Indian football took one of its biggest steps towards a bright future a couple of years ago, with the introduction of Indian Super League. The past two seasons have seen phenomenal rise in viewership and has also coincided with the rise of the national rankings of the football team.
The fourth edition kicks off during October this year and teams have had their initial picks on home grown players. Let’s take a look at who the franchises have signed.
The Highlanders of Indian football focused on local talent and picked up a couple of exciting players. Their star signings- Lalrindika Ralte, Holicharan Narzary and Nirmal Chettri. Ralte, the Indian icon commands the highest fee so far- a salary of Rs. 50 L.
Northeast spent a total of Rs 2.89 crores, but in the likes of Robert Lalthlamuana, Seiminlen Doungel, Didika, Narzary and Malemnganba Meitei, the club have got a fine local spine.
Athletico de Kolkata (AMAR TOMAR KOLKATA)
The club are looking pretty serious about defending their title this season, spending an amount of Rs. 4.42 Crores, the second highest of the draft.
Newly appointed head coach Teddy Sheringham made the best use of the budget given to him, picking up Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Jayesh Rane, Robin Singh and Ashutosh Mehta.
ATK are set to go all out to defend their title, and with so much cash splashed on the pitch, a lot rides on his shoulders during his first season in charge of the club.
The Lions are not ready to go out without the necessary players and have bottled in a total of 15 Indian internationals in the first round, with the standouts being the standouts being Pritam Kotal, Albino Gomes, Romeo Fernandes and Seityasen Singh.
Considering that the aforementioned quartet alone have costed the team Rs. 2.25 crores, it looks pretty good on paper with the club having spent only the third highest amount of money- Rs. 3.91 crores.
Crashing out in the semi-final the last two seasons, the club will look to make a strong impression this time around.
Mumbai City FC
Mumbai have picked up players who have proved themselves in the ISL. The spent most of the money on their striker Balwant Singh and defender Raju Gaikwad.
The Ranbir Kapoor-owned team’s Rs 3.73 crore looks costly as none of them have sealed their places in the Indian team though.
Having missed their initial transfer targets, they did a good job of roping in Aiborlang Khongjee, Sanju Pradhan and Mehrajuddin Wadoo. The fact that more players can be signed is what the team is looking towards.
Pune City FC
The Stallions made a horde of signings, picking up what they saw was young talent that could be honed. The highlight though were the two big-money signings they made- Kean Lewis and Lalchhuanmawia. Baljit Sahni was also added at a later time.
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The Orange-Purples spent a total of Rs 2.72 crores on 14 players, with as many as nine players under the Rs 20 lakh salary mark.
The Blues surprisingly spent the least amount of money- a sum of Rs. 2.59 crores. They spent heavily on Indian Nationals Narayan Das and Pronay Halder.
Defender Chinglensana Singh looks set to lead the backline. Forward Brandon Fernandes was chosen over local favourite Romeo Fernandes on whom the club were unwilling to spend on.
The club’s measures look austere and it looks like the vault is being reserved for International players down the line by Zico.
The club have done a commendable job in resigning players who have been the core of the team so far, signed Lenny Rodrigues, Harmanjit Khabra, Alwyn George and Lalthuammawia Ralte.
The only notable big name signing was Rahul Bheke, who would be a valuable addition to the largely unchanged team.
The Blues signed a total of 13 players, and the spotlight is on the northeast trio of Zotea Ralte, Thongkhosiem Haokip and Boithang Haokip, the defending champions of the Federations Cup.
Kerala Blasters came into the draft having done half their job beforehand by retaining CK Vineeth and Sandesh Jhingan. The Men in Yellow added to their ranks local lad Rino Anto and India regular Jackichand Singh.
The draft turned out to be a damp squib for Blasters fans, who had been spoiled by Jhingan and Vineeth’s retention.
However, goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury looks an exciting prospect for the team. We will have to see whether the Rs. 3.48 crore splashed by the club bears fruits.
The 2015 champions were left frustrated after they entered the draft late. Their plans to resign most of their former players went down the drain, with only Dhanachandra Singh and Thoi Singh signed for big money.
Mohammed Rafi was signed late on, but the Rs 3.57 crores that Chennaiyin spent looks low going by the club’s lofty standing. Among their other signings, midfielder Bikramjit Singh looks to impress.
The clubs’ position is unclear at the moment, and we will have to wait and see how their interests align after the unexpected twist in the tale.
Tata Jamshedpur FC
The new entry looks like they really want to become the first team to win the trophy in their debut year- spending a staggering amount of Rs.4.73 crores, the highest in this draft.
They have done an impressive job of building a sqaud of 15 players from scratch, adding to their ranks Anas Edathodika, former Indian no. 1 Subrata Pal, Mehtab Hossain, Robin Gurung, Bikash Jairu and Souvik Chakraborty.
Steve Coppell could be said to have got a squad brimming with talent and the new comers are surely not pushovers.