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ISL 2020-21: Predicting the five best overseas debutants

ISL Trophy
ISL Trophy
ANALYST
Modified 15 Oct 2020, 21:40 IST
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As the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL) looms over the horizon, clubs have made a dash to sign several players from across the world. With the entry of ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal FC to the league this season, the number of overseas spots have grown to 77.

Elano, Edu Garcia, Roberto Carlos and several others have managed to play for the ISL clubs over the years. This season, several veterans from top leagues across the world have signed up. Needless to say, the quality of football in the upcoming season is expected to improve significantly.

That said, let's take a look at five overseas debutants of the ISL

1) Steven Taylor (Odisha FC)

A-League Rd 23 - Wellington v Melbourne
A-League Rd 23 - Wellington v Melbourne

Former Newcastle United center-back Steven Taylor was among the first players to sign for an Indian club, ahead of the 2020-21 season. The 35-year old played majority of his football with the Magpies in the Premier League and was perhaps one of the most exciting signings Odisha FC has had.

Taylor also brings in the much-needed leadership to the team, something that was lacking in Odisha FC last season. He is assumed to partner with Jacob Tratt in central-defence as Odisha FC's head coach Stuart Baxter aims to put on a better show this season.

2) Gary Hooper (Kerala Blasters)

A-League Rd 22 - Central Coast v Wellington
A-League Rd 22 - Central Coast v Wellington

The 32-year old has played for top leagues across the world and has carved a reputation for scoring goals in almost all of the clubs that he's played for.

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Having played in the UEFA, Hooper's experience will be key for the Kerala Blasters. Although it remains to be seen as to how he adapts to Indian conditions, Hooper will be a strong contender for the Golden Boot this season.

3) Vicente Gomez (Kerala Blasters)

UD Las Palmas v Real Madrid CF - La Liga
UD Las Palmas v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Similar to Gary Hooper, Spaniard Vicente Gomez comes into the ISL with a reputation. The 32-year old played eight seasons with Las Palmas, three of which came in the La Liga. He has also played in the Segunda Division with Deportivo La Coruna.

Kerala Blasters coach Kibu Vicuna has definitely reinforced their defence with the signing of Gomez. It is anticipated that the Spaniard will play defence alongside Costa Nhamoinesu.

4) Cleiton Silva (Bengaluru FC)

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Cleiton Silva
Cleiton Silva

Bengaluru FC managed to make it to the playoffs, but without Miku at the heart of their attacking unit, the club struggles to score. Even with the signings of Manuel Onwu, Kevenaugh Frater, and Deshorn Brown they could not manage play well. A semi-final finish was the best the Blues could muster.

Enter Brazilian player Cleiton Silva. The 33-year old has been around Thai football for the better part of a decade, he has managed to score goals in almost every club that he has played for. A strong center-forward, Silva will be looking forward to bury the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis this season.

5) Kwesi Appiah (Odisha FC)

Kwesi Appiah
Kwesi Appiah

30-year-old Ghanian footballer, Kwesi Appiah has been the latest addition to the overseas roster of the Indian Super League. Having signed for NorthEast United FC this season, Appiah has predominantly played football in the UK. He recently played for AFC Wimbledon as well.

In addition to this, Appiah was part of the Crystal Palace Football Club from 2012 to 2017. He is a powerful box-to-box midfielder who is known for scoring goals when needed. With NorthEast looking for a better outing this time around, the Ghanian international will be a crucial addition to their team.

Published 15 Oct 2020, 21:40 IST
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