Kerala Blasters' marquee player-manager David James was quick to snap up fellow countryman and experienced striker Michael Chopra in the Indian Super League's foreign player draft.
Chopra, who has Indian parentage, is a former Newcastle United, Sunderland and Cardiff City player. He has also played for Watford, Nottingham Forest, Barnsley, Ipswich Town and Blackpool.
"The international draft came and the first name was Michael Chopra. To pick him is a tremendous achievement for us. He also wants to help in setting up academies and growing football in India. As part of the Kerala Blasters legacy, with Chopra’s experience and enthusiasm to improve Indian football — he's a great addition to a wonderful team," James said.
Kerala also signed Canadian striker Ian Hume, Spaniard Víctor Herrero Forcada and young Brazilian Erwin Spitzner.
The international draft saw 49 players being sold for a combined Rs 16 crore, Team Goa spending the most at Rs 2.46 crore for seven players.
Former PSG, Bolton Wanderers and Hull City defender Bernardy Mendy went to the newly announced Team Chennai and so did former Manchester United attacking midfielder Bojan Djordjic. The team which will replace Bengaluru FC after Sun Group pulled out of the ISL went straight for the big names — also signing former Marseille goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano.
Atletico de Kolkata signed two more Spaniards in striker Arnal Llibert Conde Carbó and right-back José Miguel González Rey (better known as Josemi) — the latter a Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005. The signing of Spanish players goes in tandem with their support staff — manager Antonio Lopez and Miguel Martinez also from the same country.
North East United continued with their tradition of signing squad players, adding Senegalese international Massamba Sambou for defence and 20-year-old Korean winger Do Dong-Hyun.
Team Mumbai's biggest signings yet are the exciting young Argentine striker Diego Nadaya and Czech centre-back Pavel Čmovš. Both are 24-years-old but already have a combined 215 appearances at club level.
Delhi went for 20-year-old Brazilian Gustavo Marmentini dos Santos. The attacking midfielder has come through the youth ranks of CA Paranaense.
All the players getting signed today are in addition to the marquee players they have already announced.
International Player Draft list:
Atletico de Kolkata: Borja Fernandez, Jofre Mateu González, José Miguel González Rey, Arnal Llibert Conde Carbó, Sylvain Monsoreau, Jakub Podaný, Apoula Edima Edel Bete.
Team Chennai: Bernard Mendy, Cristian Hidalgo González Gennaro Bracigliano, Bojan Djordjic, Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima, Jairo Andrés Suarez Carvajal, Eduardo Silva Lerma.
Delhi Dynamos FC: Mads Junker, Morten Skoubo, Bruno Herrero Arias, Gustavo Marmentini dos Santos, Marek Cech Pavel Eliáš, Henrique Dinis Oliveira Dias.
Team Goa: Miroslav Slepicka, Jan Šeda, Bruno Filipe, Tavares Pinheiro, Youness Bengelloun, Miguel Bruno Pereira Herlein, Grégory Arnolin, Edgar Carvalho Figueira Marcelino.
Kerala Blasters FC: Michael Chopra, Iain Hume, Víctor Herrero Forcada, Erwin Spitzner, Pedro Adriano Veloso Gusmão, Cédric Hengbart, Raphael Romey.
Mumbai City FC: Diego Fernando Nadal, Jan Štohanzl, Francisco Javier Fernández Luque, Pavel Cmovš, Johann Letzelter, André Matos Dias Pereira, Ilias Pollalis,
North East United FC: Isaac Chansa, Cornell Glen, Massamba Lô Sambou, Do Dong-Hyun, Guilherme Felipe de Castro, Tomáš Josl, Luis Alfredo Yánes Padilla.
FC Pune City: Bruno Cirillo, Emanuele Belardi, Iván Bolado Palacios, Saïdou Mady Panandetiguiri, Omar Andres Rodriguez Martinez, Andrés Felipe González Ramírez, Park Kwang-IL