Defending I-League champions Aizawl FC have signed Romanian striker Andrei Ionescu for the season ahead. The Romanian has earlier tuned out for the likes of Steaua Bucharest, Royal Antwerp and FC Eindhoven, now setting his sights on India.
— Aizawl Football Club (@AizawlFC) August 28, 2017
The Reds eyeing a consecutive second league title, vying on their usual recipe of local talent and low-key foreigners with experience. Having already signed the Ivorian striker Leonce Dodoz for the upcoming season along with forward Yugo Kobayashi, the signing of the 29-year-old Romanian should prove to be a good addition to the forward line of the Reds. The FC Voluntari striker has represented his national side’s U-19 and U-21 teams in the past. A product of the PSV Eindhoven youth academy, this will be his second stint in Asia after a spell at Iraqi side Naft Al-Janoob in 2014/15.
After the departure of I-League winning coach Khalid Jamil to East Bengal and a host of players from the first team, the north-eastern side have appointed Portuguese coach Paulo Menezes to steady the ship. Earlier this week, the club also announced the arrival of Afghan defender Masih Saighani from German side Türkgücü Friedberg. The 30-year-old is one of the several Afghan footballers who spent their entire footballing career in Europe and now arrives in Asia for the first time as a professional.
The Reds, who had scripted one of the most noteworthy underdog stories in Indian sports earlier this year, have lost many of their first team players to East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and the Indian Super League. Can they rebuild under a new Portuguese coach and make it two in a row?