4 Overseas ISL Transfers You Might Have Missed Last Week
Most of the Indian national team players and regulars in the ISL have found new homes or extended their existing contracts ahead of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season. Last week in Indian football was headlined by signings of overseas players, some with a huge pedigree and proven records in the league while we saw some new names join the ISL clubs as well.
Jamshedpur was one of the most active clubs in the transfer market last week after appointing former Philippines head coach Scott Cooper as the new head coach of the club. The 2020-21 ISL League Winners signed former NorthEast United midfielder Imran Khan along with securing the signature of two overseas players in the past week.
In terms of Indian players’ movement, Kerala Blasters released 22-year old central midfielder Ayush Adhikari who made 25 appearances for the club in his three-year stay in the southernmost state of the country while Odisha retained the services of Isak Ralte who enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Juggernauts making 19 appearances across all competitions in the 2022-23 season.
Let’s check out the top four overseas signings made by the ISL clubs in the last week:
#4 Jamshedpur signs former Inter midfielder Alen Stevanovic
After finishing 10th in the 2022-23 ISL season, Jamshedpur is looking for a new start and the change in the coaching department followed by new signings is filling the Red Miners with some hopes ahead of the new season.
The first overseas signing ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season for Jamshedpur is a player who was handed his senior debut by Jose Mourinho. Alen Stevanovic was a part of the Inter squad that won the infamous treble in the 2009-10 season.
Stevanovic is delighted to sign for the Red Miners and discussed the factors that influenced him to move to India for the next chapter of his professional career.
The midfielder said,
“It’s an honour to be a part of Jamshedpur FC. I have heard a lot about the club and its fans and I’m excited to finally come to the city and play.”
The Serbian continued,
“The club were the previous ISL Shield Winner, and I genuinely believe that with the support from fans and the right attitude and approach, we will be able to get back to the top once again. I’m looking forward to working with the coaching staff and with my experience and the team’s overall quality, I’m sure we can get the club back to where it belongs.”
After Inter, Stevanovic was part of clubs like Torino, Palermo, Toronto, and Spezia before signing for Serbian club Partizan Belgrade and ended up making 47 appearances for the club winning the Serbian Super Liga and the Serbian Cup (twice).
New head coach Scott Cooper praised their latest acquisition and is glad that the Red Miners were able to defeat other clubs to the signature of the 32-year old midfielder.
“Alen is a phenomenal signing for Jamshedpur FC,”said our Head Coach, Scott Cooper.
He was wanted by clubs across Europe and Asia and at only 32 years of age this is an incredible signing for us which came down to our close relationship with Serbia of both our Assistant Coach and me.
Cooper continued, Alen will bring a massive amount of quality and experience to our team. While he has such a prestigious background, he is also a very humble person and a top professional. We are delighted that Alen chose Jamshedpur as his first Asian club, and our fans will really enjoy his qualities and desire to win.
#3 Goa lands former Odisha midfielder Victor Rodriguez
After sorting out the defense, the Gaurs secured the signing of creative midfielder Victor Rodriguez and the Spaniard has penned a one-year contract to play his second season in the ISL.
Goa missed out on the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and would be looking ahead to the new season under new head coach Manolo Marquez who has a proven track record of assembling young and experienced players in the ISL to win trophies.
The Spaniard said,
“I’m excited about what’s in store here at FC Goa. I’ve only heard good things about the club and the structure that they follow, and I’m looking to continue enjoying playing football in a nice atmosphere.”
He continued, I can’t wait to start working with Manolo Marquez, our coach. We’ve worked together before, and I know all about his contributions to football in India and Spain. I hope I can return that trust that he has given me.”
After having a stop-start first season in the ISL where he provided an assist and scored a solitary goal in 415 minutes of league action, Rodriguez burst into his dangerous self during the 2023 Super Cup where the midfielder helped Odisha lift the trophy after providing two assists and two goals in five appearances.
The club’s director of football, Ravi Puskur welcomed the midfielder to the club and talked about his abilities and experience in foreign leagues.
“We’re very pleased to get Victor on board. He’s a player who comes with some big game experience and quality. He has played at the highest level in Spain for a long time, before moving to the MLS. He has picked up silverware throughout the course of his career and it was the case last year too, where he was outstanding in the Super Cup.”
