After a spirited league stage in the Hero ISL which included a club record 9-game unbeaten run, the injury-marred end of the season was rather anti-climactic for Jorge Costa and Mumbai City FC. A semifinal defeat at the hands of FC Goa followed by a quick Hero Super Cup exit against Chennaiyin FC paved the way for a busy summer in the Islanders’ boardroom.
With the transfer window shut coming to a close over the weekend, here’s a rundown of the business done over the summer..
A crucial piece of business by Jorge Costa and the Islanders in the summer, Paulo Machado was handed a two-year extension by the club. A natural leader on and off the pitch for Mumbai City FC, Machado shared the captaincy duties last season with Amrinder Singh and his influence on the Islanders’ performances was unrivalled.
Machado featured in every single game for the Islanders in the Hero ISL and to show for it, he racked up 4 assists, 2 goals and one unforgettable celebration. Rest assured, the Islanders’ faithful can hope of seeing the Moustaki Walk once again at the Arena!
An important retention was made by the club in tying down the Islanders’ all-time top goalscorer, Modou Sougou. The Senegalese forward was the tormentor-in-chief for most teams’ defences in the league last season and ended his campaign with an impressive 12 goals.
Sougou wrote himself in the Islanders’ folklore with a hat-trick against ATK in a must-win game and a four-goal haul against Kerala Blasters becoming the first player ever in the league’s history to score four in a single game. Sougou’s goalscoring prowess will be vital to Jorge Costa who will be gunning for play-off spot, or more.
Anwar Ali Jr.
While he was officially signed in August 2018, Anwar Ali Jr. was loaned out to the Indian Arrows, the AIFF’s developmental squad for the entirety of the 2018-19 season, making 21 appearances.
The highly-rated 19 year-old returns to the Islanders from loan for his first full season with the club and will face a stern test to be a part of Jorge Costa’s new-look centre-back pairing.
The club announced the signing of Indian international Rowllin Borges from NorthEast United on a 3 year deal on June 5, making him the first signing of the summer for the Islanders. A midfielder by trade, Borges is expected to play a crucial part in the engine room of the team, however not without expecting stiff competition for his position in the XI.
The Goan Borges was a key cog in the NEUFC machinery last season under Eelco Schattorie playing each minute of their Hero ISL league stague, racking up 5 goals and 2 assists in 20 appearances one of his strikes came against the Islanders at the Mumbai Football Arena in a game that ended 2-0 to the visitors.
The Islanders added depth to the midfield after announcing the acquisition of Sourav Das from I League side Mohun Bagan on June 7. The 23 year old from Howrah signed has with the club for the next 3 years and is among the players expected to fight it out for the limited positions in the middle of the park.
The tireless midfielder graduated from the Tata Football Academy and spent the last three seasons with Bagan, making 16 apperances over the years for the Mariners.
The club roped in 19 year old Hmingthan Mawia, or Valpuia as he’s fondly called, from former I League champions, Aizawl FC. A product of the Aizawal youth set up, Valpuia made the rise to the club’s first team at the age of 17 and has been an intergal part of the Mizoram-based club ever since.
With an ability to play anywhere across the back line, Valpuia arrives at the club on a two-year deal and the promising youngster would do well to impress Jorge Costa and become a regular for the Islanders.
The Islanders added another solid Indian midfielder in the form of Surchandra Singh, signing the 25 year old from I League side Real Kashmir. Surchandra brings a certain amount of versatility to the Islanders’ midfield with his ability to operate primarily as a winger but also as a box-to-box midfielder.
The Manipuri midfielder has previously played in the I League with DSK Shivajians, Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan before plying his trade with the Snow Leopards last season for whom he made 16 appearances and found the back of the net thrice.
The club completed the capture of Croatian centre-back Mato Grgić from NorthEast United on June 17, making him the first international signing of the 2019 summer transfer window. Grgić arrives with not just the know-how of playing in the Hero ISL but with a plethora of experience in Europe in a career spanning nearly a decade and a half.
Grgić amassed 19 games for the Highlanders and his contributions were key as NEUFC made a historic first ever semifinal appearance last season. A robust figure in the heart of the defence, the 31-year old will be a key figure on the pitch for the Islanders and crucial to the club’s chance of making it to a second consecutive play-off.
With squad depth proving to be an issue at the end of last season, especially in defence, the Islanders reinforced the back line with the signing of Indian international Sarthak Golui from FC Pune City. The 21-year old featured for the Stallions for two seasons, primarily as a right-sided full-back but has the ability to play in the middle too.
