THE RACE FOR THE GOLDEN BOOT
The 7th edition of the Indian Super League season is scheduled to start on 20th November 2020. That means the preparations from the teams have already started. Pre-season’s have already started in the COVID-19 secure bubble. Provided that ISL teams are also done with signing their new players and also the departure of a few old players. There were changes done in altering the squad by all teams by getting in Indian players and also Foreign players to bolster their squad. In this article, we will look at the new incoming foreign strikers that would possibly make an impact on the team goals and performance and also on the overall value of the league. The big question lies will the new batch of foreign strikers compete for the golden boot easily and efficiently or will they struggle with the existing old players?
Odisha FC signed the Brazilian center-forward from Campeonato Brasiliero Serie B side Centro Sportive Alagoano (CSA) on a free transfer on a 1-year contract. Diego Mauricio has an illustrious career playing in various countries from Brazil his home country to playing in Korea where he scored 26 goals and 14 assists in total out of total 91 matches. His overall tally of club professional matches played stands at 225 matches with total of 38 goals scored and 28 assists. He has played in Brazil, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Korea, China, Thailand, Portugal, and now India. He is a tall and strong, versatile forward who has played as a center-forward, right-winger, left-winger. It will be exciting to watch Diego Mauricio play for Odisha FC in the Indian Super League.
The most coveted signing in the Indian Super League in this transfer window. Gary Hooper signed on a free transfer by Kerala Blasters FC from Wellington Pheonix in the A-League. The 32-year-old English striker has played majorly in the English Football divisions throughout his career with a 3-year stint at Celtic FC in Scotland. Gary Hooper has around played 34 matches in the Premier League, 95 matches in the Scottish Premiership,166 matches in the Championship, 62 matches in the League One, 7 matches in Champions League, and 6 matches in the Europa League, and many more. The right-footed striker has played 476 Professional Club Matches in his career and scored 207 goals and assisted 65 assists in total. Gary Hooper has played for the likes of Norwich City FC, Sheffield Wednesday, Southend United FC, Scunthorpe United FC, and more. Gary Hooper is also a Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup Champion twice. Everybody will be keeping their eye on Gary Hooper hoping he scores some spectacular goals.
Adam Le Fondre
Adam Le Fondre was signed by Mumbai City FC on Loan from the A-League side Sydney FC on 1-year contract. Adam Le Fondre played the majority of his career in England, playing 234 matches in the League 2, 184 matches in the Championship, 34 matches in the Premier League, 17 matches in the FA Cup, and 53 matches in the A-League. Adam Le Fondre has played for the likes of Bolton Wanderers FC, Cardiff City FC, Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Reading FC, and more. Adam Le Fondre holds citizenship in two countries – England and French. Adam Le Fondre has great shooting ability with a good amount of pace, he has poaching ability in his game. Always at the right spot and at the right time. Adam Le Fondre won the A-League with Sydney FC. The English Striker has played a total of 599 club games his entire career and scored 228 goals totally. He scored 36 goals in 53 games in the A-League and also scored 12 goals in 34 Premier League matches. Adam Le Fondre will be definitely a player to watch out for.
North-East United FC signed Kwesi Appiah on a free transfer from AFC Wimbledon in League One the third-tier division of English Football. Kwesi Appiah started his career at Ebbsfleet United in 2008 as an 18-year-old, he was later on sold to Crystal Palace in the winter transfer window of 2012 by Margate FC after a few transfers later from Peterborough FC. He made 10 appearances for Crystal Palace during his five years at the club, he was usually loaned out to other clubs by Crystal Palace. The Ghanaian has scored a total of 48 goals of total 176 club matches he played in his entire professional career. Kwesi Appiah has also represented his country Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations playing 4 matches and scoring once and assisting twice, also played two international friendlies. Kwesi Appiah can play on the left-wing also. Hoping that Kwesi makes an impact on the score-sheet of North-East United every time he plays.
