Following two seasons of hefty spending in the transfer market, with little to no taste of success, ATK finally went the distance by clinching the 2019-20 ISL trophy. Their merger with I-League giants Mohun Bagan means the RPSG-owned unit will get a chance to play in the AFC Cup, and make their debut in Asia.
It is a common trend to see player contracts getting renewed in championship-winning sides. The likes of Roy Krishna, David Williams and Carl McHugh were already on two-year deals when they signed for ATK. Other foreign stars like Javi Hernandez, John Johnson and Edu Garcia have agreed on extensions.
Among the Indian names, Subhasish Bose and Manvir Singh will be the new additions while the majority of the other players are expected to be retained. However, ATK also has to release some players keeping in mind the players' increasing wage demands.
In this article, we will focus on the latter category of players who are likely to ask for wage hikes. Without any further ado, here are five players who are likely to leave ATK - Mohun Bagan.
#5 Ricky Lallawmawma
Ricky Lallawmawma was an ominous figure as an ATK left-back in the 2018-19 season. However, he fell out of favour once Antonio Lopez Habas entered the picture. Last season, the 28-year-old found himself on the bench on only three occasions, while he wasn't even included in the matchday squad for the rest of the games.
Lallawmawma began his footballing career with Aizawl FC in the Mizoram Premier League before coming back to represent them in the I-League after short stints at Zo United FC and Chanmari FC.
After also plying his trade with DSK Shivajians and Mohun Bagan, he finally signed a two-year deal with ATK, which is set to expire.
If reports are to be believed, he has already signed a pre-contract with Jamshedpur FC. The Red Miners had a gaping hole in the left-back position that saw striker Sumeet Passi playing in that position in the later stages of the tournament.
Ricky Lallawmawma should be a good fit in Jamshedpur FC colours given his no-nonsense defending, and his staggering number of tackles and blocks.
#4 Sehnaj Singh
Sehnaj Singh shifted his base to ATK after his three-season spell with Mumbai City FC ended. The burly defensive midfielder played eight matches in the last season of ISL, with four of them after coming off the bench.
He represented India in the 2011 AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers. After graduating from Chandigarh FA, Sehnaj Singh signed for Pailan Arrows in 2013, and played a season with them in I-League. The midfielder then turned out for Mumbai Tigers in I-League Second Division and Mumbai FC in I-League.
The highlight of Singh's career came in 2014 when he signed for Mohun Bagan. He was a regular in their starting lineup as the Green and Maroons won the championship that season.
The midfielder, continuing his journeyman career, subsequently turned out for Delhi Dynamos, East Bengal, Mumbai City FC, Mohun Bagan on loan, and finally with ATK.
As per various media reports, Sehnaj Singh has agreed a deal with East Bengal, and is expected to sign on the dotted lines with them for the upcoming season.
#3 Balwant Singh
Another high-profile name which is set to sign for East Bengal is Balwant Singh. The Kolkata giants have picked up the ISL bid papers, and if they wish to participate in the cash-rich league of India, Balwant Singh could come handy for them.
The 33-year-old has made ten international appearances for the Indian national team, scoring three goals. In the last season for ATK, he came up with a crucial last-minute goal against NorthEast United FC.
Balwant Singh began his journey with JCT before donning the colours of Goan clubs Salgaocar and Churchill Brothers in the I-League.
Like Sehnaj Singh, Balwant Singh too was a part of Mohun Bagan's championship-winning squad, establishing himself as a regular there.
Balwant Singh played for Chennaiyin FC in the first two seasons of ISL, becoming the first Indian player to score a goal in the league. After that, he played for Mumbai City FC and ATK.
The striker's chances of more first-team football at ATK has diminished after the club signed Manvir Singh. A move to East Bengal is likely to re-invigorate Balwant Singh's career.
#2 Mandi Sosa Pena
After Edu Garcia penned an extension, ATK now have six foreign players in their ranks for the next season of ISL. With only one slot left for foreigners, a few of the international players are likely to drop down the pecking order.
Mandi Sosa Pena, who joined the club in the winter transfer window, is likely to part ways with the club after his tenure ended in March. The Spaniard began his journey in the lower divisions of Spain, and even turned out for the 'B' team of La Liga sides like Villareal CF and Real Madrid CF.
In 2018, Sosa Pena first stepped outside Europe when he signed for Wellington Phoenix in A-League, making 25 appearances for them in the season. A regular in La Liga II, his experience of playing more than 100 games in the second tier of Spain's football pyramid can come handy.
The defensive midfielder should be in massive demand in India given his role in helping ATK clinch the ISL title last season.
#1 Victor Mongil
Victor Mongil arrived in India in the January transfer window after winning the top-flight league in Georgia. The Spaniard clinched the ISL trophy last season after making his debut for ATK against Mumbai City FC.
The Spaniard has played for the reserve teams of La Liga sides Real Valladolid and Atletico Madrid before turning out for a host of third-tier Spanish clubs. His stint with Dinamo Tbilisi was his first outside Spain, where Mongil got the opportunity to play in the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers.
Victor Mongil is comfortable playing both as a centre-back and as a defensive midfielder in Indian conditions, coming in handy for ATK in the latter half of last season. The 27-year-old has made nine ISL appearances for the club.
Mongil would have been retained had he been playing for any other club in India. But, for an already star-studded ATK squad, he finds little favours. His performances have already seen some ISL clubs offer him contracts. However, it remains to be seen if the Spaniard wishes to continue in India.Published 25 Apr 2020, 16:17 IST