PUNE: ATK on Sunday announced that they have reached an agreement with FC Pune City to take Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro on a loan, primarily to replace injured Nigerian forward Kalu Uche for the 2018-19 Indian Super League season, a move more significant to the Pune outfit.
Alfaro moving to ATK paves way for FC Pune City to register Canadian striker Iain Hume with the league, as he was yet to be registered by the club for two reasons -- he was recovering from the injury and a club can only register only eight foreign players.
Hume, ISL’s all-time leading goal scorer with 28 goals, has been back in training for quite a while after a knee injury. It is highly likely that he could find himself on the bench for the Stallions’ next match at home against in-form Jamshedpur FC as early as on Wednesday.
Pune, languishing at the bottom on two points, still winless after seven matches, could very well do with the goal-scoring prowess of Hume, which Alfaro lacked this season, before being shipped out. It would be unrealistic to expect Hume to hit the top-form from the word go, especially after a long injury lay-off to say the least, but he might be the best bet to save the season, which looks in disarray at the moment.
There was a short social-media post by ATK to announce the deal between the two clubs, but there has been no word from FC Pune City about the same, but it can be confirmed that the deal has been signed off.
The Pune-based club is also looking for a new head coach after sacking Spaniard Miguel Angel Portugal, three games into the season, with Pradyum Reddy looking after the first-team affairs as an interim coach.
FC Pune City will swing back ISL into the action against Jamshedpur FC after the international break. However, the club could not be reached for the comment on either development, as one can feel that the time might just be running out for the club to replicate last seasons’ achievements.