Sandesh Jhingan’s move to ATK Mohun Bagan is one in the long list of high-profile transfers that the Indian Super League (ISL) has seen this season. With the league getting bigger and better in the 2020-21 season, Indian football fans are expecting a ruthless end to the transfer window.
Meanwhile, here are five of the top ISL transfers that have happened so far.
NERIJUS VALSKIS (CHENNAIYIN FC TO JAMSHEDPUR FC)
The biggest surprise of all ISL transfers came when Jamshedpur FC announced the signing of the 2019-20 ISL Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis. He scored 15 goals and provided six assists in 20 matches for the Marina Machans last season, taking them all the way to the final.
After a slow start in the Indian Super League with two-time ISL winners Chennaiyin FC under coach John Gregory, the former Lithuanian international hit the ground running in style upon Owen Coyle’s arrival. The duo went on a seven-game unbeaten run together with Valskis getting directly involved in 11 goals.
The former Burnley and Blackburn Rovers coach wasn’t leaving his best weapon when he left Chennai for Jamshedpur FC. Valskis is only expected to get stronger next season with JFC’s star midfield trio of Aitor Monroy, Noe Acosta and Piti playing behind him.
MARCELO PERREIRA (HYDERABAD FC TO ODISHA FC)
Popularly known as Marcelinho, the Brazilian playmaker is just what a nascent Odisha FC need as they enter their second year in ISL after a progressive performance last season. With 31 goals and 17 assists in his 63 ISL appearances, Marcelinho is ISL’s third-highest goalscorer of all time and one of the best players of the league to have never won the domestic league in India.
After Odisha FC replaced Delhi Dynamos with Josep Gombau leading the charge last season, the Juggernauts have now brought in a vibrant Stuart Baxter. And Brazilian Marcelinho, who has been the lighting in a bottle at Hyderabad FC last season, will be Baxter’s main man this season.
Whether it be dribbling, long shots, or set-pieces, Marcelinho is adept in all and with former Bengaluru FC forward Manuel Onwu lining ahead of him, Odisha FC fans would be expecting some delightful link-up play in the attacking third.
NISHU KUMAR (BENGALURU FC TO KERALA BLASTERS)
One of the most sought-after full-backs in the country, Nishu Kumar had broken into the scene with Carles Cuadrat’s Bengaluru FC. The lively speedster on BFC’s left flank has impressed all with his versatility to play both as a wing-back and a left-back in the modern system.
However, with Cuadrat favouring Ashique Kuruniyan on the defensive third last season, whose muscle and work rate made it difficult for opponents to contain BFC, Nishu Kumar knew his time was up and risked upsetting the fans to make the big money move to Kerala.
Nishu Kumar’s composure on the ball and athletic defending in the box would be a huge strength for Kerala Blasters, who look to rebuild yet again ahead of the 2020-21 season. With Vicente Gomez and Sandeep Singh taking over as first-choice centre-halves for Kerala, Kumar is looking at a new adventure.
HUGO BOUMOUS (FC GOA TO MUMBAI CITY FC)
With City Football Group now having 65% ownership of Mumbai City FC, the Islanders embark on an exciting project that is expected to be both fruitful and sophisticated. They signal their intent in the most outrageous way as Hugo Boumous traded his orange FC Goa shirt for Mumbai’s lively blue colour.
One of Sergio Lobera’s favourite players, during his time with the Gaurs, the French midfielder embodies the perfect blend of grit and craft that his manager adores so much. In the 37 matches that Boumous has played so far, he has 16 goals and 16 assists. His 11 goals and 10 assists last season was quintessential to FC Goa landing an AFC Champions League spot after winning the ISL League Winners Shield.
Though Ferran Corominas would no longer be his teammate upfront, Boumous has a familiar face in Mandar Rao Dessai who followed Lobera to MCFC. Mumbai fans will be expecting a lot of goals from the left flank this season.
SANDESH JHINGAN (KERALA BLASTERS TO ATK MOHUN BAGAN)
Sandesh Jhingan left the Indian football fans guessing for long before he chose ATK Mohun Bagan after spending six years with Kerala Blasters. After spending the entire last season sidelined with an injury, Jhingan needed a new challenge and the three-time ISL champions offered just that.
The raging fan base and glorious history of the club were further ingredients that pushed Jhingan who will defend the ISL title in 2020-21 season alongside veteran Tiri. With a whopping 139 matches played between them, ATK Mohun Bagan fans couldn’t have asked for a better defensive pairing with most other aspects of their set-up sorted.
With Pritam Kotal and Subhasish Bose forming the full-backs of the rock-solid back four, Jhingan couldn’t have gotten a sweeter deal. At just 27, ATK Mohun Bagan are looking a secured future ahead of them.
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