ISL 2020-21: An English wave, via Australia
ISL 2020: Sportstar takes a look at the best foreign signings to look out for in the seventh edition of the country’s cash-rich premier division.
Adam Le Fondre of Reading shoots at goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Everton at Madejski Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Reading, England.
Numerous international stalwarts such as Alessandro Del Piero, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires and Marco Materazzi, among others, have plied their trade in the Indian Super League (ISL). The 2020-21 season too will feature some prominent foreign names over the course of 115 games played in Goa. We take a look at the best foreign signings to look out for in the seventh edition of the country’s cash-rich premier division.
Club: FC Goa
The Spaniard was roped in by FC Goa from Polish club Gornik Zabrze to replace striker Ferran Corominas, the all-time top-scorer in the history of ISL. The 36-year-old Angulo netted 88 goals in 154 games during his stint in Poland and also represented Athletic Bilbao in La Liga between 2003 and 2008. The Gaurs’ new striker, who has featured for Spain’s under-19, -20 and -21 teams, has also had spells in Greece, France and Cyprus. Angulo played a pivotal role in helping Zabrze qualify for the UEFA Europa League after two decades, and two-time ISL runner-up Goa will hope the veteran forward is able to fill the void left by Corominas’ departure and guide the team to glory this year.
Igor Angulo of Gornik Zabrze reacts during Lotto Ekstraklasa match between Gornik Zabrze and Sandecja Nowy Sacz on March 31, 2018 in ZABRZE, Poland. (Photo by Norbert Barczyk/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images) | Photo Credit: MB Media
Club: Kerala Blasters
Gary Hooper is among a bunch of A-League players who moved to the ISL over the 2020 summer. The 32-year-old Englishman, who signed for two-time ISL runner-up Kerala Blasters FC, arrived from Wellington Phoenix, for whom he scored eight goals in 21 matches. The Blasters’ lucrative recruit is a former Premier League player, having represented Norwich City between 2013 and 2016. However, Hooper was at his best with Scottish Premiership giant Celtic, for whom he blasted 63 goals in 95 matches before heading to Norwich. A former Sheffield Wednesday striker as well, Hooper has UEFA Champions League and Europa League experience under his belt and will operate as the Yellow Army’s mainstay forward after Bartholomew Ogbeche’s transfer to Mumbai City FC.
Kerala Blasters' Gary Hooper.
Club: Odisha FC
Another Englishman who moved from Wellington Phoenix to the ISL, the 34-year-old Taylor signed for Odisha FC for the 2020-21 season in the summer. The prolific defender, a product of the Newcastle United youth academy, made his professional debut for the Magpies as a 17-year-old in 2003 and went on to register 215 appearances for the club. Taylor has also plied his trade in Major League Soccer in the US, having played for Portland Timbers’ first and reserve teams in 2016. Taylor, who has featured for England’s under-16-17, -20 and -21 sides, and donned the England B jersey for a solitary game in 2007, will line up alongside Australian centre-back Jacob Tratt and other Indian defenders for the Kalinga Warriors.
Steven Taylor of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and West Bromwich Albion FC at St James' Park on February 6, 2016 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images) | Photo Credit: Mark Runnacles
Adam le Fondre
Club: Mumbai City
Mumbai City FC has secured the services of Adam le Fondre, a 33-year-old Englishman with 53 appearances and 36 goals to his name in the A-League, on a loan deal from Sydney FC. Le Fondre has spent a fair amount of time with prominent English clubs such as Cardiff City, Bolton Wanderers, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic. The former Reading striker has featured in 34 Premier League games, scoring 12 goals and crafting two assists. Mumbai has already signed Bartholomew Ogbeche, the ISL’s joint top-scorer last season, from Kerala Blasters, and with Fondre joining the ranks, the side now boasts a potent attack.
Club: East Bengal
Holloway spent a year in Australia with Brisbane Roar under Robbie Fowler, and the Welsh striker followed the Liverpool legend to India in the summer. The 27-year-old started his professional career at Bristol City in 2011 and later served spells at Newport County, Wycombe Wanderers, Oldham Athletic, Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury Town. Holloway has also played for his under-17 and -19 national sides, including in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifiers in 2011 and 2012. Holloway will have the likes of Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh and C. K. Vineeth for company in East Bengal’s final third.
Aaron Amadi-Holloway poses during the Brisbane Roar 2019/20 A-League Headshots Session at Logan Metro Sports Park on September 30, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images | Photo Credit: Chris Hyde