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ISL 2018-19 transfer rumours: FC Pune City target Kerala Blasters' star Anas Edathodika

olive paul
ANALYST
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1.48K   //    09 Jan 2019, 11:54 IST

Can Anas fix Pune City's defensive woes? [Image: ISL]
Can Anas fix Pune City's defensive woes? [Image: ISL]

The transfer window can be both exciting and nerve-racking for supporters of football.

It can mean your favourite team can finally add that missing piece to their squad, but it can also mean losing your star player to your most hated rival.

With Kerala Blasters engulfed in turmoil, speculation has been mounting that star defender Anas Edathodika could be on his way out of the club in the January transfer window, with FC Pune City apparently inquiring about the availability of the player.

If the transfer materializes, it will be a remarkable coup for the Pune-based club, and a bit puzzling at the same time.

The 31-year-old defender arrived at Blasters amid much fanfare in the summer from his stint at Jamshedpur FC. After signing for the club, Anas said, “From the time Kerala Blasters was born, I wanted to play for them. The fans, the crowd, the atmosphere, that feeling inside the stadium, the jeering for the opposition. When I saw those things, I wanted to wear the yellow. Finally, I'm getting the chance."

The idea of him leaving Blasters is as surprising as the timing. Anas’ signing was meant to recreate the central defence partnership in the national team at Blasters. While Sandesh Jhingan has been an ever-present figure in Kerala’s central defence, Anas has been benched for the most part of the current season. He just featured in 5 of the 12 matches for Blasters. To not make use of the defender after signing him in the summer has left fans a little bamboozled.

It's safe to say Blasters supporters won’t exactly take the move well and watch a player like Anas depart would leave them crestfallen. But that’s football.

However, FC Pune City will be licking their lips at the prospect of signing a player of such serious quality.

Pune City’s defensive shortcomings have been brutally exposed this season and the numbers make grim reading. They have conceded 21 goals in 12 games played so far this season - a stat which makes them the second worst team defensively.

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Matts Mills has been mostly decent for Pune this season. Perhaps, if Mills had a quality partner, he wouldn’t be so exposed. Both Gurtej Singh and Martin Diaz have appeared uncertain, tentative - mostly unconvincing as Mills’ partner in the centre.

Building a robust defensive structure should be Phil Brown’s key focus and Anas Edathodika could be an excellent choice to address the problems in the heart of their defence.

 Anas has all virtues of an outstanding central defender- fortitude, mental toughness, willingness to learn, stamina and bravery. He does not have pace, but acute tactical awareness, intelligence, and organization make him a truly formidable opponent.

All in all, this is an absolute no-brainer for Pune City, and they must pull out all the stops to make sure they are at the front of the queue to sign the second-best defender in Indian football.

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