ISL 2017: Blow to Kerala Blasters as club miss out on former Barcelona man Josu
What's the story?
Kerala Blasters have been handed a big blow in their preparations for the upcoming Indian Super League campaign as one of their former stars, Josu Currais, will not be playing for the club next season.
The Spaniard, who started out at Barcelona, signed a new deal with his current club Cincinnati FC that will take him through the 2018 USL season, putting an end to any speculation linking him with a return to Kerala Blasters.
A statement on FC Cincinnati's official website read: "FC Cincinnati has signed Josu to an additional year, securing the defender through the 2018 season."
In case you didn't know...
Kerala Blasters are one of the most successful ISL clubs having made the final twice, albeit losing on both occasions. Josu, a product of Barcelona's famous La Masia academy, played with the Yellows for two consecutive seasons in 2015 and 2016, but his new deal now means he will not return for another ISL campaign this year.
The heart of the matter
Kerala Blasters have struggled to sign foreign players this summer. The Kochi-based outfit have brought in ISL all-timer Iain Hume but the Canadian aside, there have been no new additions. Irish striker Robbie Keane held talks with the club earlier in the summer before completing his move to champions ATK yesterday, which could be counted as a big miss for the Blasters.
Likewise, Josu also hinted at a reunion with his former club in time for ISL-4, but his inking the new deal has come as another miss for Kerala Blasters. Last season's runners-up have roped in Rene Meulensteen as their head coach, but the Dutchman is yet to see intent from the club in terms of transfers.
During the domestic draft last month, the Blasters were underwhelming, signing a number of young players on the cheap.
Kerala Blasters finished as the runners-up in ISL-3, but they have an interesting history with second place finishes. The Yellows lost the final in 2014 and then went on the finish rock bottom in 2015. Should the trend continue, the future looks bleak for Kerala Blasters in the 2017-18 season.
The new season kicks off on 17th November. With two more teams being added to the league, the competition will intensify next season. Kerala Blasters have to get their act together quickly otherwise risk being left behind.
Kerala Blasters' appointment of Thangboi Singto as the assistant coach suggested that the club were looking to the future. However, the ISL has become increasingly elite, leading to it following a result based model where patience isn't really a virtue. Kerala Blasters have been lethargic in the transfer market so far, and they can't afford that, especially in a transitional ISL season.
Having been one of the more popular Blasters players, Josu will be missed by the club's fans next season. Quite what the impact of Josu's non-arrival is on the team remains to be seen though.