ISL 2017: NorthEast United announce 8 foreign players
What's the story?
NorthEast United have announced their entire foreign contingent for the 2017-18 Indian Super League. In a video posted on their social media handles, the club confirmed the arrivals of Marcinho, Jose Goncalves, Sambinha, Wellington Da Silva, Odair Fortes, Martin Diaz, Adilson and Luis Alfonso Paez.
The statement on the posted tweet read: "#Highlanders you have waited. Here are the men who will represent #NEUFC. Presenting our #InternationalSquad for #ISL 4..."
In case you didn't know...
It has been a summer full of frustration for the fans of NorthEast United but the club had been doing their deals behind the scenes. The signings of Marcinho and Sambinha were confirmed by secondary sources, whereas the other six have been dropped like bombshells today.
The heart of the matter
Among the new signings, Marcinho plays as a playmaker while Sambinha is a centre-back by trade. Odair Fortes, Wellington Da Silva and Luis Alfonso Paez are strikers, while Martin Diaz and Jose Goncalves are defenders by trade.
While there are no big names in the Highlanders' international recruits, it is believed that the eight players have been handpicked by the club's Portuguese head coach Joao de Deus.
Among the domestic players, Rowllin Borges, TP Rehenesh, Lalrindika Ralte and Holicharan Narzary are the biggest stars and in conjunction with the host of overseas recruits, they will be expected to finish in the top four places for the first time in the club's history.
Having finished outside the playoffs places in the past three ISL seasons, De Deus will be tasked with the responsibility of leading the Highlanders to success in the forthcoming season.
The 2017-18 ISL kicks off on 17th November and NorthEast are widely tipped to be among the lightweights of India's top division. However, most of their new recruits are unknown entities in Indian football and could well spring a surprise when the ball starts rolling.
It's been a long summer of wait for the Highlanders faithful but they finally have something to cheer about. While Marcinho and Luis Alfonso look like good acquisitions on face value, it remains to be seen whether they, along with the other new arrivals, can propel the club to unprecedented heights next season.