I-League 2017: Former ATK striker Fikru Teferra in talks with East Bengal 

Fikru scored the first goal in ISL history
Fikru scored the first goal in ISL history
Nived Zenith
Modified 13 Dec 2017

What's the story?

Former ATK striker Fikru Teferra is currently said to be in close talks with I-League giants East Bengal over a potential transfer during the January transfer window.

Fikru played a part in the first two editions of the ISL with ATK and Chennaiyin FC, respectively, but is now currently a free agent and if the reports are to be believed, the striker is keen on a return to India, if sources close to the former ATK and Chennaiyin FC striker are to be believed.

In case you didn't know...

Fikru was an integral part of the ATK side that went on to win the inaugural edition of the ISL in 2014 and even scored the first ever goal in the history of the competition. The Ethiopian managed to score 5 goals in 12 appearances for the club and was his side's leading scorer in the tournament.

However, his move to Chennaiyin FC in the following season did not work out very well and Fikru was forced to play second fiddle to the likes of Stiven Mendoza and Jeje Lalpekhlua, who were clearly above him on the pecking order.

The 31-year-old managed just a single goal throughout the season and was released by Chennaiyin FC at the end of their title-winning campaign.

Heart of the matter

The existing rules in the I-League allow only 6 foreigners in every squad (4+2 Asians) and East Bengal have already filled their quota of overseas players. However, due to the club's lacklustre performances towards the start of the season, rumours have emerged that the Red and Golds are looking to drop some of the existing foreign players from their squad.

The club management is reportedly willing to offload Willis Plaza due to his poor performances for the club this season, and this decision could make some much-needed room for Fikru.

What next?

While East Bengal have bounced back from their early-season blues with a 5-1 victory over Shillong Lajong, it remains to be seen whether their problems up front persist.

Author's take

A player of Fikru's ability can be a huge asset to East Bengal's aspirations this season and with already a bit of ground to make up in the title race, this signing could prove vital to the Red and Golds, if they manage to pull it off somehow.

Published 13 Dec 2017
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