalists ATK Mohun Bagan and 2018-19 champions Bengaluru FC have been the busiest teams in the transfer market since July 4. Understandably so: the Mariners are due to play in the AFC Cup (Group D, South Zone) soon while the Blues have their AFC Cup play-off tie against Maldivian side Club Eagles to contend with. In the event of a win against Club Eagles, Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men will have more action coming their way as they will join ATK Mohun Bagan’s Group D as the fourth team.
So, it was not surprising at all to see these two teams up the ante in terms of bringing in new players. The Mariners sort of staged a coup when they brought on board star attacking midfielder Hugo Boumous from reigning champions Mumbai City FC. Defender Ashutosh Mehta and midfielder Bidyananda Singh were the other acquisitions for the Green and Maroon. Among these new arrivals, there was one departure too in the form of Edu Garcia, who joined Hyderabad FC. The Antonio Lopez Habas-led team also extended the contract of midfielder Carl McHugh.
Bengaluru FC, meanwhile, secured the services of Congolese striker Prince Ibara from Belgian side Beerschot for two years as well as those of defenders Alan Costa from Avaí Futebol Club and Sarthak Golui, who played for SC East Bengal last season. Brazilian Costa is on a two-year loan deal, while Golui signed a two-year contract. Young striker Harmanpreet Singh also joined Bengaluru FC having played for SC East Bengal last season.
Hyderabad FC, who finished fifth on the table in 2020-21, also made some waves with the signings of Garcia and Bartholomew Ogbeche, who played a big role in Mumbai City FC’s triumph last season. Brazilian midfielder Joao Victor was rewarded with a two-year contract extension. Odei Onaindia and Sweden Fernandes, however, left the Manuel Marquez-led team. Kerala Blasters FC, meanwhile, signed seasoned defender Harmanjot Khabra till 2023 and young winger Vincy Barretto from Gokulam Kerala FC on a three-year deal.
Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC signed one player each. The Marina Machans brought on board Debjit Majumder besides extending Rafael Crivellaro’s contract, while Odisha FC secured the services of Isaac Vanmalsawma, who played for Jamshedpur FC last season. Young midfielder Manisana Singh was another player to leave Jamshedpur FC.
Goalkeeper Majumder, who played for SC East Bengal last season, joined the two-time Hero ISL champions only a few days before the arrival of new head coach Bozidar Bandovic. Bright Enobakhare, another player to represent the Red and Gold Brigade last season, meanwhile joined Coventry City in England. In two departures for Odisha FC, their highest topscorer last season with 12 goals, Diego Mauricio and defender George D’souza left the club.
Finally, six-time semi-finalists FC Goa extended midfielder Glan Martins’ contract besides bidding farewell to Australian defender James Donachie.