5 ISL Transfers You Might Have Missed Last Week

Rafael Crivellaro is set for a second spell with Chennaiyin

The 2023 Durand Cup is on song as the group stage is progressing with two matches being played every day between the 24 participating teams including the 12 Indian Super League clubs. 

Whilst sides like Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Goa, Chennaiyin, and NorthEast United got off to great starts ahead of the 2023-24 season, some clubs like East Bengal, Punjab, and Hyderabad faltered at the first step signifying a need for more signings.

With the start of the ISL season and the AFC competitions getting closer, the clubs have been busy in the transfer market for yet another week. Let’s check out the top five signings made by the ISL clubs in the last week:

#5 East Bengal signs Jose Pardo

The Red and Golds made two more signings in the past week with Valencia and Villareal youth academy product Jose Pardo standing out amongst the two overseas signings.

After starting his career with the Villareal C team, Pardo had a successful career featuring for sides like Valencia B, Hercules, and Real Oviedo making 74 appearances in La Liga2.

After spending the entirety of his career in Spain, Pardo is naturally excited to get a taste of Indian football and hopes to see the love of the fans in the upcoming ISL season.

The central defender said,

“I am very excited to begin my journey in Indian football with a historic club like East Bengal. I hope to return all the love and energy that our passionate fans will shower on us in each game. An incredible year awaits us.”

After handing the No.4 jersey to the Spaniard, Carles Cuadrat talked about the central defenders that the club has recruited for the important season ahead.

He said,

“In Elsey and Pardo, we have two experienced central defenders who will be a great asset to help us to be consistent in our defence. A good defence is essential to a team’s success, and with both in our fold, we feel that our defensive line will be a solid one.”

#4 Puitea switches allegiance to Odisha

Former Kerala Blasters midfielder Puitea has been snapped up by Odisha as new head coach Sergio Lobera has recruited smartly throughout the summer transfer window and can now field a starting XI envied by most clubs in the country.

The Juggernauts parted with a club-record fee as Mohun Bagan Super Giant had to be convinced to part ways with the talented central midfielder.

After making his ISL debut with NorthEast United, Puitea was snapped up by Kerala Blasters ahead of the 2020-21 ISL season but only featured for 350+ minutes scoring his maiden ISL goal. The 2021-22 ISL season was a breakthrough for Puitea who enjoyed more than 1400 minutes on the pitch providing three assists and screening the defense alongside Jeakson Singh.

Since then, the 25-year old midfielder has been used sparingly both by the Blasters and the Kolkata-based club as well last season. After penning a three-year deal with the club, Puitea was excited for the season ahead under head coach Lobera.

The midfielder said,

“The club is going through an exciting phase with a new coach, a set of experienced faces in the club who have proven themselves in the ISL and the AFC Cup is also lined up. When the opportunity came, I knew that Odisha was the right place for me. The club is building an ambitious project, and I am delighted to be a part of it.”

He continued,

“I had a chance to speak with coach Lobera and it was very evident the kind of philosophy he wants to implement in the team and what his vision is. I am looking forward to the first session already.”

New head coach Lobera welcomed their latest recruit and talked about Puitea being a perfect signing for the club.

The Spaniard said,

“Puitea is a great signing for us. His profile fits perfectly into my idea of the game. I am sure that he will bring us many things to help us achieve success”

#3 Petar Siliskovic puts pen to paper at Jamshedpur

Petar Siliskovic celebrates a goal for former side Chennaiyin

Former Chennaiyin striker Petar Siliskovic will join the long list of players to represent both Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur after joining the latter in the past week.

The striker will be donning the No.9 jersey at the club after signing a one-year contract with the Men of Steel.

The striker said,

“It’s a great feeling to join Jamshedpur FC. This is a club that I know well because of my time in India already and having played against them last season I know what a good team this is. I’m excited to work with the Head Coach and the staff and help the team once again achieve major glory. The fans in Jamshedpur are known to be some of the loudest and most passionate and I cannot wait to finally play in front of them at the Furnace.”

