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ISL 2017: North East United FC set to sign ex-Benfica star Helio Pinto as Adilson's replacement

Sumedh Pande
2.91K   //    27 Dec 2017, 14:43 IST

APOEL FC v AC Omonia - Cypriot First Division
Pinto in action for APOEL Nicosia

What's the story? 

After a recent revelation of Adilson's long-term injury for North East United FC, it was predicted that the Highlanders will delve into the transfer market to sign a replacement for the Brazilian midfielder.

Now, the Guwahati-based club is all set to rope in former Benfica midfielder Helio Pinto as a replacement for Adilson. 

In case you didn't know...

A Benfica academy graduate, Pinto failed to make the cut at his local club. However, he then tried his luck in Spain and Cyprus, having played for the Sevilla reserves before joining Apollon in the Cypriot league. He later joined APOEL Nicosia and spent close to eight seasons with them. 

The six-feet-tall midfielder made close to 200 appearances for the Cyprus giants and won as many as five league titles during his time in the country. Pinto then had spells in Qatar and Norway and had also represented Portugal in the U-20 age group. 

The heart of the matter 

Adilson suffered a serious injury a fortnight ago due to which he was sent home for his rehabilitation. The Highlanders had a chance to replace him with a foreign face in the transfer market and are set to do just that, as they narrow down on a move for Helio Pinto. 

Although both, the club and the player are said to have agreed on the deal, Pinto will not be a part of the NEUFC roster till January 15, when the ISL transfer window officially opens, a club official confirmed to Sportskeeda. Unlike the international window, the transfer window for the ISL clubs stretches from January 15 to February 15.

"We have zeroed in on Helio Pinto to be Adilson's replacement, and he has also shown interest in playing for our team as well," said the NEUFC official. "But he can only be registered after the January 15 transfer window opens. Till the transfer officially happens, he is not a part of the team yet."

What next? 

According to Transfermarkt, Pinto is contracted to Norwegian club, Kongsvinger IL until December 31, after which he is set to become a free agent.  

Author's take 

A midfield unit which was looking a bit weak without Adilson will now be strengthened with the arrival of Helio Pinto who has played in top-tier European leagues. Pinto played in the Champions League for APOEL Nicosia and had a run until the quarterfinals in the 2011/12 season. North East United will be desperate for Pinto to bring his European experience into the ISL.

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Sumedh Pande
An avid Premier League watcher with specialization in transfer news and post match analysis. Follow European and Indian football with minute attention with one eye on the world of cricket.
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