5 ISL Transfers You Might Have Missed Last Week

Udanta Singh celebrates a goal for former club Bengaluru

Indian football is reaching new heights every day and while the Indian national football team is busy collecting wins and trophies, several Indian Super League clubs are closing in on their desired player incomings for the summer transfer window whilst a few were confirmed last week.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant confirmed the extension of Juan Ferrando’s contract as head coach of the club after bagging the 2022-23 ISL trophy while former head coach Antonio Lopez Habas has been appointed as the technical director of the recently renamed club. Kolkata-based clubs were very busy as East Bengal also confirmed the signing of former Odisha midfielder Saul Crespo strengthening their chances of making it to the ISL playoffs for the first time.

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

#5 Rowllin Borges loaned to Goa by Mumbai City

Goan midfielder Rowllin Borges has been plying his trade at Mumbai City for several seasons and was part of the side that bagged the double of the ISL League Winners’ Shield and the ISL trophy in the 2020-21 season while the central midfielder also won the League WInners’ Shield once again in the 2022-23 ISL season.

The arrival of Apuia and Vinit Rai in the last two seasons saw Borges’ role in the squad limited to a few appearances from the bench accumulating just above 520 minutes in the last couple of injury-marred ISL seasons.

In what is set to be a busy summer transfer window for Goa headlined by the departure of club captain Edu Bedia, the Gaurs would need a reliable central midfielder who can hold the defensive line and start attacks from the base of midfield. Having the tank with 8 goals and 5 assists in the league would certainly boost the Gaurs’ morale ahead of the 2023-24 season after missing out on the playoffs last season.

Borges said,

“I am very happy to be finally back home, it was a dream. I can’t wait to play at the Fatorda and to play for this big club.”

#4 East Bengal completes Nishu Kumar loan move

After appointing Carles Cuadrat as the head coach of the club, East Bengal moved fast and confirmed the loan signing of Nishu Kumar from Kerala Blasters.

With the arrival of former ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru full-back Prabir Das at Kerala Blasters, Nishu Kumar was deemed surplus to requirements for the Kochi-based club.

Head coach Cuadrat has already seen Nishu’s development up close and was a key figure in the rise of Nishu’s stature in Indian football during his reign at Bengaluru and the Spaniard is looking ahead to reunite with the defender at the Reds and the Golds.

He said,

“Nishu is a very talented and hardworking player. He has ample ISL experience under his belt, having won the league in 2019 and reached another final in 2022. It was while playing under me that he got selected for the Indian national team. He is someone who always gives his best effort on the pitch.”

After making a total of 20 appearances in his first two seasons with the Blasters, Nishu made 17 appearances in the 2022-23 ISL season alone playing more minutes in the last season than he played in the previous two combined. 

The full-back is delighted at the move and said,

“It’s a matter of great pride for me to join an iconic institution like East Bengal. This club has a huge fan base, which is always a great motivation for a player to give his best. I am also thrilled to reunite with Coach Carles, who groomed me in my formative years at BFC. We will play a lot of matches in the upcoming season. I will give my best in every match and try to give our fans the joy that they truly deserve.”

#3 Bengaluru ropes in Halicharan Narzary

Narzary with his trademark goal celebration

Halicharan Narzary will be turning out for his sixth club in the ISL as the winger becomes one of many players and coaching staff members to leave Hyderabad and would be joining Bengaluru in the ongoing transfer window. The electric winger has joined the Blues on a three-year contract keeping him at the club till the end of the 2025-26 season.

The 29-year old forward bloomed late as a goalscorer during the three-year stay with the Nizams under Manolo Marquez. He scored 7 goals and provided 6 assists in 37 appearances sandwiching an injury-marred 2021-22 ISL season where he only featured for a total of 29 minutes during the regular league season returning eventually for three substitute appearances in the playoffs including the final where he lifted the coveted ISL trophy.

