ISL 2017: Kerala Blasters announce Serbian defender signing
What's the story?
Kerala Blasters have announced their second foreign signing in two days with the acquisition of Nemanja Lakic-Pesic. The 25-year-old Serbian defender becomes the Blasters' third overseas arrival after Iain Hume and Courage Pekuson.
A tweet posted by the club's official Twitter handle read: "Nemanja woah-oh, Nemanja woah-oh. He comes from Serbia! Welcome Kerala's own Serbinator!"
In case you didn't know...
Yesterday, the two-time Indian Super League finalists announced the capture of Ghanaian attacker Pekuson and Lakic-Pesic has quickly followed him to the Kochi-outfit.
With this signing, ISL clubs have now roped in a combined 32 players out of which Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City have brought in the most number of players so far with six apiece.
The heart of the matter
Standing at 1.94 metres, Lakic-Pesic is a towering centre-back and has played at clubs in Serbia and Austria. He last played in the Austrian Erste Liga with SV Kapfenburg and played 34 matches in the 2016-17 season.
Having already signed Indian centre-back Sandesh Jhingan, Blasters head coach Rene Meulensteen was on the lookout for a foreign centre-back to play alongside Jhingan at the back and in Lakic-Pesic, the Men in Yellow seem to have got their man.
It has been a frustrating past few weeks for the Blasters faithful but the club are now getting down to the business of putting together their 25-man squad by completing their foreign signing quota. Pekuson, the 22-year-old attacker, was announced as a Kerala Blasters player yesterday and Lakic-Pesic has joined him in no time.
The 2017-18 ISL season will see ten teams in the mix instead of the usual eight. Having made the final in two of the three ISL seasons so far, Kerala Blasters are widely considered to be one of the title challengers. However, their recruitment policy for ISL-4 had been questioned before they sprang to life with two quickfire signings.
Lakic-Pesic is only the second Serbian to sign on the dotted lines with an ISL club; former ATK striker Dejan Lekic was the first. Although he comes in with far lesser pedigree than the likes of Robbie Keane, Lakic-Pesic fills an important hole in the Blasters' defence. Whether or not he turns out to be an ISL success story like Cedric Hengbart remains to be seen though.