India’s premier footballing tournament, Indian Super League is set to return for its ninth season. The Jamshedpur FC won the League Winners' Shield and Hyderabad FC won the championship as they took down Kerala Blasters in the final. The league kicks off on 7 October and will run till March 2023.
Like every year, all teams have had a busy off-season which presented some incredible transfers which could completely lead to an incredible 2022-23 season. These moves have created some contenders guaranteeing the fans some high-quality action. Talking about the new season, let us look at some of the most exciting players who could light the league up and deliver some brilliant performances.
1. Greg Stewart – Mumbai City FC
After an incredible 2021-22 season, centre-forward Greg Stewart has made a major move as he was signed by Mumbai City FC. The Scotsman won the Golden Ball last season as he had 10 goals and assisted 10 more in 21 games to carry Jamshedpur to the League Winners' Shield. His addition to the Mumbai City FC squad makes them one of the favourites after a below-par 2021-22 season.
2. Sandesh Jhingan – Bengaluru FC
After winning the first major trophy with the Bengaluru-based franchise in 2017, Sandesh Jhingan returns to the Blues after successful but trophy-less stints at ATK Mohan Bagan and Kerala Blasters. But this move gives the centre-back and the Bengaluru-based team an incredible chance for a title push. The Blues had a decent defence last year which will get an incredible update paired with offensive acquisitions, the Bengaluru FC is looking like the team to beat.
3. Alvaro Vazquez – FC Goa
The transfer of the Spanish striker was one of the most shocking moves in the ISL 2022-23 transfer window as he had an incredible season with the Kerala Blasters. Similarly, FC Goa was looking for options after its primary striker Jorge Ortiz departed and Alvaro Vazquez emerged as the perfect solution. The Gaurs had flashes of brilliance but couldn’t stitch a consistent run with Vazquez in their ranks, Goa could recreate their heroics from a few seasons ago.
4. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas - Jamshedpur FC
Replacing the Golden Ball winner could be very difficult, but Jamshedpur FC so far made an incredible signing as they brought in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, a former Arsenal product who is a versatile attacker and can play both as a striker and a winger. The former Aberdeen man has a towering presence paired with a deft touch and flair making him one of the most dangerous players in the ISL.
5. Narender Gahlot - Odisha FC
After lifting the ISL Winners Shield with Jamshedpur FC last season, Narender Gahlot made a move to Odisha FC. The 21-year-old was crucial for the Redminers 2021-22 as he had 26 tackles, 15 interceptions, 33 clearances, and 10 blocks from 15 matches coming off the bench. But for Odisha, Gahlot is expected to get a starting spot where he could blossom into one of the top defenders in the country.