ISL 2018-19: ATK eye FC Pune City's Emiliano Alfaro as replacement for injured Kalu Uche
The Uruguayan striker enjoyed a fabulous 2017/18 season sharing a formidable partnership with fellow South American forward Marcelinho. But the 30-year-old is struggling to find his feet this season and with his team lodged at the bottom of the table, is learnt to be looking at better options.
That's where ATK come in. The Kolkatan outfit, coached by Steve Coppell, are going through a forward line crisis of their own. Their main target man Kalu Uche suffered a quadriceps muscle tear and has flown to Barcelona for further treatment.
In his absence, ATK are left only with Balwant Singh and Everton Santos in the strike force and want to quickly overcome this problem.
As for FC Pune City, they have a contract with an eighth foreigner in Iain Hume. But the Canadian, who is the top scorer of the ISL, cannot play as he's not registered in the squad.
If Alfaro is packed off to ATK, then it will pave the way for Hume to feature in Pune's future ISL games.
“Kalu has gone back to Barcelona. Kalu had an extensive tear in his quadriceps muscle – a grade three, which is quite bad. He has gone back to Barcelona to seek further medical treatment there,” Coppell said before ATK's game against FC Pune City.
“It obviously leaves a hole in our squad. We’ve requested the ISL if we can replace him for a short time. They have said yes, we can. But that creates a problem in itself, because trying to find somebody for a short period of time is very, very, difficult.
"We are trying to replace him till the Christmas break. We expect him to be fit by January. So, we’re only looking for someone to fill in for what will be five games after this game. We can’t get anyone for this game because we only had league approval last night. So, we’ll be looking quickly,” he added.
Alfaro, who missed the last two games for FC Pune City, would be gunning to move and help ATK out.
The Nigerian forward Uche is a shadow of himself this time around for ATK. He has only scored once this season in 254 minutes across five games for ATK. For Delhi Dynamos last year, the 36-year-old notched up 13 goals in 15 appearances.
Alfaro's story is similar for FCPC. While he managed nine goals in 19 matches last season for Pune, he has scored just once in six games and has missed two missed penalties this season.