“His creative spark, ability to unlock defences and overall play between the lines will be a huge asset to us and we look forward to him doing all that in the orange of FC Goa.”
#2 Curtis Main puts pen to paper at Bengaluru
Bengaluru has secured the signing of English striker Curtis Main to replace the outgoing Roy Krishna. The presence of the 31-year old striker would ensure that the goalscoring burden is shared between the quartet of skipper Sunil Chhetri, Sivasakhti Narayanan, and Javi Hernandez with Rohit Danu and Halicharan Narzary also expected to contribute from the wings.
Main was delighted to put pen to paper for a one-year deal in his first season in the ISL and talked about playing in front of the passionate fans at the Kantaveera Stadium.
“I’m very excited and honoured to be part of such a great club. I had a few conversations with the manager and I really liked how they went. He has a great reputation and has thus far done an excellent job at the club and hopefully, I can come in and build on the success. I’m looking forward to joining the team, and getting started in front of the passionate fans that I’ve heard so much about.”
After starting his career with League Two club Darlington at the young age of 15, Main earned a reputation for coming up with crucial goals and had trials with Fulham and Bury before Middlesborough where he got the experience of playing in the EFL Championship before moving on to have short spells with Shrewsbury Town, Doncaster Rovers, and Portsmouth.
After helping Portsmouth gain promotion to League One, Main signed Motherwell, Aberdeen, and then St. Mirren scoring 21 goals and providing 12 assists in 133 Scottish Premiership appearances.
The Blues’ head coach Simon Grayson was full of praise for his new striker and discussed his desire of moving to India.
“We’re delighted to sign Curtis, who is a player with a lot of experience in England and Scotland. He did very well last year for St Mirren and is a whole-hearted striker who works extremely hard for his team, has good hold-up play and will be a valuable asset. He was desperate to come to India, despite having the opportunity to sign longer contracts in the UK as he wanted a new challenge. Bengaluru, as a city and a football club, really suited him and I’m sure he’ll contribute a lot of goals and assists while he’s here.”
#1 Roy Krishna switches allegiance to Odisha
The reigning Super Cup champions have been investing heavily in their squad as the renewals of Diego Mauricio and Amrinder Singh were followed by the signings of Mourtada Fall and Ahmed Jahouh.
New head coach Sergio Lobera is known for his brand of attacking football and the signing of former ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru striker Roy Krishna fits the pedigree of the club.
Krishna is currently the fourth-highest goalscorer in ISL history with 48 goals in 82 matches helping the erstwhile ATK to win the 2019-20 ISL title in his maiden season in India. Since then, the ISL trophy has eluded the Fijian but the marksman won the 2022 Durand Cup with Bengaluru and would be hoping to add more trophies to his cabinet with the Juggernauts.
While putting pen to paper on a one-year deal, Krishna promised the fans that he will be giving it his all to create a new legacy at the club.
The Fiian said,
“Joining Odisha FC is not just about me but it’s about being a part of something bigger. You can feel the club’s thirst to win titles and grow so I am excited to be a part of it and contribute to its ongoing success. To the fans, who have pushed the club forward, I just want to say that together, we’ll create a legacy worth celebrating and I know that you will continue to inspire the team to victory with your dedication.”
After playing for several high-profile coaches, the Fijian striker is looking forward to working under Sergio Lobera who has topped the league stage with Goa and Mumbai City in the ISL previously.
“Coach Sergio Lobera is someone I’ve long admired because he has proven himself by winning titles in Hero ISL. I missed out on an opportunity to be part of his team last year so I’m eagerly awaiting to work alongside him and the exceptional team he has put together.”
Krishna is known for his spell with Wellington Pheonix where he scored 51 goals and provided 26 assists in 123 appearances for the club and has 32 goals in 48 appearances for his country as well.
Sergio Lobera was full of praise for Odisha’s latest recruit and discussed a potentially deadly partnership between Mauricio and Krishna in the upcoming season.The head coach said,
“I feel very lucky to have in my squad what I consider to be the two best strikers in the ISL. Roy is going to help us a lot, he is a player that I have always liked and admired. I have suffered playing against him, now for me it is really good to have him in my team.”