Indian Football Transfer News: ATK sign Jobby Justin; extend contracts of key foreigners
ATK today announced that they have signed East Bengal forward Jobby Justin on a three-year deal that will commence in June 2019.
The ISL's Kolkata franchise also announced that they have tied down three key foreigners to staying with the club for at least another year - with captain Manuel Lanzarote, midfielder Edu Garcia, and defender John Johnson also committing their near futures to the club.
The Sanjiv Goenka-owned franchise have had a terrible last couple of seasons, after being champions of the ISL twice in the first three seasons. They finished 9th in 2017-18 before finishing 6th in 2018-19.
The addition of Justin to their frontline is something they desperately needed, given their awful numbers in front of goal in the season just gone by. They scored only 18 goals, which was the joint-second lowest in the division. Only rock-bottom Chennaiyin FC scored less than the Kolkata side throughout the season.
Justin will surely be of immense help in that regard, especially since he's coming off his most productive season in senior football. He scored 9 goals in 17 I-League appearances for East Bengal - the most by an Indian in the division. In fact, only Pedro Manzi and Willis Plaza, who had 21 goals each, managed to find the back of the net more often than Justin did.
Justin, currently serving a ban for indiscipline during an I-League clash against Aizawl FC will join the two-time ISL champions in time for pre-season ahead of the 2019-20 season.
The arrival of Spaniard Garcia from Chinese side Zhejiang Greentown in January, acted as some sort of catalyst for ATK's performances, as they were much more of a significant goalscoring threat in his presence.
Garcia's combination with Lanzarote worked a treat in the games that they played together, as was evident from one moment in their recent Super Cup clash with Real Kashmir.
Garcia's corner went straight to Lanza at the edge of the box, and the ATK captain caressed his volley past a hapless Bilal Khan - just a glimpse of the vision and quality that both possess.
Johnson, meanwhile, is set to enter his seventh season in Indian Football, after having spent five years with Bengaluru FC. If ATK fail to win the Super Cup, it would the Englishman's first trophyless season since his move to India, and he'll be keen to have a better ISL season next term.