Lots and Lots of Signings: Josep Gombau, Iain Hume, Gerson Vieira, Mourtada Fall, Robin Singh

Do you know what the problem with East Bengal (and Mohun Bagan) is? They have this high opinion of themselves that is based on nothing but tradition. Neither of these clubs has performed well in the last decades barring one-off titles here or there. Other much poorly funded teams from hitherto unknown footballing parts of the country and overshadowed them. And, they still think they can call the shots…

Latest is the slightly subtle suggestion from the East Bengal camp that they’re looking to play in the Indian Super League in the coming season. Never mind that it is damn late now. Never mind that the organisers and the AIFF have suggested that there will be no new entrants in this season. They’ve just suggested that they will try this year.

To be fair to them, though, they’ve not claimed it to be a set thing, also making the “if not this then the next year” statement along the way. I personally hate the sense of entitlement that I see everywhere. I see it in politicians, political parties, footballers, football clubs, and even millennials. East Bengal’s sense of entitlement is quite geriatric though.

Elsewhere, one (juan, perhaps?) Angel Rangel was seen training with Bengaluru FC in their kit. The rumour mill is churning but what I want to know is why would parents give their son the same name twice? It’s the same as why would parents name their son after a fried rodent – Chris Pratt? If you didn’t get that one, say his name out loud.

Anyway, onto the newcomers in the ISL…

Iain Hume to FC Pune City from the Medical Table

You can see this is a gigantic coup or you can see it as a risk. It depends on where your heart lies. I see it as a risky coup, not unlike a risky soup – you know how sometimes you experiment with a soup expecting to discover something really unique and wonderful only to realise it has some god-awful thing like tofu floating in what can only be best described as sewage water? What? Never did it? Try it. It’s a life experience everyone should have – experimenting with soups.

It’s a coup because Hume is not only the player with the most goals (28) in ISL history but also the player with the most appearances (58). It is risky because Hume’s last season was cut short by a knee injury. He has spent the last six months recovering which shows that the injury was serious.

More importantly, he will turn 35 soon after the new season begins. A serious joint injury at that age can be career ending, not immediately but slowly because complete recovery becomes very difficult.

What’s more, Hume’s style of play is all action. He presses as hard as he runs after lost causes and through balls. That style of play is difficult to maintain with an ageing body and a serious injury to boot. It would be curious to see how Hume fares.

This is probably why the contract length is of only one year with an option of one-year extension. It’s likely that Hume asked for two years while the club only wanted to give one. 1 + 1 is a decent compromise for both parties.

Robin Singh to FC Pune City from ATK

Before the news about Iain Hume broke, FC Pune City signed Robin Singh. I don’t know what the plan will be with Singh or how he will be used but I know that he hasn’t played all that well in the ISL till now.

He has played a total of 40 games in the Indian Super League and has only scored six goals. That is a very poor return for an out and out strike as it means that he scores a goal every 419 minutes! It’s not like drops assists after assists either. He has one assist in all those appearances.

While the end product may not be there for Singh, he does put in a shift and acts as the focal point for attacks. He is a conventional target man and probably needs the right set up around him to make a difference. Maybe if Pune combines him with Hume and Marcelinho both, he’ll turn into a goal-machine. I doubt it.

Josep Gombau to Delhi Dynamos FC from Australia

Another Indian Super League season and another Spaniard coach – it seems that this is the MVP combination for our league. Josep Gombau has just taken over the reins of Delhi Dynamos FC. I don’t know much about him except for the usual career history.

The man comes to Delhi after making a name for himself in Australia. He was not only the Assistant Manager for the Australian National Team but also managed their Under 23 side. He was also the manager for Australian clubs, Western Sydney and Adelaide United. Before that he owned the Hong Kong domestic setup with Kitchee.

I do know, however, that he tends to play 4-3-3 formation with a slightly increased focus on offence. The way I see it, this is another safe acquisition from Delhi Dynamos FC. Honestly, their long term strategy confounds me. I think they’re just massive misers.

Gerson Vieira to ATK from Japan

Whatever you say, Gerson Vieira is a guy who likes to travel. Initially in his career, he did back and forth between Uruguay and Brazil. Then he did some back and forth between India and Brazil. Following that he went to Japan and now he is back in India. Man, I thought my wife liked to change her mind every second. Now, I wonder what Vieira’s wife feels like. Bet she’s as set as a boulder to keep up with his butterfly style of living.

Gerson Vieira is back in India with ATK. He’s a centre back who can play at right-back as well as in midfield. Last, he played in India was for Mumbai City FC. I don’t know why he left and I don’t want to research that because frankly this post is running very long and I’m getting tired.

Vieira is also prone to get cards and in that, I think he’ll fit wonderfully well in the ATK setup. Gerson showed while playing for Mumbai City FC and even captained the side a few times which is a sign of how important he was to them. Vieira also fits the mould of the kind of player that Steve Coppell likes.

Mourtada Fall to FC Goa from Morocco

It seems like Sergio Lobera is really milking his relationship with Moghreb Tetouan. After getting Ahmed Jahouh from that team, he has now roped in the Senegalese defender, Mourtada Fall. Obviously, Lobera will be hoping that Fall turns out to be as upstanding and outstanding as Jahouh.

In fact, he’ll probably expect those two to form a good understanding since Jahouh is a defensive midfielder and Fall a central defender. I won’t be surprised if they do, considering the fact that they’ll both probably end up having Kings Beer and discussing how all the Tetouanis are doing.

Fall should be aright fitness wise. He will be 31 this year and since central defence doesn’t require a lot of stamina, I expect him to not struggle for fitness. Seems like a tall chap too. Let’s see how it pans out, especially since he may have to stop Kattimani from scoring in every game.

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