Mumbai City FC have announced one of the biggest-ever signings in history of Indian Super Leage ahead of the next season. With so many clubs interested, the Islanders have emerged victorious in their bid to secure the services of young central midfielder Lalengmawia ‘Apuia’ Ralte. The club has reportedly signed the player for a record transfer fee (undisclosed) on a 5-year contract, which will keep Apuia at the club until 2026.
The youngster from Mizoram has been making huge strides in Indian football since making into India’s squad for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup. Apuia got a contract from ISL club Northeast United in 2019, following his impressive performances for Indian Arrows in I League. After making 10 appearances for the club in his debut campaign, Apuia's breakthrough season came in ISL 2020-21 when he played a key role in the Highlanders' dream run to the semi-finals.
Dream signing for Mumbai City FC
Having recently made his international debut for India, Apuia was always going to be the hottest picks in the ongoing transfer window. The defending champions were always leading the race to sign the youngster and the move was bound to be completed sooner rather than later. Mumbai's midfield of Apuia, Rowllin, Raynier and Jahouh actually sounds quite scary going into the new season.
Reflecting on the big signing, Mumbai City's coach Sergio Lobera said, "A player of Apuia's calibre brings a lot of quality to the team and reminds us that if you are good enough, you are old enough. He is an exciting talent, possibly the best of his generation, and he is the right type of individual that we want at Mumbai City."
While welcoming the player to the Islanders, Lobera added that their aim is to give Apuia the right platform and the right guidance to become the exceptional player that he can be at Mumbai City for years to come.
It is a huge honour for me and my family: Apuia
The 20-year-old also looked quite excited for the new chapter of his career as he revealed that he is really looking forward to the new challenge. He said, "To join a club of Mumbai City’s stature is a huge honour for me and for my family. The club has the ambition and the intent, not just to win titles in India but to make a mark in Asia as well and I want to be a part of it. The club had a hugely successful last season and I believe we’re on the right path to build something special here."