Transfer wrap: Bengaluru FC sign centre-back Aleksandar Jovanovic; Odei Onaindia returns to Hyderabad FC
Bengaluru FC, on Friday, announced the signing of Australian centre-back Aleksandar Jovanovic on a one-year deal, ahead of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season.
The 32-year-old, who has represented clubs across six different countries, becomes the Blues’ seventh signing under Simon Grayson and fulfils the AFC criteria as the club’s Asian foreigner in the squad.
Born in Sydney, Jovanović started his youth career with APIA Leichhardt, and went on to sign his first professional contract with the Parramatta Eagles in 2006. In 2008, he moved abroad for the first time, signing for Serbian SuperLiga club Vojvodina. Between 2008 and 2011, Jovanović had three loan spells within the Serbian divisions, turning out for FK Palic, FK Veternik and RFK Novi Sad in that period.
“I’m excited to represent Bengaluru FC and really looking forward to meeting the players, staff and supporters. I was approached with the idea of moving to India and joining BFC and it immediately caught my attention. I’ve heard a lot about the club as I have friends who have played here, and they had only positive things to say about the club and the League. I can’t wait to get started,” said Jovanović, after completing the formalities on his deal.
After a brief stint with Hajduk Kola in 2011, Jovanović crossed borders again, moving to BEC Tero Sasana (now Police Tero FC) in Thailand. Between 2013 and 2015, Jovanović turned out for South Korean sides Suwon FC and Jeju United, before moving to China with Tianjin TEDA in 2016. A second stint at Jeju United would be followed by yet another move abroad, this time to Bosnian Premier League side Zeljeznicar Sarajevo.
Jovanović, who stands at 196 cm, is among Australia's most successful exports to the K-League, having registered over a century of appearances across two separate stints with Jeju United. He most recently turned out for A-League newcomers Macarthur FC, finishing in sixth place in their debut campaign in the League.
Jovanović is expected to join fellow new signings Javi Hernandez, Roy Krishna, Faisal Ali, Amrit Gope, Hira Mondal and Prabir Das, as the Blues regroup for pre-season preparations later this month.
Odei Onaindia returns to Hyderabad FC
Hero ISL champions Hyderabad FC have further strengthened their squad ahead of the upcoming season with the signing of Spanish center-back Odei Onaindia, the club announced on Thursday.
Odei, who was part of the squad in Hero ISL 2020-21 season, returns to the side where he played a crucial role in what was a new-look young team, back then.
“I have really good memories with this team and I am really excited to be back with them again. We were a family and I can’t wait to get back on the field,” said Odei after penning a one-year contract with the club.
Born and brought up in Lekeitio, Spain, the 32-year-old started out with Athletic Bilbao before making a name for himself with CD Mirandes in the Spanish second division.
Odei made 62 appearances for Los Rojillos, playing a crucial role in their promotion and also taking the side to a Copa del Rey semi-final in the 2019-20 season.
He moved to the Hero ISL to join Manuel Marquez’s Hyderabad FC in 2020 and had a season to remember as HFC only narrowly missed out on a place in the playoffs.
Odei started every game for the club in the 2020-21 campaign and was lauded as one of the best center-backs the league has ever seen. He hardly put a foot wrong throughout the campaign but returned to the Segunda Division with Mirandes just a year later.
The Spaniard is now back with Hyderabad FC and will join Marquez’s team once again. The boss has always been full of praise for Odei and believes that he is perfect for his Hyderabad side.
“Odei was with us in the 2020-21 season and he knows everything not just about the ISL but about our club too. He is a great defender, is fast and is very good tactically. He is an example for everyone as a professional and is a very good teammate as well. We are very satisfied to have him here with us again,” said Manolo.
FC Goa rope in youngster Ayush Chhetri
FC Goa have completed the signing of Ayush Chhetri, the Club can confirm. The midfielder has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Gaurs, which means that he will wear the Club’s iconic orange till the summer of 2025.
“FC Goa is one of the best football clubs in the country and I’m happy to join them. Playing in the Indian Super League (ISL) was one of my biggest dreams and I'm thankful to FC Goa for giving me the opportunity,” Chhetri said to fcgoa.in after signing his contract.
Born in the state of Mizoram, Chhetri started playing football at the very young age of five. He rose to prominence for the first time when he got selected to Aizawl FC’s U15 and U18 teams for the Hero Youth League.
Consistent performances with the Mizoram-based club’s youth sides helped him earn a promotion to the first team and earlier last year in the 2021-22 season, he was handed his debut in the I-League.
The 19-year-old went on to make 10 appearances for Aizawl FC in I-League 2021-22. On April 1 this year, the midfielder scored his maiden league goal against eventual champions Gokulam Kerala, and followed that up with strikes against NEROCA FC and Sudeva Delhi FC.
In a short span of time, Ayush Chhetri has proven his abilities as a player who can make an impact on both ends of the pitch.
Mumbai City FC announce the signing of goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy
Mumbai City FC are delighted to announce the signing of goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy. The 28-year-old joins the Islanders on a two-year contract until May 2024.
Bhaskar, who hails from Basunia Para in West Bengal, won the Golden Glove award in the Hero I-League 2021-22 for Rajasthan United FC. He kept eight clean sheets and made the highest number of saves (44 saves in 17 matches) for Rajasthan United in their debut I-league campaign.
The goalkeeper honed his skills at Sports Authority of India (SAI) Kolkata and went on to represent Indian Navy, KFA Southern Samity and Services Football Team, winning consecutive Santosh Trophy titles with Services in 2015 and 2016.
The following season, Bhaskar moved to I-League side Minerva Punjab, where he spent three seasons and featured in the AFC Champions League Qualification stage and the AFC Cup in 2019. He was also part of Punjab’s maiden I-League title-winning squad.
“It's a big day for me and my family. It’s a culmination of my hard work and my efforts to play at the highest possible level, and representing a massive club like Mumbai City is a great honour for me. I am grateful for the faith the club and has shown in me,” Roy said.