Before the January transfer window, Kerala Blasters struck an interesting swap deal …
Two teams that have had two completely different types of seasons so far have entered into a transfer deal that has seen players swap jerseys ahead of the January transfer window in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 .
ATK Mohun Bagan leads the table with 17 points from eight matches and has lost just one game. Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, recently ended their winless run and are ninth with seven points. And these two teams have traded players with more than half of the season to go.
Kerala Blasters has allowed Indian winger Nongdamba Naorem, who is only 20, to join ATK Mohun Bagan on loan until the end of the season. Although this is a loan deal, there is a catch. Noarem, who started three appearances this season for the Yellows after spending the previous season on loan at Bagan, is in the final year of his contract.
His contract with Blasters ends at the end of the season and the youngster is free to negotiate a deal with Bagan. It’s a bitter end to his Blasters career after joining the team two years ago amid a lot of fanfare.
Despite having started three matches for the Blasters and being a talented youngster, given the team’s poor start to the season, it seemed increasingly unlikely that Noarem would be a key part of Vicuna’s plans for the rest of the season. With Facundo Pereyra and Sahal Abdul Samad used on the left flank, Noarem reportedly continued to spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.
For the player, however, whether his minutes on the pitch will see any improvement with the league leaders will be another point to consider. The latest youngster who left Blasters to join Bagan – Dheeraj Singh – has played one game and spent 20 games on the bench and is set to leave the club. However, Michael Soosairaj’s injury has opened a door on the left flank of Antonio Habas’ system and Noarem will try to take advantage of any opportunity he gets.
The Indian player’s vacant spot on the Blasters squad will be filled by incoming striker Subha Ghosh. The 20-year-old forward has been off the bench eight times and has scored three times for Mohun Bagan’s side who won the I-League title last season under Vicuna.
Blasters not only received a transfer fee for Noarem whose contract is at the end of the season, but also signed a player who will be with the club until 2023. Santa has been generous this year.
Ghosh won’t set Blasters on fire immediately upon arrival, but he can be a useful alternative for Vicuna who has known the player well from his days in Bagan. Gary Hooper struggled to lead the line at Blasters and Jordan Murray, 25, recently replaced the Englishman in the roster as the team claimed their first win of the season.
The Australian has done a much better job as a striker and with an Indian striker like Ghosh also on the squad it will be interesting to see how Vicuna sets up his squad.
As a supporter of the Blasters, it would be unwise to expect any immediate impact from Ghosh. But it’s football. You can’t predict what’s going to happen.