Footballers from South American countries powerhouses such as Brazil and Colombia along with those from Europe would be a part of the international players draft of the Hero Indian Super League to be held next month.
"We will have the international players draft next month and 49 players would feature in that draft.
Teams were given the option to sign players themselves and seven international players have directly been signed by teams," IMG-R global football vice-president Andy Knee told reporters here today ahead of the Indian player draft.
"That leaves 49 players that we are sorting centrally. We are currently in that process of sorting those players, so we will finalise that in mid-August," he said. "Some of you know the realities of the transfer as governed by FIFA and we would have loved to have all the drafts together at one time.
Frankly, with the international players, the later you wait into the transfer window the better quality you get," he said.
"We are sourcing at the moment in South America, Europe, and recently we have reached agreements with some of the players coming out of Colombia and Brazil. We are making some good progress there. We hope to bring a lot of international quality players to play alongside the domestic quality players," he added.
North East United, FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos have signed two international players each, while Atletico de Kolkata and Team Pune have roped in one international player apiece.
The Pune team has signed up Italian Franco Colomba as their coach, and said they could see a lot more Italian players as they have a technical tie-up with Italian Club Fiorentina.
The franchise's CEO Gaurav Modwel said they have signed Italian centre defender Bruno Cirillo and goalkeeper Francesco Bardi. "We have our strategy in place. We knew we had to sign Indian players before signing the international players. We are happy with our signings," said Chirag Tanna the head of operations for I League team Pune FC.
Tanna was earlier opposed to the IPL style football league. Asked in view of his earlier stand why did Pune FC get involved with the Pune franchise through a tie-up, Tanna said, "earlier there were some issues like lack of clarity. Now they have been sorted out and we are pleased to be part of the league. We are for it as long as it is for the development of Indian football." The two-day player draft process to select the Indian players started today, with 42 players up for grabs on each day.
Knee said that since it isn't an auction, the players have a variable pricing depending on whether they are free agents or on loan from the I League clubs. The price range would be from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Players like Subrata Paul and Gourmangi Singh would command a higher price, it was learnt. The Pune team picked up D Ravanan and Lenny Rodrigues from Churchill Brothers in the first round of the draft process.
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