While teams are busy retaining domestic players and eyeing foreign names, Indian Super League defending champions Atletico de Kolkata have made two massive signings that is likely going to make them title favourites yet again.
A day after bringing on board former Bengaluru FC head coach Ashley Westwood as the director of football, the two-time champions made their think tank even stronger when they announced the signing of treble-winning former Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham as coach for the 2017 ISL season on Saturday, July 8.
Westwood was initially approached for the head coach role, but ISL authorities had apparently not approved the appointment of the former Manchester United academy graduate. The Sourav Ganguly co-owned franchise thus signed up Westwood as technical director and replaced Jose Molina with Sheringham.
Both Westwood and Sheringham have immense knowledge of English football and the latter is well known for his equaliser in United colours at the final of 1999 Champions League against Bayern Munich. The English legend had also played for Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United during his heydays.
Sheringham started his coaching career as the attacking coach of West Ham during the 2014-15 season and also managed League Two side Stevenage for a one-year period before being sacked for poor results in 2016.
Meanwhile, Westwood is a known name in the Indian football fraternity, thanks to his successful three-year stint with Bengaluru FC. Taking over the then I-League newbies in 2013, the 40-year-old went on to win two league titles (2013-14 and 2015-16) and a Federation Cup title in 2015.
Westwood then took over Malaysia Super League side Penang FA last season, but struggled to adapt to conditions there. A return to India has come at the right time as his appointment is expected to work wonders for Atletico ahead of the 10-team ISL season, which will start later this year.
"I take this opportunity to welcome our Technical Director Ashley Westwood to the ATK family and believe that it is going to be a fascinating experience for him. Our effort to incorporate professionalism and build a well-knit team has further been heightened by Westwood joining the squad. His multifarious profile and experience of coaching in India will guide ATK in making it big for this season," Sanjiv Goenka, the co-owner of the side, said.
Notably, Atletico have retained Debjit Majumder and right back Prabir Das ahead of the player draft, which will be held on July 23. July 7 was the deadline for teams to retain two domestic and three U21 players.
The recent appointments, which has added quality to their think tank, will help the team in shaping up a well-balanced squad that will contribute to their title defence.