ISL 2020-21: Joe Garner leaves Wigan Athletic, set to join SC East Bengal

Joe Garner at Rangers
Joe Garner at Rangers

SC East Bengal's attempts to add a seventh overseas player to their debut Indian Super League campaign seem to have come to an end. The Red and Gold Brigade are reportedly closing in on the signing of English center-forward Joe Garner from Wigan Athletic.

Joe Garner will add firepower to SC East Bengal

East Bengal's current squad lacks adequate firepower to score goals in a league where strikers frequently decide the fate of games. East Bengal's current striking options do not have the quality to turn a game on its head.

The likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, and CK Vineeth haven't featured regularly in competitive matches for the past few seasons and are well past their prime. Girik Khosla is yet to be tested against experienced Indian defenses, while Harmanpreet Singh is still young.

Joe Garner began his playing career with Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League in 2007. However, he failed to make it to the first team and played at the reserves level. He made his professional debut on loan for Carlisle United in League One.

Garner then went on to ply his trade for several League One and Championship clubs over the next few seasons. The teams he featured for included Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United, Watford, and Preston North End.

Joe Garner joined Rangers for a solitary season before returning to England to play for Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic. Garner was the captain of Wigan Athletic until he was released from the club yesterday. He registered 7 goals and 1 assist in 14 games for Wigan Athletic in the 2020-21 League One season.

When will Joe Garner be available for SC East Bengal?

However, due to FIFA Transfer Guidelines, Joe Garner may not be available to take the field for East Bengal immediately. He was still on contract when the Indian and European Transfer Window expired, which made him ineligible to be signed on a free transfer. Garner can only be signed when the January transfer window opens in 2021.

However, the ISL does allow overseas players to register for teams with less than seven overseas imports at any point in the season.

Garner will soon arrive in Goa and begin the 14-day mandatory quarantine, before joining Robbie Fowler and his side in training. East Bengal open their ISL 2020-21 campaign on November 27 against ATK Mohun Bagan in the new Kolkata Derby.

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Edited by Parimal
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