Over the years, the Indian Super League has seen several overseas players make a mark. The likes of Borja Fernandes and Elano have been etched in the history of the ISL, something that has prompted several high-profile players to make the trip to India and sign with one of the clubs.
This time around, there has been a sharp contrast in the way players have been signed. Of course, where they fit into the side is a key reason for signing them, but there seems to be an added intent in signing a certain quality of players who are certain to bring flair into the league this time around.
In the context of the 2020-21 season, there are 77 spots to be filled by overseas players with 57 of those slots already filled. Let's take a look at five of these transfers who are expected to come good this season.
1) Gary Hooper (Kerala Blasters)
Gary Hooper is among the biggest names to have ever played in the ISL. Of course, there have been the likes of Roberto Carlos, Marco Materazzi, and so on, but the 32-year-old striker brings in a certain finesse and quality in attack. He also boasts of a fantastic track record in some top leagues in Europe.
On paper, Hooper's record is unmatched. He has scored goals won trophies at most places he has played at. This season, however, Hooper will be expected to come good for the Kerala Blasters, especially following a forgettable 2019-20 campaign.
2) Steven Taylor (Odisha FC)
Similar to Gary Hooper, former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor comes into the ISL with a fair wind behind him. Having made over 200 appearances in the Premier League for the Magpies as a central defender, the 34-year-old is as solid as they come.
The former Newcastle man enters the league following an impressive stint with Wellington Phoenix in Australia, a club where he was captain at some point in time as well. Needless to say, the 34-year-old will be an extremely important part of Stuart Baxter's side as Odisha FC aim for a better outing in the context of the 2020-21 season.
3) Vicente Gomez (Kerala Blasters)
The Kerala Blasters management is able to woo some of the best players in the world. Although they have a few spots on their roster to be filled, 32-year-old Vicente Gomez comes into the side with an excellent record in Spanish football.
The Spaniard helped former club Las Palmas to promotion from the Segunda Division, and has played in La Liga for three seasons. With the Blasters having opted for a ground-up rebuild, Gomez will be an important part of Kibu Vicuna's side for the season as they aim to better their four wins from the previous season.
4) Igor Angulo (FC Goa)
One ISL club that has been forced to bring in overseas talent is FC Goa. Following the removal of Sergio Lobera from the helm, it was only a matter of time before the likes of Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, and even Mandar Rao Dessai departed the club for greener pastures elsewhere in the league.
However, Juan Ferrando, who took over the reins of the club in early January, has been busy in the transfer market. His most notable signing has been that of Spanish striker Igor Angulo from the labyrinth of the Polish leagues. As many view Angulo as a replacement for the departed Coro, the 36-year-old will be expected to find the back of the net as often as Coro did.
5) Bradden Inman (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Those who have followed Newcastle United in the past decade will know exactly what Bradden Inman is capable of. The 28-year-old is yet another arrival from Australian football having most recently played under Robbie Fowler with Brisbane Roar. Following the termination of his contract, Inman has now signed with perhaps the most iconic side in the ISL - ATK Mohun Bagan.
This season, Inman would be playing against Fowler in the Kolkata Derby, while also providing solidity in the midfield for ATK Mohun Bagan. In fact, this would be the perfect opportunity for someone with Inman's ability to make a mark with what is perhaps the strongest team in the league, on paper at least.Published 12 Oct 2020, 15:33 IST