KERALA BLASTERS : Kerala Blasters have missed being ISL champions twice – both times against ATK. 2016 was the best display by the club under Steve Coppell. However, the club this time will be coached by Rene Meulensteen. They have retained CK Vineeth in striker position and Sandesh Jingham in central defence. With a new coach and not having singed any international players yet, it’s difficult to predict what strategy the club will go with on Sunday. But they could be out in market to sign best of Indian players available starting Round 3 and look for foreign players later according to the positions left in the formation.
BENGALURU FC : Though this is the debut year in ISL but theyaren’t new to Indian football, having dominated the landscape for the last 3 years. Coached by Albert Roca, BFC has gone for the outfield players in retaining country’s best striker Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh showcasing that they are probably working on a different strategy compared to others. Entering in Round 3, however one would assume they will look at securing one of the top three goalkeeper first. BFC has already singed foreign players for central defence positions - they will be looking at the full back and wingers at the draft.
FC GOA : The 2015 finalist have a new coach in Sergio Rodriguez. FC Goa have retained goalkeeper Laxmikanth Katimani (keeper) and Mandar Rao Desai (left winger) and have already registered 3 foreign players for centre positions.The Goan side will now look at completing the wide positions ie full back and wingers through the Indian players’draft. They are looking at creative young players and it won’t be surprising if the club think-tank stay away from big spending in the draft.
FC PUNE CITY :The club is looking at a complete overhaul. Continuing with their coach Antonio Habas for second season, FC Pune City surprised the football fans when they retained only a young keeper in Vishal Kaith as against some of the national players in their rank. Habas believes in defensive Indian players and foreigners upfront. At the Draft, Habas is likely to go for full backs and defensive midfield Indians, while keeping the creative positions ie wingers and striker for international players. Pune will entre in Round 2 of Draft.
CHENNAIYIN FC : The 2015 champions have done well by retaining their main striker Jeje and goalkeeper Kamaljit. Chennaiyin FC will probably look at having international players in centre pitch and Indians on the wide. They will be keen to have Indians at full backs and wingers. Chennai will enter in Round 4 of the draft – having retained a capped U21 player Jerry. It will be interesting to see how the clubs transition take placed from Marco Materazzi to John Gregory.
DELHI DYNAMOS : It’s a new beginning for Delhi. From change in ownership to changing the entire squad, for Delhi ISL season 4 is no less than the first year of the league. They are the only club along with Jamshedpur FC to feature from Round 1 of the Draft and is expected to go all out for best Indian talents. It will be surprising if they don’t sign up a goalkeeper in the first pick.
JAMSHEDPUR FC : New in ISL but not new to Indian football, the Tata Steel owned club probably has the best knowledge of Indian player talents considering their legacy of nurturing and producing players for decades. Coached by an experienced Steve Coppell, Jamshedpur FC have the opportunity to pick first in the first two round, and are likely to go for central defender and a goalkeeper immediately. Coppell might also bring in his tried and tested international players who were part of Kerala Blasters previous season. This club is to watch out for.
NORTH EAST UNITED SC : Northeast United flavour has always been the local talent from the region. However, considering NorthEast players not being very tall, the club has always rallied on big and strong skilful players from international market to fill in centre pitch. At draft, NorthEast will look at Indians on out wide. NorthEast having retained goalkeeper and a centre midfielder, will enter in Round 3.
MUMBAI CITY FC : Mumbai is the second club other than Pune to have retained their coach. Mumbai is likely to continue with international players in the attacking upfront. At the Draft, the club from maximum city will try to notch Indians at full back, holding defensive midfield and centre back.Mumbai will enter the draft in round 3.