Narzary said,

“I’m excited to join Bengaluru FC, although I am sure it will be a lot of hard work for me to take my place in the team. My target is to reach as many finals as possible and give everything I can for this badge. I have decided to move to BFC as it’s one of the best clubs in India, in my opinion, and I want to learn as much as I can from this experience.”

With Udanta Singh’s departure from the Blues, the Bengaluru-based club would be hoping that Narzary could act as a key figure on the wings in the upcoming seasons.

Bengaluru head coach Simon Grayson is delighted with the signing and said,

“Halicharan is a hardworking and versatile player with a lot of experience in the ISL and we’re delighted to be able to sign him. He’s been a very important player in a successful period at Hyderabad FC over the last few years and adds competition for places within our team. With the amount of quality that he brings into our squad, we see him as a valuable addition.”

The Blues’ Director of Football, Darren Caldeira also talked about Hailcharan’s versatility and qualities as a forward and wished him good luck ahead of the 2023 Durand Cup campaign. 

He said,

“We’re really glad to be able to bring on board a player of Halicharan’s qualities because we believe he can add a lot of impetus to our attack. He is someone who can play in several positions, has many years of experience at the top level, and gives us options as we look to build on a strong campaign. I’m wishing him the best as he begins a new chapter with us.”

#2 Goa signs Udanta Singh

Goa has signed pacey forward Udanta Singh as the Gaurs try to complete the rebuild of the squad under new head coach Manolo Marquez.

The Gaurs have been lacking a pacey Indian forward on the wings and Udanta will fill that hole straightaway for the Goa-based club. Udanta has 22 goals and 22 assists for Bengaluru in 201 appearances spread over several competitions like the ISL, the AFC Cup, Super Cup, the I-League, Federation Cup, and the Durand Cup.

The 29-year old has penned a multi-year deal with the Gaurs and also talked about how he has always admired the club’s style of play.

The forward said,

“I am so happy to join this family and can’t wait to play in Fatorda and experience the Uzzo. I’m extremely excited and honored to become a part of FC Goa. I have always admired the way Goa plays. It always took that bit extra to get over the line whenever we were playing Goa.”

The experienced forward further talked about how the deal was in place for some time and the player pledged to win a few trophies in the upcoming footballing season.

“There has been some mutual interest between us for over a year now to work together, and I am very happy that the deal has finally gone through. I believe I have a lot to give, and my dreams are to win many more trophies. I hope that starts here. See you all soon.”

#1 Javi Siviero joins East Bengal

Spanish forward Javi Siviero signs for East Bengal

Cuadrat and East Bengal are trying to script history by making it to the ISL playoffs for the first time in the club’s history after disappointing finishes in the last three seasons for the Kolkata-based club. Several experienced Indian defenders in Harmanjot Khabra, Nishu, and Mandar Rao Dessai have been roped in ahead of a crucial season.

Goals are a necessity for every top team and the Reds and the Golds have ensured they score many goals this season by securing the signing of former Hyderabad forward Javi Siviero on a one-year deal.

After turning out for a few sides in Spain, Siviero joined Hyderabad and scored 16 goals and provided a couple of assists in 54 appearances for the Nizams with several of those coming from the bench. Now, the Spaniard is looking forward to using his experience of winning the ISL with the centenary club.

The youngster said,

“It’s an honour for me to join this century-old club. India is a great country and I am thrilled to continue my journey in the ISL. I really admire the vision of Coach Carles and the investors for taking this club forward. I’ll try to repose the management’s faith by scoring plenty of goals for the Red & Gold brigade. I’ve seen how passionate the East Bengal fans are and I can’t wait to see them fill the Salt Lake Stadium. Joy East Bengal!”

Cuadrat also praised their latest recruit’s abilities in front of goal and the head coach feels even more confident ahead of the new season with the striker’s signing secured.He said,

“Siverio has been a fine goal-getter ever since he arrived in India. He has adapted himself to the rigours of the ISL after two years of playing here. I believe he will help to bolster our attack significantly.”