Season 7 of the ISL (Indian Super League) is just under two weeks away, with teams hoping that the improvements they have made to their squads will pay dividends when the tournament finally begins.
While players across all positions on the pitch are a part of the bigger piece of the puzzle, it can be argued that strikers are the most valuable commodity. Without their goals, teams would find it very hard to win games.
Here, we take a look at the top 5 strikers to watch out for in ISL Season 7:
#5 Cleiton Silva
Quite simply put, Cleiton Silva is a goal machine. The all-time top scorer in the Thai top division was one of the first major signings of the summer, when Bengaluru FC roped him in early before anyone else could get a sniff. He will have the big task of filling the hole in Bengaluru FC's attack.
But Silva's history of playing across all three attacking positions means that he is more than capable of adapting to his new side. He is the first foreigner to breach the 100-goal mark in the Thai top division, and at 33, has the experience and know-how to hasten the process of settling into a new league. For Bengaluru FC fans and neutrals alike, Cleiton Silva is one to watch out for.
#4 Roy Krishna
If last season was anything to go by, Fijian Roy Krishna is going to be banging in the goals for newly-formed ATK Mohun Bagan once again. His influence on the team can be gauged by the fact that out of the 33 goals that ATK scored in the entirety of last season, Krishna was involved in 21 of them (15 goals and 6 assists). That is almost 2/3rds of all the goals the team scored!
Fast, good at finishing and clinical, Krishna has all the attributes to be successful in the league once again. Go against ATK Mohun Bagan in a low block, and he has the ability to find spaces to exploit in the box. Play a high line, and Krishna's pace will take him beyond it. He is certainly a Golden Boot contender once again this season.
#3 Nerijus Valskis
Nerijus Valskis and Chennaiyin FC were a match made in heaven last season. After the appointment of English coach Owen Coyle, Valskis took his game to another level and powered by his goals, Chennaiyin FC reached the final of the Indian Super League.
The Lithuanian forward scored in the final as well, but it wasn't enough to help his team clinch the trophy. He did, however, end the league as the Golden Boot winner.
This season, Valskis has joined Coyle at Jamshedpur FC as the duo look to recreate the magic of last season once again. Valskis' strengths include his physicality and ability to find the back of the net from unusual angles, lending him an unpredictability even if defenders are more wary of him this time around.
#2 Gary Hooper
In terms of credentials, Kerala Blasters' signing of English striker Gary Hooper is perhaps the most high profile of the summer. Hooper's story is one of sheer graft and determination as he worked up the ladder of English football. Most notably, he has played for Scottish giants Celtic, in the SPL as well as the UEFA Champions League. He has also played for Norwich for a full season in the Premier League.
So what does Hooper bring to the Indian Super League apart from his obvious quality? It's his experience which will be invaluable to Kerala Blasters, both in helping the team score goals and helping youngsters like Sahal Abdul Samad and Rahul KP with his command of the game. 'Super Hooper' has arrived, and is ready to add a whole new dimension to the ISL.
#1 Igor Angulo
How do you replace someone like Ferran Corominas at FC Goa? If anyone has the answers, it is another Spaniard - Igor Angulo. He has been brought in by FC Goa from the Polish Ekstraklasa, where he made a name for himself scoring over 80 goals in the division. 2016 onwards, he was a key figure in the success of Gornik Zabrze, and left the club as a certified legend.
Angulo has the know-how to find the back of the net which will be crucial for FC Goa's success. He will also be of massive help in the AFC Champions League as well with the team coming up against tougher continental opposition. What Angulo lacks in pace, he makes up for in his astute understanding of space in the box. And he expertly uses that talent to help him find the back of the net. Among others, Angulo too is one to watch out for in the ISL this season.Published 07 Nov 2020, 19:06 IST