Having spent all but two seasons of his career in Germany after graduating from the Mainz 05 youth academy, Siliskovic was a proven goalscorer in the lower tiers of league football in the German nation before switching to Chennaiyin ahead of the 2022-23 ISL season.

The Croatian striker made his bow in India last season and immediately impressed everyone with 8 goals and 4 assists in 17 league appearances in his debut ISL season. Apart from that, Siliskovic also scored 3 goals and provided 2 assists in 5 Durand Cup appearances.

Jamshedpur head coach Scott Cooper discussed the importance of having a striker with prior experience of playing in the league and also discussed Siliskovic’s experience of playing for Croatia U21 and several German clubs.

The Englishman said,

“Petar has already got league experience and that’s always very encouraging because it can be very difficult for strikers to settle into a new league. He has done very well last season and got a good tally of goals to his name and is an accomplished striker with experience from Croatia and Germany and I think he will fit into our model of play really well. If he is given chances, he will score goals.”

#2 Mohun Bagan SG signs Hector Yuste

After adding firepower to the attack and guile to the midfield, Mohun Bagan Super Giant has added some serious steel to their defense ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season.

With the departure of Carl McHugh, the Kolkata-based side has done well by adding someone who is comfortable in the heart of defense and also has the ability to play as the central defensive midfielder.

The 35-year old central defender is delighted to take on the Indian adventure and promised the fans and the club to give his best for a successful season ahead.

He said,

“Mohun Bagan Super Giant are one of the historic clubs in India. They were also the champions of the previous season. I have come to know that this club has one of the best popularities and fanbases in the country. Many Spanish coaches and players have gained recognition by playing in India. I am truly excited about donning the Green and Maroon jersey. I’ll strive to give my best for the club to achieve more success.”

Hector Yuste was born in Cartagena and came through the youth academy of his hometown club before representing the first team more than 30 times. In 2011, Granada sealed his signature and loaned him out several times before the defender made his La Liga debut in 2015 for the Andalusian club.

After making 96 appearances for Mallorca between 2015 and 2017, the defender moved to Apollon Limassol and made 124 appearances for the Cypriot club, scoring 13 goals and providing a solitary assist as well. After a brief stint with Omonia where he won the Cypriot Cup twice apart from making his UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League debuts, the defender is now set for a stint with the Mariners.

Head coach Juan Ferrando talked up the experience and leadership abilities of the club’s newest recruit ahead of the upcoming ISL season.

He said,

“Hector (Yuste) is an experienced player who has enjoyed success in the Spanish first division. I have had the chance to watch him play, and I believe that his experience and leadership qualities will greatly benefit Mohun Bagan Super Giant.”

#1 Fan favorite Rafael Crivellaro joins Chennaiyin for a second spell

Ahead of the 2023-24 ISL season, two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin has re-signed fan favorite Rafael Crivellaro to replace the outgoing Abdenasser El Khayati.

After landing the signatures of Connor Shields and Jordan Murray to lead the line for the Marina Machans, Crivellaro has put pen to paper at the club to reprise his role and would be expected to create numerous goals for the attacking duo.

Crivellaro was beaming on getting the chance of wearing the Chennaiyin jersey once again and promised to put everything on the line to win a third title for the club. 

The 34-year old said,

“I’m very proud to put on the blue jersey once again and also excited to be reunited with Owen Coyle. I’m very aware of the challenge that’s ahead of me and I will give my everything to give the fans what they deserve.”

After coming through the Empoli youth academy, the playmaker represented several European clubs including Vitoria Guimares, Wisla Krakow, and Feirense before joining Chennaiyin ahead of the 2019-20 ISL season.

The Brazilian had an instant impact in Indian football as he scored 7 goals and provided 8 assists in 20 league appearances helping the Marina Machans reach the final of the 2019-20 ISL final. 

Injury issues plagued him since then and the Brazilian returned in the latter half of the 2022-23 ISL season and represented Jamshedpur in 10 ISL appearances providing a couple of assists followed by a stellar Super Cup campaign where he scored 2 goals and provided 2 assists in 3 appearances.