The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
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Atletico de Kolkata bag Baljit & Climax

Kerala Blasters’ Mehtab Hussain and Nirmal Chetri with coach Trevor James Morgan, in Mumbai, on Wednesday

New Delhi: The second and concluding day of the Indian Super League (ISL) Domestic Player Draft belonged to Atletico de Kolkata, who roped in some of the best names put on sale for the franchise-based tournament.

Having managed to snatch away experienced footballers like Sanju Pradhan, Climax Lawrence, Mohanraj, Subhasish Roychowdury and Baljit Sahni, the Calcutta side have definitely ended their recruitment campaign on a happy note, especially after the disappointment of the Day One.

Their initial plan of signing up Subrata Paul, Syed Rahim Nabi and Mehtab Hossain went astray on Tuesday as Team Mumbai and Kerala Blasters were quick to grab the Calcutta stars.

While Atletico de Kolkata looked a strong side waiting for the addition of the foreign players, which would only happen in August, the deals certainly did not come cheap. In the bargain, Sourav Ganguly’s side turned out to be the biggest spenders among the franchises. Buying of domestic players cost them Rs 3.91 crore with Mumbai following closely at Rs 3.76 crore.

In fact, Delhi Dynamos, the franchise side from the capital, were the only team to be able to keep their spending to less than Rs 3 crore. Allowed to make the call first on the second day, Delhi’s biggest buy was Mandeep Singh at Rs 42 lakh.

Atletico de Kolkata, on the other hand, paid Rs 70 lakh for Sanju Pradhan and Rs 37 lakh for Subhasish Roychowdhury. Former India captain Climax Lawrence, 35, was paid Rs 30 lakh and N Mohanraj was the last player to be bought by Calcutta for Rs 32 lakh.

Lawrence, who had played for East Bengal, said he would be happy to play in the eastern metropolis. “I know Calcutta well… Whoever be the coach, it won’t be a problem for me,” said the midfielder.

Interestingly, like Climax, several other former India players, who remained unsold on the first day, finally managed to get a team each thanks to the rules of the draft. All 84 footballers had to be sold among the six teams in fray and the franchises were left with no other option but to recruit the footballers.

The arrangement did a good turn for footballers like Rennedy Singh (Kerala Blasters, Rs 25 lakh), Sushil Kumar Singh (Team Mumbai, Rs 39 lakh) and Mehrajuddin (Team Pune, Rs 20 lakh). Some footballers, who have already signed contracts with the league promoters about going on loan after the ISL, would stand to benefit as they are entitled to receive a certain amount of the loan fee.