4 Blockbuster ISL Transfers You Might Have Missed Last Week

Anirudh Thapa pens a five-year deal with his new club

The summer transfer window is a crucial time in club football as it allows various clubs to refurbish their squads ahead of a new league season. Several Indian Super League clubs have been in on the act during the last couple of weeks whilst a few joined in last week to announce their first signings.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant signed two crucial players in the last few days which would certainly boost their chances of retaining the ISL trophy for yet another season. Reigning ISL League Winners’ Shield holders Mumbai City also made a blockbuster signing whilst Goa continued their pursuit of the top echelons of Indian football with another big-name signing.

Let’s check out the top four signings made by the ISL clubs in the last week:

#4 Mohun Bagan SG ropes in Armando Sadiku

Former Levante and Las Palmas striker Armando Sadiku has put pen to paper at Mohun Bagan Super Giant on a two-year deal which will see Juan Ferrnado’s strike force get fiercer ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season.

The Albanian striker said,

“Mohun Bagan have a huge legacy in Indian football and I’m looking forward to playing for them and playing a role in their success. There is good awareness about Indian football in Spain these days. I let the Mohun Bagan SG management team know within a week of their offer that I was willing to come to India.”

After spending the initial years of his career in Albania, Sadiku moved to the Swiss club Locarno, Lugano, and then Zurich followed by moves to bigger European clubs. At Legia Warsaw, the striker made his debut in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stage and then experienced an injury-marred season with La Liga side Levante.

Since then, the forward has been playing in the lower divisions of Spanish football with Malaga and Las Palmas and will now switch to Asian football for the first time in his career. Playing with world-class forwards like Dimitrios Petratos, Hugo Boumous, Liston Colaco, and Manvir Singh would have been one of the top attractions for the 32-year old striker.

Ferrando heaped praise on the club’s latest acquisition highlighting his strong mentality and experience in international football and top European leagues as well.

He said,

“I believe Sadiku can be our differential player. We all know about his pedigree. He is an active international player who has a very strong mentality. Plus, his experience in Spain is massive.”

#3 Sandesh Jhingan finds a new home in Goa

Indian football’s rock Sandesh Jhingan has left Bengaluru after just one league season to play at the Fatorda Stadium in front of the Goa faithful.

Jhingan said,

“I am happy at the chance to represent what is a fantastic football club. FC Goa has, and keeps doing so many things consistently well, so to be able to contribute to that effort is something I am looking forward to.”

He continued,

“I am excited to link up with my new teammates, the coaching staff and learn from all of them. Needless to say, I’m excited about the prospect of playing in front of the fans of this football club, who always seem to bring a fantastic atmosphere with them to the games.”

The former Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan defender still lacks the ISL trophy in his cabinet as the Blues missed out on the triumph against Jhingan’s former side in the 2022-23 ISL final. Penning a three-year deal with Manolo Marquez’s Goa, Jhingan would hope to lead the club to their first-ever ISL title in the upcoming seasons.

Sandesh Jhingan would be expected to marshal the defense at Goa

The club’s director of football, Ravi Puskur welcomed Jhingan back to the state of Goa where he played for Sporting Club de Goa in the I-League back in 2014 and hoped that the defender’s experience would help the club both on and off the pitch.

Puskur said,

“We are delighted to welcome Sandesh Jhingan back to Goa, where he has previously passed through on his footballing journey. Since then, he has grown tremendously and established himself as one of the country’s top players in his position. 

He continued, He brings a wealth of qualities not only on the field but also in the dressing room. Our search for players with a strong mentality and the ability to handle pressure led us to Sandesh. He is well-versed in navigating challenging situations, making him an invaluable asset.”

Mr. Ravi concluded,

“With his arrival, we aim to build a solid defensive unit, which forms the foundation of any successful team. We are excited about the impact Sandesh will make, both on and off the pitch. His experience, expertise, and leadership will contribute significantly to our collective growth and success. As FC Goa moves forward with renewed determination, we eagerly anticipate the positive influence Sandesh will have”

The Chandigarh-born defender is one of the few players to have 100 ISL appearances under his name and would look to add to that in the upcoming stint with the Gaurs where he will be joined by newcomers Udanta Singh, Rowlin Borges, and Boris Singh as well. 

