Holder Bengaluru FC and FC Goa go into the competition as strong contenders, but all teams have made good moves in the market
Defending champion Bengaluru and 2018-19 runner-up FC Goa, the two teams that stood out last season with their style of play, have managed to retain the core of their squad. There is no denying BFC and Goa are strong contenders, but all teams have made clever moves in the market for the 2019-20 ISL.
No side made as many heads turn as much as ATK. The former champion has signed plenty of top-notch foreign players, making it a strong unit. Chennaiyin FC, which finished at the bottom of the pool, has given itself a new look and appeared hugely competitive during its pre-season friendlies. In the chart of favourites, Bengaluru is on top. BFC has been able to identify areas that need improvement and has strengthened the team with two key signings - Ashique Kuruniyan and Raphael Augusto, both of whom have starred for their former teams in previous ISL seasons.
FC Goa has not added a new foreigner to its roster and has retained six overseas players from last season, including Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh and Golden Boot winner Ferran Corominas. Add the talented Indian bunch consisting of Brandon Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai and Manvir Singh to the mix and it has a squad to go one step further.
NorthEast United FC took many by surprise with the signing of Ghana international and former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan, who is as proven as there can be when it comes to scoring goals. Kerala Blasters FC, which is on the back of two disappointing campaigns, is banking on Bartholomew Ogbeche to solve its woes in front of goal.
Mumbai City FC has a prolific scorer in its ranks in Modou Sougou, who will be expected to pick up from where he left off last season. New entrants Hyderabad FC and Odisha FC have managed to assemble a competitive squad in a short span of time. Hyderabad has experienced campaigners such as Marcelinho and Marko Stankovic, who know the league well.
Odisha has a bunch of talented Indian and foreign players with the likes of Marcos Tebar and Xisco Hernandez offering the necessary creative spark. The 2019-20 ISL will also host a few of the finest tactical brains on the sidelines. NorthEast has Robert Jarni at the helm, replacing Eelco Schattorie who has joined Kerala.
ATK has welcomed back Antonio Habas under whom it lifted the trophy in 2014. Jamshedpur FC has roped in Spanish coach Antonio Iriondo, who has more than 25 years of coaching experience in Spain.