East Bengal signs Ivan Gonzalez, Cleiton Silva, Alex Lima, Eliandro, and Charalambos Kyriakou￼
Since Shree Cement’s departure from the East Bengal board, new sponsors in Emami Group have come on board and the club will be starting a new journey with fresh hopes ahead of the new ISL season.
Former Indian national football team head coach Stephen Constantine has taken the reigns of the Reds and the Golds and will be bringing in players that suit his style of football and can compete at the top level of football in the subcontinent.
The club has started by acquiring the services of five overseas players and the sixth (AFC quota player) will soon be signed up with the club before the start of the new ISL season. Constantine’s side has also completed the transfer of veteran goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh after paying his release clause to Odisha and it remains to be seen who will be snapped up to give competition to the 34-year old between the sticks.
13 more domestic players including Aniket Jadhav and Jerry Lalrinzuala have also been signed earlier to kick off their preparations for the 2022 Durand Cup which is set to kick off on August 16.
Also read: Durand Cup 2022: All You Need to Know
It is also rumored that NorthEast United forward V.P. Suhair will be joining the Kolkata-based club in a mega-money move that will signify the club’s intentions after the takeover by Emami Group.
Player Profiles of the 5 Foreigners
Let’s have a look at the five overseas players signed by the club and how they will fit in at Constantine’s East Bengal.
The Spanish central defender spent a couple of years with Goa in their post-Sergio Lobera period where he mainly acted as the rock of the defense and was also responsible for building play from the back alongside skipper Edu Bedia.
With Juan Ferrando leaving the Gaurs for the Mariners, the new head coach decided to revamp the overseas contingent and Gonzalez was snapped up by East Bengal. With 36 ISL appearances and 5 AFC Champions League caps under his name, the Spaniard would be entrusted to lead the young East Bengal defense.
The Cypriot defender has the experience of playing in the UEFA Europa League and has 12 caps for his Cyprus national team as well. If the 32-year old right-back acclimatizes to the climate and the football of India, he would be an asset to Constantine’s team.
The former Jamshedpur midfielder was one of the many crucial parts of the winning machine from last season to leave the club following Owen Coyle’s departure. The box-to-box midfielder is a perfect Constantine player who can contribute to both attack and defense.
Lima had a tough first season with the Red Miners but turned his fortunes around with a brilliant ISL League Winners’ medal where he made an appearance in every match scoring a solitary goal along with setting up four goals.
The former Bengaluru attacker has a similar story to Gonzalez as he spent two seasons with an ISL powerhouse club in their transition period and was axed when the new head coach arrived at the club.
The diminutive Brazilian had a huge impact on the Blues’ attack as his stellar performances allowed the Blues to challenge for the playoff places but their inconsistent defense let them down in both campaigns.
Constantine knows quite well how to use a skilful attacker and the former Bengaluru forward’s record of 16 goals and 9 assists in 37 ISL appearances points to better things with the Red and Golds.
The experienced Brazilian striker will be complimenting speed and skills of Silva with his one-touch finishing abilities and a true striker who can set up other forwards as well. Having played for clubs in Brazil, Malta, Lithuania, and Thailand, the versatile forward will bring a variety of benefits to the table.
If paired with the likes of Suhair and Silva in attack, Eliandro should be a treat to watch if he improves on his miserable goal per minute record.