Looking to build on their 5th place finish in Season 1 of the Indian Super League (ISL), the Delhi Dynamos have moved swiftly to bolster their attacking options for the upcoming edition of the tourney. The Roberto Carlos coached franchisee have managed to retain the services of 21-year old attacking midfielder Gustavo Marmentini Dos Santos, their top-scorer from Season 1 with 5 goals, for another season and signed striker Adil Nabi on a one-year loan deal from English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion.
Having scored only 16 goals in 14 games last season, the Dynamos would hope that these two turn out to be successful purchases. Aided by the canny wing-play of seasoned French international Florent Malouda and a solid defensive line comprising of international stalwarts John Arne Riise and player-coach Roberto Carlos, the Dynamos would be looking to go all the way this season on the back of the consistent goal-scoring of these two young forwards.
These two players should prove to be the standout young performers in a star-studded Dynamos team for Season 2. Here we tell you why.
Dos Santos, a native of Cascavel, Brazil, graduated from the Atletico Paranaense academy last year and slotted straight into the first team, where he has made 2 appearances as a substitute. On loan from Atletico last year, he shone in the Dynamos team with 5 goals (the joint 2nd-highest return in the ISL) and 2 assists, thus contributing to almost half of all Dynamos' goals last season. This compelled the Dynamos hierarchy to retain his services for the coming season.
Nabi, meanwhile, is of Pakistani origin and starred in the Albion youth team last season with 12 goals and 6 assists in only 22 games. Baggies' manager Tony Pulis rewarded him for such performances with a place on the bench for the games against Manchester City and West Ham United towards the end of last season. With this loan move, he becomes the 1st player to play in the ISL while under contract at an English Premier League club.
Dos Santos is a fleet-footed, twinkle-toed attacking midfielder, another exponent of the famed Brazilian style of attacking play. He can play across the forward line behind the main striker - as a No.10 or as a winger. He possesses goals and assists in his repertoire, thus can back up his skills with a final ball or a shot at goal.
Nabi has a prolific scoring record for the Baggies youth team. He has been noted for having a penchant for scoring goals, as well as good technique and vision. Supported by the talents of Dos Santos and the experience of Malouda in the forward line, Nabi can go on to power the Dynamos to atleast the semi-finals this year, a feat they narrowly missed out on last year.
Dos Santos has had sparse playing opportunities over the last two years. Most of his game time came for the Dynamos last season, while he has made only 2 substitute appearances for Atletico. He may need time to get match fit to cope with rigours of the ISL season. He also received 4 yellow cards in his appearances for the Dynamos last season (7 starts and 6 substitute appearances), thus displaying a propensity for a mistimed tackle. He will need to keep his discipline in check to maximize his return for the Dynamos this season.
While for Nabi, the difference in playing styles and footballing culture in the Indian subcontinent may be too much for him to handle at first. Despite a stellar record at youth level, he might take some time to find his feet in the ISL.
Dos Santos joins a host of Brazilian attacking midfielders plying their trade in leagues worldwide. With time on his side, he has the ability to become a success at the top level and have a glittering playing career. An impressive return with the Dynamos this season would do his future prospects no harm.
Nabi has already shown an eye for goal in the youth leagues. With good performances in the ISL this season, he can catch the eye of Pulis again and be able to force his way into the Baggies' first team next season.Published 01 Oct 2015, 22:05 IST