The fifth season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is expected to commence in less than eight week’s time. However, two clubs, FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC, have a few niggling issues they need to resolve.
Bruno Pinheiro, the former Portugal U20 defender re-joined FC Goa last season after having turned out for them in the inaugural edition of the ISL in 2014. The 30-year-old could garner only nine league starts in 2017-18 in contrast to him playing in all the league games during his first stint.
Under coach Sergio Lobera, Pinheiro was the first choice for the initial part of the season before an injury to him helped Sergi ‘Chechi’ Juste cement his spot in the first team. Pinheiro did get his chance again in the Super Cup once a handful of the foreigners departed.
He was given captaincy duties but fell in the middle of a controversy when he was dished out a three-match ban after being involved in the half-time scuffle in the tunnel during the quarter-final against Jamshedpur FC.
The former Hapoel Haifa man enters the final year of his contract and is yearning for more game time this upcoming season. “He wants more playing time which we can’t guarantee, of course, so we are trying to find a solution where both benefit,” an FC Goa official commented on the situation.
The signings of Carlos Pena and Mourtada Fall push Pinheiro further behind the pecking order and it remains to be seen if his name appears on the final squad list, which is to be submitted to the ISL by 1st September.
On the other hand, Jamshedpur FC are more than keen to offload Wellington Priori. Former coach Steve Coppell brought the Brazilian in during the winter transfer window and he proved to be a hit, scoring three goals in nine ISL appearances.
Coppell though has moved on to ATK and the Red Miners have brought in former Atletico de Madrid manager Cesar Ferrando. While Priori’s game thrived under the defensive-style football under Coppell, the Jamshedpur FC management fears the 28-year-old will be ill-suited to the new Spanish coach’s tactics.
“He (Priori) signed a contract till the end of the season. But nothing is confirmed yet. We fly out to Madrid for pre-season training in mid-August and it will depend on the coach if he wants to keep him or not,” revealed a source close to Goal.
However, Goal can confirm that Jamshedpur FC have reached out to other ISL clubs, offering Wellington Priori. Similarly, FC Goa are also offering Bruno Pinheiro to ISL clubs.
It would not be a surprise if Pinheiro and Priori leave FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC in the coming weeks.
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