The 2015 Indian Super League (ISL) Auction took place in Mumbai on 10 July with 10 I-League players up for sale. Indian players Sunil Chhetri, Robin Singh, Thoi Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Rino Anto (all Bengaluru FC), Jackichand Singh, Seityasen Singh (both Royal Wahingdoh), Anas Edathodika, Arata Izumi (both Pune FC) and Karanjit Singh (Salgaocar) went under the hammer.
The order of players sold was decided by picking lots and experienced auctioneer Charlie Ross conducted the auction as the eight teams bid for the players. The auction was held in two stages with players split into two groups of five – Pool A and Pool B.
1) Jackichand Singh
Winner of the I-League Player of the Season in his debut season, Royal Wahingdoh’s winger Jackichand was the first player ever to be auctioned in the Indian Super League auction. With a base price set at Rs. 20 lakhs, the price was always expected to go up as clubs bid for him.
The bidding began with a Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City in a bidding war for the 23-year-old. FC Goa joined in, but they were eventually pushed aside by the two Maharashtra clubs – Pune and Mumbai. Pune City finally ended up snatching the youngster for Rs. 45 lakhs.
2) Thoi Singh
Bengaluru FC’s Thoi Singh was up next in the auction. The 24-year-old midfielder had a base price set at Rs. 39 lakhs. As soon as the bidding started, Chennaiyin FC made their intentions clear by taking the lead in the bidding process and looked to have got their player at around Rs. 70 lakhs.
But a late bid from Mumbai City FC meant that although Chennaiyin FC got their man, they had to pay Rs. 86 lakhs for the Manipur born midfielder.
3) Anas Edathodika
Pune FC captain Anas Edathodika was the third name to come out of the bag and he was valued at Rs. 40 lakhs. Atletico de Kolkata made the initial bid for Edathodika and it looked like he was headed to the ISL champions. But a last second bid by Delhi Dynamos meant that the Edathodika ended up at the national capital for Rs. 41 lakhs playing under their new manager – Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos.
4) Eugeneson Lyngdoh
The 2015 I-League Midfielder of the Year Eugeneson Lyngdoh was the next one to go under the hammer. The midfielder appeared for Bengaluru FC 33 times in all competitions scoring 9 goals and setting up a further 16 for his teammates. He was always going to be one of the most wanted players in the auction.
With a base price of only Rs. 27.50 lakhs, Kerala, Pune, NorthEast, Mumbai and Kolkata all looked interested with the bid doubling in no time. As the bids crossed the Rs. 1 crore mark, FC Pune City eventually made the winning bid of a massive Rs. 1.05 crores.
5) Sunil Chhetri
The next player was arguably the most wanted man in the auction – India National team captain Sunil Chhetri. Starting with a base price of Rs. 80 lakhs the bidding crossed Rs. 1 crore in no time. Such was the excitement that Mumbai City tried to outbid themselves at one point during the process.
Mumbai City FC did eventually sign up India’s best player in the last decade with an enormous fee of Rs. 1.20 crores. Mumbai City owner Ranbir Kapoor was surprised at the price at which his club were able to acquire the best player at the auction and said: “We never expected to get Sunil for this price. We thought his price would go past our cap. We are a bit shocked and surprised.”
Chhetri said: “Really, really excited to be part of ISL. I’ve been all over the world but I’ve never been to Mumbai. So thanks Ranbir for bringing me to Mumbai.”
6) Arata Izumi
After a short break held for the press conferences with the players and their new teams, the bidding process resumed with 32-year-old Arata Izumi being the first player in the second round. The base price for Izumi was set at Rs. 40 lakhs.
NorthEast United made the initial bid for Izumi and that looked to be enough for the Japan-born midfielder, but Atletico de Kolkata stepped in and took the bid up to Rs 68 lakhs. Izumi will now return to Kolkata for the first time since his stint with East Bengal way back in 2007.
7) Robin Singh
Bengaluru FC Striker Robin Singh was next in line to go under the hammer. The Indian international had a base price set at Rs. 40 lakhs and the bidding turned into a straight shootout between Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos (Robin Singh’s hometown club).
Delhi Dynamos eventually made the winning bid of Rs. 51 lakhs as he got his wish to play under Roberto Carlos.
8) Karanjit Singh
Next up was the only goalkeeper in the auction: Karanjit Singh of Salgaocar. With his base price set at Rs. 60 lakhs, it looked highly unlikely that too many clubs would be interested in the 29-year-old shot-stopper as most clubs had already purchased their first choice goalkeepers.
Chennaiyin FC made the bid at the base price and were able to secure the signing of the Salgaocar keeper for Rs 60 Lakhs.
9) Rino Anto
Bengaluru FC’s right back Rino Anto was going to be a useful acquisition for any club as the 27-year-old can play as a left back as well. Mumbai FC and FC Goa initially kept outbidding each other and brought the price up to the Rs. 80 lakhs.
But it was Atletico de Kolkata who eventually made the winning bid of Rs. 90 lakhs which is a massive considering that the bidding began from just Rs. 17.5 lakhs.
10) Seityasen Singh
The last player in the auction was Royal Wahingdoh star Seityasen Singh. The versatile winger was one of the stars from the I-League and was even given a callup for the National squad.
In a head-to-head between NorthEast United and Kerala Blasters the former came up with the winning bid of Rs. 56 lakhs.