Bengaluru FC signed Cleiton Silva on a Free Transfer as a Free agent. Cleiton Silva played a major number of his matches in the Thai League in Thailand. Cleiton Silva won the Thailand Champions Cup twice, once with SCG Muangthong United, and once with Singha Chiangrai United, He was also the Thai League Champion with SCG Muangthong. The successes of Cleiton Silva in Thailand are phenomenal, He scored 97 Goals in 157 Matches cumulatively in all Thai League matches with different teams. He has a very good scoring record with Thai teams, With SCG Muangthong United he played 85 matches where he scored 59 goals and assisted 11 assists. At Police Tero FC he played 31 matches in which he scored 20 goals and no assists and 16 goals in 30 matches at Suphanburi FC. He also had a short stint in China with Shanghai Shenxin scoring 17 goals and assisting 8 assists in 29 matches. Cleiton Silva has good pace and speed, He is highly vulnerable on counter-attacks. His speed, dribbling ability and ball anticipation are all his strong points. Cleiton Silva has scored 118 goals in his entire career spanning of 203 professional matches and giving 28 assists. His goal to match ratio stands at 58% in his overall career. Hoping the Brazilian brings his magic to ISL by scoring goals.
Igor joined for FC Goa in the ISL from Gornik Zabrze in the Polish first division of Ekstraklasa on a free transfer on a one-year contract. Igor Angulo is a highly experienced striker with having playing stints in Spain, Greece, Poland, Cyprus, and France. Igor has played a total of 345 matches in his entire professional career and has scored 147 goals in total with 30 assists recorded. Appearances in LaLiga, UEFA Cup, Europa League Qualifiers, Super League 1, Ekstraklasa, Protathlima Cyta, Copa Del Rey and more. Igor Angulo was the highest goal scorer in the Ekstraklasa during the season 2018/2019 scoring 24 goals and winning the golden boot, Igor Angulo was also the top goal scorer in the Fortuna Liga 1 the second division of Polish Football with the same team scoring 17 goals in the 2016/2017 season. Igor managed to score 63 goals and 14 assists in 106 matches in Ekstraklasa. Igor is the hidden gem of a striker, he has great shooting and scoring ability, he can shoot at goal from a tight angle too. His Ball Control, Pace, Fitness, Stamina are all very good. FC Goa playing the AFC Champions League will have Igor Angulo as a key player in their campaign.
Northeast United FC signed Idrissa Sylla for Free. Idrissa Sylla started his career in France with Le Mans FC’s Youth setup and eventually moving to Belgium after a loan stint at SC Bastia. RSC Anderlecht bought Idrissa Sylla from Zulte Waregem for 1.6 Million USD. Idrissa Sylla has a total of 301 matches under his belt in the entire club professional career with 72 goals scored. Idrissa played 93 Jupiler League Pro Matches with scoring 22 goals and 3 assists recorded. Idrissa represented Guinea 28 times and scored 5 goals on the International stage. Idrissa is a strong and tall striker with great strength and an aerial threat to him. He will be value-added addition to the Northeast United FC.
Isma signed for Chennaiyin FC from Matsumoto Yamaga on Free Transfer. A highly-rated striker with a load of experience playing in top divisions across various countries such as France, Cyprus, Japan, Iran, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Greece, and Scotland. Isma had a brief stint at OGC Nice in France before playing in Portugal for Rio Ave FC. Isma also played at Al-Ettifaq and Esteghlal FC from Saudi Pro League and Persian Gulf Pro League respectively. Statistically, Isma had 246 matches played under his belt with 75 total goals scored in the entire club career. The 29-year-old has been the winner of the Cyprian League, Scottish Challenge Cup, and the Scottish League Cup. Isma represented his country Guinea-Bissau once. After the departure of Nerijus Valkis to Jamshedpur FC, hopes lie on Isma to fill in the void
Chennaiyin FC signed Slovakian number 9 Jakub Sylvestr on 1-year contract from Hapoel Haifa on a free transfer. Jakub Sylvestr played in various countries from his home country Slovakia to Israel in his entire career. He played in Germany in the Second Division Bundesliga with teams such SC Paderborn, FC Nuremberg, and more. Jakub also played in the HNL in Croatia where he was the Croatian Champion twice with Dinamo Zagreb, Jakub Sylvestr had a small stint in Denmark with Aalborg BK where he was not fortunate enough to win anything major, he played 15 matches under Aalborg BK in the Superliagen and scoring 5 goals and recording 1 assist. Interestingly Jakub has played the most amount of the matches in the second division Bundesliga tallying up to 112 matches played and 33 goals scored with 15 assists provided. Jakub Sylvestr has played a total of 368 professional club matches in his entire career with scoring 95 goals and assisting 39 times, of these 95 goals 11 goals were scored from the penalty spot. Jakub Sylvestr has good shot taking ability and he usually takes the penalties for his team. Having played as a striker in all the major leagues, Jakub and Isma’s partnership could be of lethal nature and definitely one to watch out for.
