Indian Football Transfers: ATK to sign Javi Hernandez from Poland
ISL club ATK is all set to sign Spanish attacking midfielder Francisco Javier "Javi" Hernandez from Polish top division side KS Cracovia, according to a report from Migrantes del Balon. The report further adds that ATK paid a hefty transfer fee to acquire his services.
If the report is believed to be true, ATK will become the first ISL side to complete their foreign quota of seven signings as they have also acquired the services of Roy Krishna, David Williams, Carl McHugh, and John Johnson. Javi will become the third Spaniard to play under the tutelage of Antonio Lopez Habas this season, following the footsteps of Edu Garcia and Manuel Lanzarote.
This will be the 30-year-old's first stint in Asia after having played in Azerbaijan, Romania, and Sweden besides Poland and his native country Spain. Javi's most notable achievement is playing in the second round of UEFA Europa League Qualifiers in 2017 for his Azerbaijani club Gabala.
Coming through the youth setup of Real Madrid, Javi also made four international appearances for Spain's U-19 team, wherein he scored one goal for them. He even went on to play for Real Madrid' reserves team in the Spanish third division.
While Javi's inclusion will definitely bolster the squad, it would mean ATK will have four foreign attacking midfielders in their ranks for the upcoming season of ISL. Although Carl McHugh can play in the defensive midfield position, it would result in John Johnson being the lone foreigner in the back.
The inclusion of another foreign attacking midfielder can result in lesser playing time for Indian players like Jobby Justin, Balwant Singh, Jayesh Rane, Hitesh Sharma, and Komal Thatal in ISL.
In the previous season under Steve Coppell, ATK took a defense-first approach but their plans of finishing inside the top four got thwarted. It seems like Antonio Lopez Habas has identified the key weakness of the club and would do anything to rectify it.
The stakes in this season of ISL will be higher as AIFF has requested AFC to grant the champions the AFC Champions League Qualifier spot. All the clubs are going full out in the transfer window and ATK seems to show no mercy on them.