In the ISL transfer market, the likes of Sandesh Jhingan, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Nerijus Valskis and others created massive talking points ahead of ISL 2020-21.
There were a number of top Indian Super League (ISL) transfers that created a lot of interest among the football fans across the country.
As the ISL 2020-21 season gets underway, let’s take a look at some of the high-profile football players who grabbed headlines when ISL transfer market was in swing.
ISL transfer: How it works
The All India Football Federation (AIFF), in June this year, confirmed that it will open the ISL transfer window for the summer from August 1, 2020, till October 20, 2020. The second transfer window, on the other hand, starts on January 1, 2021, and runs till the end of January. The ISL teams will be allowed to acquire new players during this phase only.
The registration of the amateur players, however, can be done anytime during the season. In other ordinances, a club can only sign a minimum of five and a maximum of seven foreign players and at least one of them should be from an AFC-affiliated country. There are, however, no other restrictions in terms of the number of players that can be transferred, restricted to the extent of the squad limit.
ISL transfer market: Big moves of ISL 2020-21
Sandesh Jhingan: Kerala Blastes to ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan roped in Indian football team defender Sandesh Jhingan after a long ISL transfer battle with several other clubs.
The former Kerala Blasters FC captain had earlier decided to part ways with the Kochi-based outfit after six consecutive years. Jhingan joined ATK Mohun Bagan on a free transfer and was the most notable signing from the Indian contingent.
Sandesh Jhingan, who made his international debut in 2015, has represented India 36 times and scored 4 goals for the national side.
Interestingly, the Indian football team star defender will make his ATKMB debut against his former side Kerala Blasters in the first match of the ISL this season.
Hugo Boumous: FC Goa to Mumbai City FC
Hugo Boumous’ move from FC Goa to Mumbai City FC has been one of the most talked-about ISL transfers in recent memory. Mumbai City FC paid INR 1.6 crores to secure the services of ISL 2019-20 ‘Hero of the League’.
Boumous had scored 11 goals and also provided 10 assists in just 14 matches in ISL season 6, which helped FC Goa qualify for the 2021 AFC Champions League.
The French midfielder had joined the Gaurs in 2018 under head coach Sergio Lobera, who is now the coach of the Islanders and has been instrumental in bringing Hugo Boumous to Mumbai.
Bartholomew Ogbeche: Kerala Blasters to Mumbai City FC
Kerala Blasters’ all-time top goal-scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche has penned a one-year deal with Mumbai City FC.
The Nigerian had netted 15 goals for the Tuskers and finished as the joint-top scorer in ISL 2019-20 season alongside Chennaiyin FC’s Nerijus Valskis and erstwhile ATK’s Roy Krishna.
Previously, Ogbeche had scored 12 goals playing for NorthEast United in ISL 2018-19.
The Nigerian will bring in plenty of experience in Indian football and can help the Islanders secure their maiden ISL title.
Nerijus Valskis: Chennaiyin FC to Jamshedpur FC
ISL’s Golden Boot winner in season 6, Nerijus Valskis followed his former head coach Owen Coyle from Chennaiyin FC to Jamshedpur FC ahead of ISL 2020-21.
Nerijus Valskis had scored 15 goals and provided six assists in 20 matches for the ‘Marina Machans’.
The Lithuanian footballer has also represented his national side 24 times. He has played his club football in his homeland, Israel, Belarus, Poland, Thailand and Romania.
Adam Le Fondre: A-League to Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City FC arguably made the biggest signing of the season by roping in Sydney FC star Adam Le Fondre on loan.
Adam Le Fondre, who has also played in the Premier League, has scored 35 goals in just 49 appearances for Sydney FC and helped them win back-to-back A-League titles.
Additionally, Adam Le Fondre was named in the A-League Team of the Season in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Other notable ISL transfers
Nishu Kumar: Among Indian players in the ISL, Nishu Kumar’s transfer also grabbed headlines. After another splendid season with Bengaluru FC, 23-year-old Nishu Kumar decided to move to Kerala Blasters for ISL 2020-21, signing a four-year contract which made him the highest-paid Indian defender.
Redeem Tlang: Redeem Tlang, who scored three goals in the 2019-20 ISL season (his personal best), became FC Goa’s first acquisition when he switched his alliance from NorthEast United FC, signing a pre-contract in June. Despite NorthEast United finishing ninth last season, Tlang showed what he brings to the table.
Marcelinho: Marcelinho, the ISL Golden boot winner of the 2016 season, will play in his fourth Indian Super League club in the 2020-21 season after Odisha FC decided to splash ₹48 million to lure the attacker away from Hyderabad FC.
Gary Hooper: Former Celtic and Norwich City forward Gary Hooper has arrived in Kerala Blasters amidst massive fanfare. The 32-year-old is expected to fill the void left by Bartholomew Ogbeche and judging by his experience, it is safe to say the Tuskers have done a fantastic job.
Anthony Pilkington: Hooper’s teammate at Norwich City, Anthony Pilkington signed for SC East Bengal ahead of the 2020-21 season and brings in an experience of over 400 appearances across four tiers of English football leagues and cup competitions. He will certainly be the one to keep a keen eye on.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @MumbaiCityFC