India beat Japan and China to top incoming transfers list in Asia
What's the story?
In 2017 India have officially topped the incoming transfer list in the Asian Football Confederation. This puts India ahead of Asian football giants like Japan and China.
According to a report released by FIFA on Tuesday, India had 158 incoming transfers compared to Japan's 152 and China's 143.
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The ISL has been a huge commercial success since its inception. In the third season, the viewership crossed 200 million and ended up at 216 million. The fourth season recorded a viewership of 81 million in just the first three weeks of the league.
The heart of the matter
India enjoyed a striking 32.8% increase in the incoming transfers in the year 2017 as 158 players came to the country to ply their trade.
One of the major reasons which led to this was the addition of two teams to the ISL - Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC.
Equally important was the fact that I-League, which runs parallelly to ISL, relaxed its rules and allowed clubs to register six foreign players in their squads instead of five.
China saw a drop in incoming transfers after restrictions were imposed on the clubs. Compared to 2016, China witnessed 10.1% drop in incoming transfers in 2017.
On the contrary, Thailand (124) and Saudi Arabia (113) have seen a huge increase in transfers at 26.5% and 32.9% respectively.
Here's are the top 5 Asian nations in terms of incoming transfers
India 158 (+32.8%)
Japan 152 (+18.8%)
China PR 143 (-10.1%)
Thailand 124 (+26.5%)
Saudi Arabia 113 (+32.9%)
The Indian clubs have spent $36.3 million in total and are ranked third in terms of club spending behind China and Japan.
India have already seen 11 international signings in the winter transfer window of the ISL. The clubs are quite active in the market and can surpass the number of signings from the last year.
With ISL increasing the number of teams and I-League allowing six foreign players in their squad, more incoming transfers were expected. Despite this notion of expansion, however, topping the incoming transfers list in Asia still comes as a surprise.
It is great to see Indian clubs investing money in their teams, in order to strengthen their squads and increase the competitiveness of the league.