Kochi: The COVID-19 outbreak might have brought footballing activities to a grinding halt, but it is business as usual for Indian Super League (ISL) clubs who are currently busy with off-season transfer activities, fortifying their squads with the best talents from across the country and around the globe.
One player who is on the radar of every franchise could be Brazilian striker Marcelinho, who needs no introduction to the ISL fans. The 33-year-old, one of the most lethal finishers ever to play in the seven-year-old league, has expressed his desire to join two-time runners-up Kerala Blasters.
Currently, the former Golden Boot winner is a free agent (his one-year contract with Hyderabad FC has expired) and is weighing his options carefully.
“Certainly, I will continue to play in the ISL. I’m open to offers and if one day I have the opportunity to join Kerala Blasters, I’ll do that. It is my big dream. I’m even ready to compromise if my price tag stops me from realising that wish,” he said.
The ball is in the club’s court now, and going by Marcelinho’s records, the last thing the Kochi-based franchise wants to do is missing an opportunity to snap up a player like him. In the ISL, he holds the record for the most number of assists (18) and is also third on the list of all-time top scorers with 31 strikes - in 63 games. Comfortable on the wings and as a striker, the highlight of Marcelinho’s ISL career remains his spell at Delhi Dynamos FC in 2016 when he won the Golden Boot for his 10 goals in 15 matches.
Reportedly, he draws a salary of over Rs 2 crore per season, and it is to be seen whether Blasters will be ready to loosen their purse strings and spend that much money on him.
According to sources privy to the discussions, what the franchise could offer him is a much lesser amount than his normal salary. The club management is optimistic of a positive response from the player and is ready to wait.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Odisha FC, who are keen to strengthen their attack, have already held talks with the Brazilian.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Marcelinho began his professional career with the reserve side of Spanish club Atletico Madrid. Prior to joining Delhi Dynamos for the 2016 ISL season, he had also played for Greek clubs Kalamata, Xanthi FC and Atromitos, Baniyas Club in the UAE, Catania in Italy, and Brazilian side Anapolis.