Bengaluru FC bolstered their attack by signing the 30-year old Norwegian Kristian Opseth from Adelaide United FC in the A-League. Kristian Opseth started his career in Norway with Forde IL Fotball. He played in Norwegian 2nd Division and 1st Division until January of 2019 when he went on a free transfer to Turkish first division side BB Erzurumspor from Bodo/Glimt FC in the Eliteserien. Goal tally wise Jakub Opseth had a remarkable run in the second division Norwegian League where he played 56 matches and scored 44 goals and assisted 10 times. A goal for every 98 minutes was the ratio. Kristian played 12 matches in the Super Lig and 21 matches in the A-League where he scored 1 goal and 6 goals respectively. Kristian is 189cms tall, he is a strong and speedy striker with an ability to strike at goal from a long distance. One of the crucial and important skills that he is known for is his Free-Kick taking ability. He scored a lot of important goals with his freekick prowess in the 2nd division Norwegian League. Kristian Opseth, Cleiton Silva, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuriniyan, Sunil Chettri, and Deshorn Brown in the attacking lineup would be a game to watch out for.
Hyderabad FC signed the veteran Francisco Sandaza from AD Alcoron from the Second division of Spain called the LaLiga 2. On a free transfer on a one-year contract. Fran Sandaza has vast experience playing in Spain, Scotland, Japan, England, and China. The 35-year old is expected to add more gun powder to their current team and bring in more goals and experience on the pitch with other players. Hyderabad FC had a poor last season and hence have made multiple changes throughout the team setup, signing new players and also releasing some of the old players. Fitness was a huge issue last season for Hyderabad FC. Fran Sandaza is a player who has good dribbling ability and also has pace and speed. Fran Sandaza will definitely add a spark to the team. Overall in his entire club career Fran Sandaza has played 266 matches of which 127 matches he played in LaLiga 2, he also recorded a total of 25 goals in 73 matches for Girona FC in the LaLiga 2. A total goal tally of 73 goals and 29 assists in his entire career. He won the Scottish Cup with Dundee United FC 2009/2010 season and this being his only trophy won.
East Bengal FC the new entrants to the ISL have signed in the Welsh Centre Forward Aaron Amadi Holloway for this season from Brisbane Roars in the A-League. Holloway who spent most of his time playing in English Football Divisions made a move to Australia just the last season. Having also played in the Non-League Football in England Aaron Holloway has come a long way. Statistically, Holloway has played 211 games in his entire Professional club career – scoring 20 goals and assisting 21. The welsh forward also represented his nation at the Youth level once for the U19 Welsh team and 10 games for the Welsh U17 team. Aaron Holloway has a total of 20 goals in 211 professional club matches in his entire career. SC East Bengal have Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Anthony Pilkington, and Loken Meitei in their attacking options.
Jordan Murray has reportedly signed for Kerala Blasters FC from Central Coast Mariners, there has not been an official announcement from Kerala Blasters FC but it was reported by Goal.com. Jordan Murray is comparatively a young player, aged 25-years-old and amongst the many signings that were done by ISL teams who are experienced and older. Jordan may not be that experienced globetrotting striker but well he is a good player on the pitch. His experience compared to other strikers may not be a match but his skills and playing ability is good. He has played in the A-league only and in the local league with his former club APIA Leichhardt Tigers. Jordan has played 44 professional matches and scored 7 goals and assisted 4 goals entirely. He is a young striker and has a lot of potentials to exploit. Jordan Murray with the likes of Gary Hooper, Sahal, Prasanth K, Facundo Pereyra, and Shaiborlang Kharpan will be an exciting attacking option to watch out for.
STATS OF OUR NEW FOREIGN STRIKERS – TOTAL MATCHES PLAYED, TOTAL GOALS SCORED AND TOTAL GOALS ASSISTED. (ENTIRE CLUB CAREER STATS)