East Bengal to strengthen squad with hike in budget

East Bengal management and players
East Bengal management and players (PC: Debasis Sen & ISL)

East Bengal SC will focus on strengthening the squad next season, with a rise in the budget, to secure the services of better players. They had a satisfactory 2023-24 after struggling in their first three seasons in the Indian Super League (ISL). The goal now is to raise the bar.

At a meeting of East Bengal’s club officials and sponsors Emami group on Thursday, both sides agreed to prioritise fortifying the squad. Debabrata Sarkar for East Bengal and Manish Goenka of Emami led the discussions, which lasted over a couple of hours at the company’s headquarters in Kolkata.

Officials have already initiated the process of recruiting two wing-halves, a midfielder and a defender. “We are looking to build a strong side and we have got the assurance from Emami. We are in talks with a few players. Hopefully, by the end of this month, we will be able to disclose the names,” said Sarkar after the meeting.

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Carles Cuadrat with players
Carles Cuadrat with players (Source: EBFC)

With East Bengal having secured a spot in the AFC Champions League qualifiers, the sponsors have assured that the budget will be increased to assemble a formidable squad. There is a possibility of a few changes in foreign recruits. Additionally, it was decided that pre-season preparations will be held in Kolkata.

Coach Carles Cuadrat has given his inputs on the selection of players and team building. After three seasons of despair for the red-and-gold fans, Cuadrat brought the smiles back by guiding the team to triumph in the Super Cup. Although East Bengal finished ninth among 12 teams in the ISL, the display was better than previous seasons.

The meeting between club officials and the sponsors suggests that they are eager to take this forward and put together a side capable of meeting the challenges.

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