What’s the story?
A two-time Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund, the Serbian centre-back Neven Subotic has expressed an interest in playing in India in the future. The 28-year-old, who currently plays at Koln, on loan from Dortmund, says he is a keen follower of Asian football and doesn’t rule out a move to India in the future.
In an interview with Jersey football magazine, he said: “I have followed Indian football a bit and they’re growing to be the best in Asia. I’ve been offered in the past through our BVB Asian agents. I think at the later stage in my career I would like to play in India. I know Bengaluru FC is one of the good clubs there, but there are complications why I can’t commit my career yet.”
Subotic was one of the pillars of Dortmund’s stunning domestic success under Jurgen Klopp during the 2010–11 and 2011–12 season. The Serbian has, however, tailed off in the past few seasons owing to injuries and a change in management at Dortmund, leading him to leave the club he joined in 2008.
At 28, Subotic is at the peak age for a defender, and should he sign for Bengaluru FC or any other Indian club, it would represent a major coup and a headline moment for Indian football.
The heart of the matter
The transfer window is still some while away, and Subotic is currently playing in the Bundesliga for Koln, who are eighth in the table and fighting for a European spot. In that regard, dropping down to the level of Indian football with Bengaluru FC will be steep for Subotic. He is still one of the best defenders in Germany on his day, hence it seems unlikely he would move to India this early in his career.
Subotic, who holds German, American, Bosnian and Serbian passports, has had a fine career but playing in India will present him with a different kind of challenge, something that cannot be found in European football.
Bengaluru FC have made quite a few good foreign signings in the past. Their penchant for picking foreigners at the heart of their defence might as well make them approach Subotic.
Subotic was among the genuine A-list defenders in world football a few years back. That he is only 28 suggests that a move to India in the immediate future might be a bridge too far. However, his interest and knowledge of Asian and Indian football give an impression that we could see the Serbian some day play for an Indian club.Published 30 Apr 2017, 11:20 IST