After a blockbuster end to the Indian Super League 2019-20 season, it’s time for all the clubs to go back to the drawing board and look to strengthen their squads ahead of the next season. There has been plenty of movement already when it comes to transfers and here we take a look at the major ones which have grabbed the headlines so far.
SUBRATA PAUL TO HYDERABAD FC
Hyderabad FC made its first major Indian signing of the season by roping in veteran Subrata Paul on a two-year contract, that is, till the end of the 2021-22 season. The move came just after they released Kamaljit Singh, who was their first-choice custodian for the majority of the 2019-20 season. The ‘Indian Spiderman’ as Paul is fondly called by the fans has played in all six seasons of the Indian Super League and has represented clubs like Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United FC before spending the last three seasons at Jamshedpur FC.
A product of the Tata Football Academy, the 33-year-old won the Golden Glove Award in the 2017-18 season. He is also an Arjuna Award recipient and has represented the national team 67 times. Paul is excited to start the journey with Hyderabad FC, who though had a woeful debut campaign in 2019-20, is looking for a fresh start. New head coach Albert Roca, a seasoned campaigner in Indian football, is also set to take over the reins of the club next season onwards.
PRATIK CHAUDHARI TO BENGALURU FC
Pratik Chaudhari has become a household name in the Indian Super League circuit, having represented Kerala Blasters FC, Delhi Dynamos, Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City FC in the previous seasons, before recently signing on the dotted line for Bengaluru FC. The Mumbai born centre-back played a crucial role in Jorge Costa’s team in 2019-20, registering 17 appearances for the Islanders.
The versatile defender can chip in at various positions in the defence and is an aerial threat as well. Bengaluru FC already have a solid centre-back partnership in Albert Serran and Juanan, so it’ll be interesting to see where the 30-year old Chaudhari fits in. There’s Rahul Bheke as well who’s a solid centre-back. So the competition for that spot will get intense in the coming seasons and is sure to give head coach Carles Cuadrat selection headaches.
REDEEM TLANG TO FC GOA
The Shillong-born winger became FC Goa’s first signing under new head coach Juan Ferrando. Redeem Tlang has signed a pre-contract with the club and is set to represent FC Goa in the 2020-2021 Indian Super League season. Coming through the ranks of the I-League club Shillong Lajong, the 25-year-old caught everyone’s attention in the two successful seasons he played for NorthEast United FC. In the 2018-19 season, under the stewardship of Eelco Schattorie, NorthEast managed to reach their first-ever Indian Super League semi-finals, with Redeem playing an integral part in that achievement. He even scored in the semi-final against the eventual champions Bengaluru FC with a sublime finish.
The 2019-20 season, however, was one to forget for the club overall, but Redeem showed his class and excelled in tough conditions, going on to score three times in the season. An attack-minded winger, who loves to dribble past defenders for fun and also has an eye for goal, is sure to flourish under the attacking philosophy of FC Goa.
SAMUEL LALMUANPUIA TO ODISHA FC
Odisha FC have signed the 21-year old midfielder on a two-year contract from Kerala Blasters FC. The boy who hails from Mizoram had a successful stint in the I-League with Shillong Lajong for over four years and managed to find the back of the net 13 times in 64 appearances for the club. India saw the best of Samuel in the 2017-18 season, where he was named I-League’s ‘Emerging Player of the Season’. He later went on to represent former I-League champions Minerva Punjab and earned some vital AFC Cup experience with them.
However, his debut season in the Indian Super League was a disappointing one. Samuel featured sporadically for Kerala Blasters, where he barely got off the bench and clocked just 59 minutes on the field in the five matches he was a part of. Even though he was out of the matchday squad more often than not, he has been hailed by his former coach Eelco Schattorie as one of the best players in Indian football, who needs to give importance on improving his physicality for greater success in the Indian Super League.
Alongside these transfers, certain players have also extended their contracts with their respective clubs. These include Edu Bedia for FC Goa, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Udanta Singh for Bengaluru FC, Raynier Fernandes for Mumbai City FC, and Laxmikant Kattimani and Nikhil Poojary for Hyderabad FC.
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