ISL 2017: FC Pune City confirm signing of Croatian defender Damir Grgic
What's the story?
FC Pune City have announced their sixth foreign signing in the form of Croatian defender Damir Grgic. The Stallions have been very active in the transfer market all August and they have now landed their fifth signing this month. Grgic last played at Slovenian club Rudar Velenje.
A statement on the club's official Twitter confirmed the signing: "Strong, fit and talented. The Croatian giant #DamirGrgic. Welcome to FC Pune City!"
In case you didn't know...
Born in Gladbeck, Germany, Grgic is a centre-back by trade, described by FC Pune City as a no-nonsense defender. He joins Jonatan Lucca, Rafael Lopez, Marcelinho, Marcos Tebar and Emiliano Alfaro as the new foreign signings for the 2017-18 ISL at Pune City.
The heart of the matter
Stallions head coach Antonio Lopez Habas failed to reach the playoffs for the first time in ISL history last season after Pune City finished sixth in the league phase. However, the Spanish coach is driven by success and has effected multiple big transfers this summer to put the Stallions in a strong position to contend for the title.
To that end, Habas has recruited very position specifically this summer. He sorted out the club's goal scoring problems with the signings of Marcelinho and Alfaro, while the signings of Tebar and Lucca have seemingly put to rest any concerns in midfield. Alongside Lopez, Grgic is another defensive recruitment for the Balewadi Stadium-based club.
Having invested in youth during the ISL domestic draft, Pune City have gone about completing their international signings with some swagger. While Marcelinho and Lucca come with ready-made ISL pedigree, the likes of Grgic will have some settling in to do. Having played in Austria, Germany and Slovenia, Grgic is not unfamiliar to newer places and India will be another stop in his career.
The 2017-18 ISL season kicks off on 17th November and clubs are actively on the lookout for players to fill their respective 25-man squads. FC Pune City have covered all bases by the look of things, but it remains to be seen how well Habas knits together a unit to challenge for the title.
Grgic could possibly face a culture shock in Indian football. The 25-year-old has played in Europe throughout his career, and the onus will be on Habas to integrate the burly defender into the team to make them title contenders. Pune City have the players on paper to pull off a title challenge, but the thing that matters happens on the pitch.