The pulpit has spoken. FC Vestsjelland, a newly promoted Danish Superliga side who have been in the news recently for their efforts to sign Subrata Paul on loan from the IMG-Reliance bandwagon, have made it clear that they expect to be the first Danish side to sign an Indian on contract.
The Indian co-owners of the club, Anglian Holdings, want to set-up shop with respect to the footballing and commercial aspect, in the sub-continent and believe that signing a domestic football star to play for the club will open up the right avenues in a country of more than a billion.
Peter Hansen, Chairman of the club, believes that signing a recognized custodian in Paul, who has 67 international caps and is venerated by the Indian press for his contributions in helping India win the Nehru Cup and AFC Challenge Cup along with the achievement of being sponsored by Red Bull will help his club gain traction amongst a few million people to start with.
“Paul is a huge name in India and if for example, we signed a contract with him, there would be written stories about it down there. And it's funny that in FC Vestsjelland is a part of it. In the long run it would provide a commercial return on sponsors coming from India to FC Vestsjelland,” explained the chairman to BT.
“If I have a contract here, I will be the first of thousands to get a contract in Europe with the first team in the country's top division. It will be large and it is a dream for me,” elucidated a Peter Schmichael idolizing Paul, who acknowledges he’d like to create history by becoming the first Indian footballer to sign for the Danish club and league in general.
Ove Pedersen, coach of the seventh placed side in the Superliga says he is not pressurized to sign Indian players, but would personally like to see Paul have a run in his side.
“You can see in the game for two goals that he is not physically strong enough. But I believe our goalkeeping coach that he may learn. He responds in turn somewhat faster than our own keeper and you're surprised by his speed.”
Sports coordinator Henrik Andersen, who has seen many Asian footballing talents come to play for his side in the Superliga, but none to survive the high demands of the professional league, says the time has come when talent of a certain calibre can be blended in with the squad.
“We're looking towards the Asian market to see their level and engage preliminary indications are that it must be A-national team players if they are to join with us,” phrased Andersen.
“Much of the commercial development is towards Asia. If you think long term, you can take advantage of it. That is what we are now doing on a small scale,” concluded the Dane.
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