ISL 2017: Diego Forlan, last season's 5-goal hero, linked with Mumbai City return
- The popular Uruguayan could be back in India for a second spell.
Diego Forlan could be set to return to Mumbai City FC's fold for next season's Indian Super League if reports are to be believed. Forlan has been without a club ever since he left Mumbai City at the end of ISL-3, but other teams are also circling around the former World Cup Golden Ball winner.
Norwegian top-flight club Sandefjord have been heavily linked with the 38-year-old in the recent past, with the club's head scout Terje Liverod hinting in no uncertain terms that Forlan is a target.
He was quoted as saying by the Sun earlier this month: "We are working on a deal to get Forlan to Sandefjord. The opportunity to sign him is there, but we are talking about a lot of money, so we have to be realistic.”
While Sandefjord are among the less wealthy clubs in Norway - they have the lowest valued squad in the Norwegian Eliteserien this season - finances are not a concern for Mumbai City. The Blue Army could offer as much as $600,000 to the Uruguayan in a three-year deal, an amount unlikely to be gazumped by Sandefjord.
Mumbai City have already retained two of their star players from last season in Lucian Goian and Gerson Vieira and their attempts to re-sign another former favourite in Forlan suggest that head coach Alexandre Guimaraes is keen to have familiar faces for his second ISL campaign.
Last season, the Mumbai outfit had an impressive outing finishing first in regular league play before going down to eventual champions ATK in the semi-finals. Having enjoyed a solid year in 2016, Guimaraes and his club have looked to bring back the players that were vital cogs in the machine that had the best defence. Apart from Goian and Gerson among ex-Mumbai City players, the Blue Army have also managed to retain the services of goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, midfielder Sehnaj Singh and defender Aiborlang Khonjee, whom the club signed in the domestic draft.
Should Forlan reunite with his former teammates, expect Mumbai City to mount another title challenge in the forthcoming season. However, things will hardly be as straightforward this time around as there will be ten teams instead of eight vying for glory.
Having already lost a significant portion of his team's attacking firepower after Sunil Chhetri's retention by Bengaluru FC, Guimaraes will hope that Forlan's signing could go some way in solving the striker problem at the club. Currently, former Mohun Bagan man Balwant Singh - not a prolific goalscorer - is the only striker in the Mumbai City squad.