With the eighth edition of the Indian Super League scheduled to kick-off on November 19, the clubs are continuing to strengthen their squads, resulting in a lot of activity in the transfer market.
With each club allowed to sign a maximum of six foreigners in the squad including a compulsory Asian-origin player, with four foreigners on the field, the focus is on adding muscle to both the foreign and domestic component of the squad.
It was ATK Mohun Bagan that created the biggest buzz in the market last month when they roped in Finland’s Joni Kauko — undoubtedly the biggest movement in the Indian transfer market this season. 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 ISL season, 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 a semi-finals spot in 2020-21, meanwhile brought the services of young winger Abdul Rabeeh AK from Luca SC and forward Aaren D’Silva from FC Goa. Two-time 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 contracts of right-back Reagan Singh and forward Rahim Ali, the ISL informed in a release on Sunday.
2018-19 ISL champions Bengaluru FC, who play their AFC play-off tie against Maldivian Club Eagles soon, have 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 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.