FC Pune City's bid for the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) title suffered a minor setback yesterday with their attempts to sign striker Adrian Mutu hitting a roadblock.
The renowned striker, who quit Romanian club Petrolul Ploiesti in September, was supposed to have joined the Pune franchise in time for their first match against Delhi Dynamos on Tuesday but according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, the 35-year-old was refused a visa after he turned up at the Indian embassy in Bucharest in a 'visibly drunk' state. Mutu rubbished this report and even posted a picture on Twitter of his Indian visa — a tweet which has now oddly been deleted.
While Pune boast of a world-class striker in David Trezeguet, going by the former Juventus star's lackluster showing in their opening ISL tie, Mutu could have been the perfect partner for Trezeguet upfront. Coach Franco Colomba, admitted that Mutu's introduction now seemed difficult. "I think the arrival of Mutu is very, very difficult now. I don't know with precision, but I don't think he will arrive now. We don't know exactly what the situation is.
FC Pune City's coach Franco Colomba (right) watches marquee player David Trezeguet during a practice session at the Karnataka Sporting Association ground yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan
It is highly probable that he wouldn't join (FC Pune City)," coach Colomba told mid-day yesterday, ahead of his team's ISL clash with Mumbai City FC tomorrow at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Pune's CEO Gaurav Modwel however said that the franchise had not given up hope of signing the striker just yet. "We are working out the transfer matters. It is yet to be seen whether he will join Pune or not. For now, though, it is certain that he will not play tomorrow (vs Mumbai City FC)," Modwel said even as he refused to elaborate on the reasons for the delay in roping in the Romanian.