#2 Former Chennaiyin skipper Anirudh Thapa joins Mohun Bagan SG

Mohun Bagan SG made their first summer signing in the form of former Chennaiyin midfielder Anirudh Thapa whose creativity and guile in the middle of the park would be an asset for the Mariners.

With Carl McHugh and Glan Martins, Thapa would be a third experienced option for Ferrando to slot in the middle of the park behind the likes of Boumous, Petratos, Colaco, Manvir, and new signing Sadiku. 

The Spaniard is known to experiment with his tactics and formations in the midst of the match and Thapa would certainly aid the head coach to do so with his versatility allowing him to don several roles across the length of the field

After spending seven glorious years with Chennaiyin where he lifted the ISL trophy as well, the 25-year old midfielder has penned a five-year contract with the Mariners.

Thapa said,

“I am extremely delighted to have the opportunity to play for the reigning Hero ISL champions. The green and maroon jersey holds tremendous influence over Indian football. I am eagerly looking forward to wearing this jersey. I am determined to give my best and make the supporters happy.”

Thapa has always been obsessed with the football side of Kolkata and expressed his sentiments about the biggest derby of Indian football. He said,

“Kolkata is the hub of Indian football. My dream of playing in this city will finally be fulfilled. I’ve heard about the derby game ever since I started playing football. Whenever I was in Kolkata, whether it was for the Indian Arrows or national youth level camps in Kalyani, I used to travel to the Yuba Bharati Krirangan to watch the derby match.”

He concluded,

“Everyone used to say that one must be a star to play in the derby game. Now, that dream is about to come true. I still can’t believe that I will get to play in front of thousands and thousands of supporters, who will come with their flags and banners to cheer for me and the team.”

While Mohun Bagan SG has gained a gem, it is a huge loss for Chennaiyin and the Marina Machans would be looking ahead to signing a replacement in the middle of the park.

#1 Mumbai City spends big on Akash Mishra

Akash Mishra would be expected to assist in defense and provide goals as well

The two-time ISL League Winners’ Shield winners Mumbai City has further bolstered their squad with the important signing of full-back Akash Mishra.

The Islanders forked out a huge sum to convince Hyderabad to part with one of their most valuable assets as Mishra contributes in both defense and attack with his darting runs on the left wing. The full-back has penned a five-year deal with the Mumbai-based club keeping him in the Bollywood city till May 2028.

After turning out for Indian Arrows for a couple of seasons, Akash joined Hyderabad and scored 3 goals and provided 4 assists in 63 appearances for the Nizams, winning the ISL trophy in the 2021-22 ISL season.

The youngster said,

“To arrive at a club like Mumbai City FC is a moment of pride for me and my family. The vision and ambition this club has is for everyone to see but more importantly, it gives me the best platform to grow and progress my career. I’ve spoken to coach Des who has shown a lot of faith in me and to be able to play football the way he envisions it, it’s one of the many things that excites me about joining Mumbai City.”

The left-back further talked about playing at the highest level and thanked Hyderabad before moving to a new chapter in his life.

“Much like mine, the club’s aspirations go beyond domestic success, aiming to leave a mark in Asia as well and I am excited to represent Mumbai City FC at the highest possible levels. At just 21, I have a lot to learn, a lot to experience and I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and our fans. I want to thank Hyderabad FC for their support and affording me the opportunity to represent them, and I am excited to begin a new chapter of my life in Mumbai.”

At the tender age of 21, Mishra already has 17 appearances for the Indian national football playing a pivotal role in the recently concluded Intercontinental Cup and has been in the thick of things in the ongoing SAFF Cup as well. Des Buckingham also praised the club’s new recruit highlighting his potential and importance in modern football.

He said,

“Akash possesses a wide range of positive attributes required in the modern game and is an exciting prospect. His signing continues our promise of developing young players and we are pleased he has trusted our club to progress in the next stage of his career. He is a mature young man and we look forward to helping him realise and reach his potential. The Englishman concluded, Akash will provide us with a different approach to playing and is someone who I am looking forward to working with. He will find himself in an environment alongside our other players who push each other daily and I look forward to welcoming him as we continue to build and develop as a group together.”