5 ISL Transfers You Might Have Missed Last Week

Scottish forward Connor Shields is set to join Chennaiyin ahead of the 2023 Durand Cup

With the clouds over the Asian Games squad and the scheduling ahead of the 2024 AFC Asian Cup, the Indian Super League clubs have been busier than ever preparing their squad ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant decided to release the highly-rated Carl McHugh as the arrivals of Anirudh Thapa and Sahal Abdul Samad have solidified the midfield which already consists of Glan Martins, Deepak Tangri, and Puitea.

On the other hand, clubs like NorthEast United, Jamshedpur, and Chennaiyin stepped up their pursuit of new players as the trio have entered the summer transfer market a bit late and have a deadline of 31st August to close their business and complete the squad for the upcoming ISL season.

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

#5 Scottish forward Connor Shields joins Chennaiyin

Two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin hasn’t fared well in recent seasons of the league since featuring in the final of the 2020 edition of the tournament. After signing Jordan Murray, the Marina Machans have secured the signing of former Motherwell forward Connor Shields who will be learning the ropes of playing in the ISL in the upcoming ISL season.

After starting his career with a semi-professional team in Scotland, Shields attracted interest from Sunderland and joined the Tyneside-based club ahead of the 2018-19 season. At the end of the season, Shields was released by the club and made his mark in the second tier of Scottish football representing Queen of the South.

Since then, the young forward has made 44 appearances for Motherwell and spent the 2022-23 season with Queen’s Park where he scored 5 goals and provided a couple of assists as well in 14 league appearances. Shields won the Player of the Month award for February and helped his side reach the Premiership playoffs.

While putting pen to paper on a one-year deal, Shields was delighted to join Owen Coyle at Chennaiyin.

The Scottish forward said,

“I am delighted to have joined Chennaiyin FC. I can’t wait to move to India and get started with this exciting new challenge ahead.”

The forward has joined up with the team in Kolkata as Chennaiyin prepares for the 2023 Durand Cup with the first match for the team scheduled on 10th August.

#4 Bengaluru lands former Kerala Blasters skipper Jessel Carneiro

After securing the signings of Curtis Main, Ryan Williams, and the former Hyderabad duo of Halicharan Narzary and Rohit Danu, the Blues secured the signing of left-back Jessel Carneiro.

Jessel talked about what the club has already achieved and what the Blues are looking to achieve over the coming years as he put pen to paper on a two-year contract.

The defender said, “I was really happy to learn about BFC’s interest, as this is one of the top clubs in India. From my initial conversations, I felt a great sense of belonging to the club and this is something that really drew me towards signing.”

He continued,

“The stars on top of the club badge say everything about what this club stands for and wants to achieve, and I’m looking forward to putting all my experience and hard work out on the pitch to help this club achieve its targets.”

The Goan defender was part of the Dempo squad for several years before joining Kerala Blasters ahead of the 2019-20 ISL season.

The club’s director of football, Darren Caldeira welcomed the former Kerala Blasters skipper to the club and talked about his abilities and experience in the league.

Caldeira said,

“Jessel is an experienced player who will help us add much-needed depth to our squad. Jessel, as a leader in his previous team, will be valuable assets to our roster as we look to compete on all fronts this season. On behalf of the club, I want to welcome him to our family, and wish him luck during his time here.”

#3 Odisha signs Jerry Lalrinzuala

Jerry Lalrinzuala will be a vital cog of the Sergio Lobera project at Odisha

Former Chennaiyin and East Bengal left-back Jerry Lalrinzuala has signed for Odisha on a one-year deal with an option for another year.

Since Sergio Lobera’s appointment, the Juggernauts have recruited with immense ambition bringing in the likes of Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh, Roy Krishna, Lenny Rodrigues, and Amey Ranwade (on loan).

The left-back’s addition adds another dimension to the club’s squad and Lobera would now be looking forward to integrating the 25-year old into the first team’s pre-season Thailand tour while the reserves take part in the 2023 Durand Cup.

The defender said,

“Odisha FC is a club with great ambition, and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of it. Having known many of the players for years, I am eagerly looking forward to joining them soon and embarking on this exciting new challenge.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lalrinzuala was part of the AIFF Elite Academy before signing for Chennaiyin. Since then, the left-back made 94 ISL appearances for the Marina Machans scoring 1 goal and 7 assists with three of those assists coming in the 2020 ISL Playoffs where Chennaiyin lost to erstwhile ATK in the final. In the 2021-22 season, Jerry was part of the East Bengal squad and provided a solitary assist in 19 league appearances.

New head coach Lobera welcomed their latest recruit and was delighted about welcoming the left-sided defender to the club.

The Spaniard said,

“Jerry is a very experienced player in a very important position in our system. I am happy with his signing and welcome him to the club. I am sure that we will continue to grow and achieve success together.”

#2 Jamshedpur signs Japanese midfielder Rei Tachikawa

Since winning the League Winners’ Shield in the 2021-22 season, Jamshedpur’s squad has disintegrated with their best players and the head coach leaving for new pastures. 

Ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season, the Men of Steel are assembling a new squad of players, with most of the overseas players never seen before in the ISL. After landing Alen Stevanovic, Imran Khan, and Provat Lakra, Jamshedpur convinced Japanese midfielder Rei Tachikawa to come to India and experience the ISL.

Tachikawa talked about the club’s winning culture and the culture of the country being the two primary reasons to convince him to pen to paper on a one-year deal.

The 25-year old said,

“I’m so excited to finally come to Jamshedpur FC. The club has proved its worth on a national stage by winning trophies and entertaining fans, and I’m very happy to finally be here. The culture of India and Jharkhand is unique and special and playing football here is a challenge that I welcome with open arms. I’m sure that I can help the team win even more this season.”

After representing Portuguese clubs Perafita and Felgueiras 1932 early in his career, Tachikawa sought a move to Malta Premier League to increase his minutes on the pitch. At Santa Lucia, the midfielder made 32 league appearances scoring 9 goals and providing a solitary assist as well. Since then, Tachikawa signed for Sirens and scored 2 goals and provided 4 assists in 31 league appearances.

Jamshedpur head coach Scott Cooper was full of praise for Tachikawa’s goal-scoring abilities as well as his passing and chance-creation capabilities from the midfield.

The Englishman said,

“Rei Tachikawa is a player that people will sit up and take notice of. He is a technical and high-tempo player who can get forward and score goals with both feet as well as his head. His passing game is good, and he is very competitive. He has played in Europe too and I think he will be an excellent signing for us.”

#1 Nestor Albiach joins NorthEast United

Nestor Albiach would be a pivotal figure in NorthEast United’s campaign

Former Sparta Prague and Badalona forward Nestor Albiach has joined NorthEast United ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season.

The new Highlanders’ head coach Juan Pedro Benali has already acquired the services of Brazilian striker Ibson Melo and former Goa winger Redeem Tlang. Nestor can play across the forward line and would help the Highlanders in putting on a serious challenge in the upcoming ISL season.

The 30-year old forward is delighted to take on the Indian adventure and talked up the project at the club.