I-League to ISL: Indian players who made the move during off-season

As many as 28 players have moved to Indian Super League (ISL) from I-League during the off-season including the likes of Jobby Justin and Bilal Khan.

Jobby Justin was I-League’s top Indian goal-scorer last season with nine strikes for East Bengal, which finished second in the points table.   -  AIFF Media

The new I-League campaign will be shorn of local talent, who cut their teeth in the competition, which was until last season the top-tier league in the country. As many as 28 Indian players moved to the Indian Super League (ISL) during the off-season.

Some of the high profile names to undergo transfers were Jobby Justin, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Bilal Khan, Arjun Jayaraj and Gaurav Bora.

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Jobby was I-League’s top Indian goal-scorer last season with nine strikes for East Bengal, which finished second in the points table. His transfer to ATK in the summer wasn't smooth as a legal battle was drawn out with his former employer as to which club he would play for in the 2019-20 season.

Edwin moved from I-League champion Chennai City FC to ISL’s bottom-placed club Chennaiyin FC. Edwin was a revelation at Chennai City, impressing in an unfamiliar right-back role; notching up six assists. His defensive partner Bora, who scored the match-winning goals on the final day of the season, returned to FC Pune City after his loan spell came to an end before joining Odisha FC.

Khan was voted the goal-keeper of the season after his nine clean-sheets helped newly-promoted Real Kashmir FC finish third. Kashmir boasted the tightest defensive record in the division conceding just 14 goals and the on-loan custodian from Pune City played a pivotal role to the cause. The 25-year-old earned a move to Kerala Blasters in the summer.

Midfielder Jayaraj was a fan-favourite in Kozhikode-based club Gokulam Kerala, who caught the eyes of ISL clubs at his first season at the club in 2017. His former coach Bino George earmarked him for a potential big-money move last season and Jayaraj got his transfer in July to Kerala Blasters.

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FC Goa made just three signings in the summer and one among them was of Alexander Romario Jesuraj, who had a breakthrough season at Chennai City as a right-winger. Romario penned a three-year deal with the ISL runner-up before being loaned out to Mohun Bagan for the upcoming season.

List of transfers from I-League to ISL

Arjun Jayaraj (Gokulam Kerala to Kerala Blasters)

Bilal Khan (Real Kashmir to Kerala Blasters)

Shibin Raj Kunniyil (Gokulam Kerala to Kerala Blasters)

Lovepreet Singh (Indian Arrows to Kerala Blasters)

Edwin Sydney (Chennai City FC to Chennaiyin FC)

Samuel Lalmuanpuia (Shillong Lajong to Kerala Blasters)

Suresh Singh Wangjam (Indian Arrows to Bengaluru FC)

Narender Gahlot (Indian Arrows to Jamshedpur FC)

Amarjit Singh (Indian Arrows (on-loan) to Jamshedpur FC)

Jitendra Singh (Indian Arrows to Jamshedpur FC)

Michael Regin (Chennai City FC to ATK)

Jobby Justin (East Bengal to ATK)

Salam Ranjan Singh (East Bengal to ATK)

Alexander Romario Jesuraj (Chennai City FC to FC Goa)

Aibanbha Dohling (Shillong Lajong to FC Goa)

Lalengmawia (Indian Arrows to NEUFC)

Rakesh Pradhan (Shillong Lajong to NEUFC)

Ninthoinganba Meetei (Indian Arrows to NEUFC)

Sourav Das (Mohun Bagan to Mumbai City FC)

Surchandra Singh (Real Kashmir to Mumbai City FC)

Hmingthanmawia (Aizawl FC to Mumbai City FC)

Gaurav Bora (Chennai City (on-loan from FC Pune City) to Odisha FC)

Arshdeep Singh (Minerva Punjab to Odisha FC)

Laldanmawia Ralte (East Bengal to Hyderabad FC)

Gani Nigam (Gokulam Kerala to Hyderabad FC)

Ashish Rai (Indian Arrows to Hyderabad FC)

Tarif Akhand (Chennai City to Hyderabad FC)

Abhash Thapa (Real Kashmir to Hyderabad FC)

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