Indian Super League: Big players up for grabs as draft looms large

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The Indian Super League (ISL) franchises have a deadline until July 7 to retain two players and as many as three under-21 players for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

While the likes of Mumbai City FC, Bengaluru FC, FC Goa and Atletico de Kolkata have moved quickly and more or less have sorted their retention lists, there are several clubs who have yet to complete a deal.

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However, with the deadline of less than 48 hours, expect several teams to clinch last minute deals. We have already witnessed indecision from clubs and players, as was best witnessed in the Kerala Blasters-Mehtab Hossain saga.

NorthEast United are still engaged in negotiations for T.P.Rehenesh and Rowllin Borges. The former Sporting Clube de Goa midfielder is among the most prized signatures in the transfer market and should NorthEast United fail to tie him to a deal, expect him to be picked in the earlier rounds of the ISL draft.

FC Pune City are expected to promote two players from their junior team who have won the IFA Shield recently. The Hrithik Roshan co-owned team hasn’t yet been able to secure the signature of Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who like Borges is very much in demand, should he feature in the draft.

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Chennaiyin FC are believed to announce their high profile signings soon as the Super Machans take important steps to get over what was a forgettable season.

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The Sachin Tendulkar co-owned Kerala Blasters are still engaged in a conversation with Sandesh Jhingan and Rino Anto. It is still undecided as to whether they would retain any of the two and instead go into the round two of the ISL draft having already signed Chekiyot Vineeth.

Delhi Dynamos have been shrewd so far in securing the services of a top coach in Miguel Angel Portugal with Qatar’s Aspire Academy coming to their help. With regards to domestic players, Anas Edathodika is the only top name on their roster from last season and it remains to be seen whether the former Mumbai FC centre-back would be retained or go into the ISL draft with several clubs keen to sign him after his fantastic performance last term.

Expect a lot of drama over the course of next two days as clubs look to tie down their best players ahead of the ISL draft.