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ISL 2020-21: Foreign players on long-term contracts

04:09 GMT 23/03/2020
Bartholomew Ogbeche Kerala Blasters Hyderabad FC ISL 6
Let's take a look at all the overseas players who have been retained or signed by the ISL clubs for the next season...

It is not a common sight in Indian football to see overseas players brought in on a long-term deal. Most foreign players are brought on a one-year-deal or an even shorter one and are given an extension if they perform.

While the duration of the Indian Super League (ISL), which spans for about five-to-six months at best, does not help the clubs or the players in committing to a long term deal, there are other factors at work too.

There is no guarantee that an overseas player will adapt to the conditions in the country. There is also the case of players past their peak coming to India for one last fat paycheque. We have also seen some big names coming to the country and struggling while some unknown names have come and set the league on fire.

This time around, several clubs have already tied down some of the best overseas players from last season in the ISL. Let's take a closer look:

  • Delhi vs Jamshedpur ISL 2018-19

    #1 Kerala Blasters (Ogbeche, Cidoncha and Tiri)

    The side from Kochi have three overseas players already lined up for the upcoming season.

    Unsurprisingly, last season's joint-highest goalscorer Bartholomew Ogbeche is one of them. The Nigerian has been a standout performer in Indian football for the last two seasons and the 35-year-old's contract was automatically renewed for another season.

    Also joining him is Spanish attacking midfielder Sergio Cidoncha who has another year on his contract with the Kochi-based side. Though he had an ordinary season by his standards this time around, the 29-year-old will hope his fortunes change under new coach Kibu Vicuna.

    The side have also signed central defender Tiri from Jamshedpur FC. The 28-year-old is an established player in the Indian domestic circuit, having been around for the last five seasons.

  • Juanan Bengaluru FC NorthEast United FC ISL 4 2017/2018

    #2 Bengaluru FC (Juanan, Brown and Augusto)

    Last year's semifinalists Bengaluru FC also have three players on long-term contracts.

    Imposing central defender Juanan Gonzalez is not a surprising name in the last. He had an excellent season last time around and the 32-year-old has been an integral part of the Blues since joining in 2016.

    Jamaican striker Deshorn Brown also has another year on his contract with Bengaluru FC. He joined this side in January 2020 only and was brought in on a long-term deal despite being a mid-season signing.

    The Blues poached Brazilian playmaker Raphael Augusto from rivals Chennaiyin FC on a two-year-deal before the start of the previous season and his contract is set to run till the end of the upcoming campaign. The 29-year-old was injured for most parts of the season and could not really make an impact at the club.

  • Hugo Boumous v Hyderabad FC

    #3 FC Goa (Boumous)

    The Gaurs, who won the league stage of the ISL last season and qualified for the AFC Champions League, should have their most-prized asset going into the next season.

    The 24-year-old Hugo Boumous was named the Hero of the League with 11 goals and 10 assists to his name. The Moroccan attacking midfielder is on a long-term deal at the Gaurs and should lead their charge next season as well.

  • Paulo Machado Mumbai City FC

    #4 Mumbai City (Machado)

    Though Mumbai City opted to bid adieu to Portuguese coach Jorge Costa at the end of the previous season, his compatriot Paulo Machado should be in the Islanders' squad next season.

    The 33-year-old midfielder has been a standout performer in the 2018-19 Mumbai and although he was injured for most parts of the 2019-20 season, it is not a huge surprise to see the club retain his services for the upcoming season as well.

  • Roy Krishna ATK

    #5 ATK (Krishna, Williams, Javi, Johnson, McHugh)

    Defending champions ATK have five of their foreign players on long-term contracts.

    Red-hot strikers, Roy Krishna and David Williams, are on long-term deals with the Kolkata-based club and with the Fijian-Aussie duo contributing 22 goals between them, it shouldn't be a surprise to see them in the ATK colours next season.

    Spanish midfielder Javi Hernandez, who scored two goals in the final against Chennaiyin FC, is also tied up on a long-term deal and so is Irish defensive midfielder Carl McHugh despite him missing a fair chunk of the season due to injury.

    Central defender John Johnson, who played a key role in ATK's defence towards the business end of the season, also has another year on his contract.

  • Nestor Gordillo Hyderabad FC

    #6 Hyderabad FC (Gordillo)

    Latest ISL entrants Hyderabad FC had a forgetful debut campaign last time out, finishing tenth with just 10 points in 18 games. WIth a new coach in Albert Roca coming in, we could see a reshuffle of their squad especially when it comes to foreign players.

    However, one overseas player who is on a long-term deal is Spanish midfielder Nestor Gordillo. The 30-year-old had limited impact last season after he missed half a season due to a ban imposed on him by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

    But he will hope to become a key player under Roca.

  • Aitor Monroy Jamshedpur FC

    #7 Jamshedpur FC (Monroy, Grande)

    Two players on long-term deals with the Men of Steel are midfielder Aitor Monroy and forward David Grande.

    Monroy, 32, was a steady presence for Jamshedpur FC last season and has another year left on his contract. The same is the case with the 29-year-old Grande who was brought in on a long-term deal despite coming in as a mid-season signing in January this year.


  • Diawandou Diagne of Odisha FC

    #8 Odisha FC (Diagne)

    Odisha FC have one overseas player on a long-term deal in the versatile Senegalese Diawandou Diagne.

    The 25-year-old, who played as a full-back and a central defender at times under Josep Gombau, was injured for quite some time during the season. But he is under a long-term deal with the Bhubaneswar-based club.

  • Nerijus Valskis Chennaiyin

    #9 Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United

    NorthEast United and last year's finalists Chennaiyin FC do not have any of their overseas players from last season on long-term deals.

    The two clubs are yet to retain any of their standout performers too.