For a defender, Golui showed plenty of attacking prowess in his time at the Balewadi Stadium, racking up 5 assists and a solitary goal over 29 games in two years.
In a double swoop by the Islanders, Diego Carlos made the switch from Pune along with Sarthak Golui on June 19. The Brazilian, much like Golui, took to the pitch for FC Pune City for in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
The 31-year old started off in his native Brazil but has played in Russia for a large part of his professional career. A left-sided winger, Carlos displayed his flair and trickery with the Stallions for two years and will bring the Samba magic to the Mumbai Football Arena.
Mumbai City FC strengthened the club’s attacking contingent by completing the signing of experienced forward Amine Chermiti on August 9.
A CAF Champions League winner and a runner-up in the AFC Champions League, the 31-year old Tunisian hitman comes with the experience of playing in the Bundesliga, the Swiss Super League and the UEFA Europa League amongst other high-profile competitions.
It’s a mouthwatering prospect for the Islanders’ faithful to see whether the Tunisian international can forge a lethal partnership with club’s all-time top scorer Modou Sougou who was retained earlier in the summer and new arrival Diego Carlos.
The Islanders completed the signing of local lad Pratik Chaudhari on a 1-year deal, making him the third Mumbai-born player in the squad after Raynier Fernandes and Kunal Sawant.
Chaudhari, who started his career with Mumbai-based side Air India, has played across a host of clubs in the I League and in the Indian Super League as well. The 29-year old defender brings versatility and experience to side which kept 8 clean sheets last season.
Serge Kevyn Angoue
Jorge Costa’s side completed the fourth foreign signing of the summer and the sixth overall in the form of Gabonese international Serge Kevyn Angoue on August 24. The 25-year old attacker comes off the back of a stint with Libyan club Al-Ittihad and Portuguese side UD Leiria.
With pace to burn and an ability to play on both sides and down the middle in the attacking set up, Kevyn’s arrival provides an attacking influx to the squad.
The Islanders closed out the 2019 summer transfer window with the signing of dynamic young midfielder Bidyananda Singh. Moving up the ranks at the Sports Authority of India and later at the AIFF Elite Academy, the 21-year old midfielder had a title-winning stint with ATK, incidentally making his league debut against the Islanders.
Bidyananda brings an impeccable eye for a ball, an incredible work rate and bags of potential with him, making him an exciting addition to the Islanders’ roster.
A late addition to the squad in the 2018-19 season, Joyner played a crucial part in the heart of the defence throughout the season, especially in the record-breaking nine game unbeaten run. He joins fellow ISL side Jamshedpur FC.
Most assists in the league and the Fans’ Player of the Season - Arnold’s contribution was unparalleled in taking the Islanders to the club’s second play-off appearance. The 27 year old makes the move back to Europe with French 2nd Division side SM Caen.
After making a club-record 53 appearances and scoring three goals in the blue of the Islanders including a memorable last-minute winner against NorthEast United in 2017-18, Romanian centre-back Lucian Goian leaves the club after three seasons. He joins league rivals Chennaiyin FC.
As the joint second-highest appearances for the club (43), Sehnaj Singh ends his stay with the Islanders after two play-off appearances in three seasons. The 26 year old goes cross-country to the east and will ply his trade with ATK.
A regular in the midfield, Milan Singh made 16 appearances for the club and gave the fans some performances to remember. He returns to NorthEast United FC for his second stint at the club after the inaugural season of the Hero ISL.
Anwar Ali Sr.
Anwar Ali returned to the Islanders at the start of the 2018-19 seasons for his second stint with the club after the 2016 season and made it two play-off appearances in two terms. The highlight of his season was undoubtedly a robust performance at the back in the memorable 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC. Anwar returns to his home state and joins former I League champions Minerva Punjab.
Sanju Pradhan was brought in by the Islanders at the 2017 Hero ISL Draft. Since then, the pacy midfielder has gone on to represent the club on 29 occassions. The 30-year old moves north to Minerva Punjab.
Matias Mirabaje hadan intermittent impact on the Islanders’ 2018-19 season and gave a performance to remember in the 6-1 win over Kerala Blasters, capping it off with a thunderous long-range strike. Mirabaje moves back to his homeland to join Uruguayan club Racing Club de Montevideo.
The Serbian Klisura managed just 3 appearances under Jorge Costa. The 26 year old completed his move to Macedonian side Rabotnicki Skopje.