For fans of ATK it was most certainly a season to forget. Last time of asking they could only manage a sixth-place finish in the Indian Super League (ISL) — and could hardly say they set the world alight in doing so. But from the burning embers of mid-table mediocrity comes a renewed sense of hope — and they have certainly got that this summer ahead of the new campaign, with an exciting recruitment drive that has supporters growing in confidence as the new campaign approaches.
But don’t be fooled by last season’s failure. There is a history of success at the club — remember, they are the most successful side in the ISL, sharing the prestigious record along with Chennaiyin FC — both have claimed two titles. Now they have silverware in their sights once more, seemingly — witness the newest recruit in the shape of Australian international goal-getter Dario Vidosic, who has made the switch from Melbourne City FC.
Vidosic, who is aged 32, is the latest to swap set-ups from Down Under’s A-League. He will join Kolkata-based ATK (on a free transfer) and become the third such player to do so, following in the footsteps Roy Krishna, who was the leading marksman in Australia’s top division last term, and ex-Australia ace David Williams.
Meanwhile, ATK aren’t the only outfit looking to bolster their squad ahead of the new season. Kerala Blasters have not been shy in bringing in new faces to the club and the latest to put pen to paper ex-NorthEast United FC keeper TP Rehenesh. He is the third custodian on the books of the club following the arrival of Bilal Khan and Shibinraj Kunniyil.
Elsewhere, Delhi Dynamos prefer to go down the road that looks at developing younger talent as they gear up for the upcoming campaign — and that is certainly the case with the acquisition of Minerva Punjab keeper Arshdeep Singh, aged 22. He will team up with players such as Xisco Hernandez, Diawandou Diagne, Martin Guedesas and Carlos Delgado as new recruits to Josep Gombau’s side. When you consider that the Delhi Dynamos have endured miserable form in the past two seasons — in which they have finished eighth on both occasions — it isn’t hard to see why they have invested in new faces.
Spanish head coach Gombau, a former coach at Barcelona’s youth set-up, said he was delighted to wrap up a deal for former Valencia ace Delgado. He added:
“It’s a pleasure to have Carlos with us. He is a player with a lot of experience in the Spanish league, having played a lot of games in the Segunda division. He is a very strong left central defender with a very good control over the ball.”