Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 will be played behind closed doors in Goa due to the lockdown imposed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The season will witness no fans in the stadiums, which makes it imperative for the league to encash in on the television audience.
Investors and sponsors from across the world are entering the Indian football scene, skyrocketing player salaries and wage demands. The ISL 2020-21 teams are some of the most valuable teams in the history of Indian football.
Let us have a look:
#11 Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC have resorted to relatively unknown East European and Central Asian imports like Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Jakun Sylvestr, Enes Sipovic with the exception of Esmael Goncalves. The foreign contingent at Chennaiyin will come up as a surprise. The Super Machans also have a balanced Indian line-up with one of the best wage rates. They have managed to get through deals with longer periods of contracts.
#10 North East United FC
Expansive scouting networks allow teams to eke out players with manageable wage demands. The Highlanders have managed to get the likes of Wayne Vaz, Ashutosh Mehta, Mashoor Shereef, Provat Lakra, VP Suhair, Britto PM, and Rochharzela. The proven set of Indians are valued at very reasonable transfer market prices, which has allowed the Highlanders to go for big money moves like Luis Machado, Benjamin Lambot, and Idrissa Sylla.
#9 Hyderabad FC
Rebuilding from the scratch post a horrific first season in the Indian Super League, the Nizams have gone for a set Spanish side. The Spanish football market has one of the best transfer market prices for players of pedigree. Lluis Sastre, Fran Sandaza and Odei Onaindia are expected to prove themselves and emerge as great bargains for Hyderabad FC.
#7 Odisha FC
The Juggernauts have increased their team budget for the season and have brought some great exports like Cole Alexander, Steven Taylor and Marcelinho. The presence of youngsters and emerging players like Shubham Sarangi, Nanda Kumar, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Saurabh Meher, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, and Hendry Antonay can turn out as great long-term investments.
#6 Jamshedpur FC
Owen Coyle's Scouting Network has been used to its brim by Jamshedpur FC. The Red Miners snapped up the experienced campaigners like Alex Lima, Peter Hartley, Stephen Eze, and Nerijus Valskis. Jackichand Singh is one of the highest-paid players of the squad. The Red Miners also boast of young talents like Jitendra Singh, Bhupender Singh, Amarjit Singh Kiyam and William Lalnunfela.
#5 SC East Bengal
With most of their Indian players having little ISL experience and lack of game time in the last season, the onus was on the management to close the age and quality gap with top-graded foreigners. The SC East Bengal management had to spend more than the market value of several players like Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, and Matti Steinmann. Scott Neville's loan spell allowed the Red and Golds to maintain the salary cap. The Red and Golds are now hunting for their seventh foreigner to accompany Aaron-Amadi Holloway upfront.
#4 Bengaluru FC
The sky-rocketing salaries of Indian players like Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Harmanjot Khabra and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu take bulk of Bengaluru FC's team budget. With the transfer deadline on their heads, the Blues scouting setup narrowed it down to Kristian Opseth and Fran Gonzalez, which are one of the most negotiated deals in the ISL on monetary lines. Cleiton Silva is the big money player in the squad.
#3 FC Goa
After the departure of Ferran Corominas, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall and Mandar Rao Dessai on free transfers, it was obvious that the Gaurs would build their core from scratch. The transfer fee earned from the sale of Hugo Boumous to Mumbai City FC has helped the likes of Alberto Noguera, Ivan Gonzalez, Jorge Ortiz and Igor Angulo to join FC Goa. The Gaurs have a splendid developing Indian roster which balances out the high salaries of the foreigners.
#2 Mumbai City FC
Mumbai City FC sold majority stakes to City Football Group (CFG). The deal has made Mumbai City FC as one of the richest and highest-valued football clubs in South Asia.
The Islanders showed their financial might when they bagged Hugo Boumous by paying a whopping 1.8 Cr INR fee for his move from FC Goa to Mumbai City FC. They have secured some high-paying foreigners on loan deals like Adam le Fondre (Sydney FC), Cy Goddard (Benevento Calcio), and Hernan Santana (Sporting Gijon). The likes of Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall in the roster speak volumes of the financial might of Mumbai City FC. ETIHAD Airways, DafaNews, CISCO and Puma are sponsors of Mumbai City FC.
#1 ATK Mohun Bagan
Albeit Mumbai City FC have the financial might, the RPSG-Sanjiv Goenka Group-led ATK Mohun Bagan FC can be touted as the most valuable squad in the Indian Super League 2020-21.
The aspirations of the newly-merged entity to win the AFC Cup and play the AFC Champions League on a regular basis have made them break the bank for players like Tiri, Sandesh Jhingan, David Williams, Roy Krishna, Carl McHugh and Javi Hernandez. Their Indian roster comprising Prabir Das, Manvir Singh (transfer fee involved), Michael Soosairaj (transfer fee involved), Subhasish Bose and Pritam Kotal also have big salaries. The arrival of SBOTOP as a principle sponsor is a further testament to ATK Mohun Bagan's financial might.
ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC's high-spending capabilities also were witnessed when they were in the news for asking the league organisers to remove the salary cap of 16.5 crores INR.Published 06 Nov 2020, 20:57 IST