ISL 2019-20: 5 Indian players who might need to go on loan
Over the years, we have seen a gradual rise in the standard showcased by Indian players in the Indian Super League. While a handful of players have impressed and improved drastically, few areas are still to be explored by the local talents.
A concerning number this term is the goal tally, which has Sunil Chhetri as the only Indian with more than two goals. Even when the teams as a whole are performing well, the coaches rarely rely on Indian players for vital duties.
Thus, we have a set of names who have been warming the benches from the start of the season. While some are missing out due to their teammates' excellence, others are not part of their gaffer's plans. For those approaching the peak times of their career, being on the bench wouldn't do much good, making loan moves inevitable. Finding some time on the field might help these players return to their parent club to take up superior roles.
Here, we look at 5 Indian players in the ISL, who might need to go out on loan deals.
#5 Mohammed Rafique (Mumbai City)
Mohammed Rafique's header for ATK in the stoppage time of the first-ever ISL final is still fresh in the minds of football fans all over the country. The ISL final hero then shifted houses to Kerala Blasters a season later and is now part of Mumbai City in the league.
Though he had limited playing time during the two seasons with ATK, Rafique was a regular starter while donning the Blasters jersey. After joining Mumbai for the 2018-19 season, the midfielder was a part of Jorge Costa's plans either in the first XI or as a second-half substitute. However, the current season has seen the Kolkata-born player fade away from Mumbai's system.
Mohammed Rafique has played only 90 minutes this season, starting against Odisha FC and coming off the bench for 7 minutes against ATK. In a Mumbai midfield dominated by the likes of Mohammed Larbi, Diego Carlos, and Serge Kevyn, finding minutes on the field would be difficult for the 27-year old. As back-ups, Costa has Bipin Singh and Modou Sougou playing wide when needed.
In a scenario that looks unlikely to be changed, a move out will be the best option for Rafique. The former East Bengal player could be a handy asset to ISL sides like Chennaiyin FC or Hyderabad FC. If not a permanent transfer, a loan will be needed for Rafique to gather some game time.