I-League 2018: Champions Minerva Punjab sign Philip N'Joku on board from Finnish club FC Inter
What's the story?
Current I-League champions Minerva Punjab have completed the signing of Nigerian midfielder Philip N'Joku. The 22-year-old last played for FC Inter in Finland.
In case you didn't know...
The Nigerian striker began his professional career in Finland with FC Inter, for whom he played for two years, from 2015 to 2017.
However, in 2015, N'Joku went on to loan at Finnish club AIFK. He didn't make many appearances for AIFK and came back to play for his parent club in the subsequent season. Overall, the midfielder played over fifty-eight games for FC Inter and scored eight goals.
The heart of the matter
Minerva Punjab have seen an exodus of top players after their I-League victory last season. The midfield, which was an integral part of Minerva Punjab's success, however, had been left vacant after East Bengal signed 31-year-old Senegalese Kassim Aidara.
Now, the Chandigarh-based side has signed N'joku, in order to plug the gap in the middle of the park.
Perhaps the biggest departure that Minerva Punjab has to deal with is that of Chencho Gyeltshen. The Bhutanese attacker was the stand-out performer for Minerva last season and was subsequently sold to Bengaluru FC. Chencho has left a huge gap in the Minerva squad, a gap which the club hierarchy will be hoping to fill with some fresh acquisitions.
Following Chencho out of the door were Kiran Chemjong, Sukhdev Singh, Kamalpreet Singh, Bali Gagandeep, Kassim Aidara, Girik Mahesh Khosla, Rakshit Dagar, and Abhishek Ambekar.
Kamalpreet Singh, Gagandeep, Aidara, and Dagar have all signed for Minerva's title rivals East Bengal FC. Meanwhile, Sukhdev Singh and Ambekar have moved on to Mohun Bagan.
Ahead of the 2018/19 I-League season, Minerva are left with a depleted squad. They must now act quickly and plug in the gaps before the start of the new season.
Will the signing of N'Joku help Minerva during their 18/19 I-League campaign? Do let us know in the comments below.