The blue moon rises over Maximum City and the familiar colours, look and feel of their world-famous siblings show Mumbai City FC in new light as the deep blue of the past and been replaced by the sky as the City Football Group install their imprint over the Islanders. CFG rang in the changes this season in the squad as well for this coming season of the Indian Super League, bringing in Sergio Lobera as head coach, followed by some shrewd signings.
A squad upgrade was also on the cards as Mumbai City FC got in FC Goa's Hugo Boumous for a reportedly record transfer fee. Defenders Mourtada Fall and Mandar Rao Dessai have also made the move, strengthening Mumbai and weakening Goa.
MCFC also brought in strikers Adam le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche as well as players like Hernan Santana, Ahmed Jahouh and Cy Goddard in the midfield.
The signings of Indian talent in Farukh Choudhary, Mohamad Rakip, Mehtab Singh, Vikram Partap Singh and Tondonba Singh add depth to the side, with all having experience in the ISL.
Mumbai City FC's new signings have experience of playing in the ISL and seem to have cherry-picked the best from around the league (and mostly FC Goa). Sergio Lobera will have a relatively easier task in shaping up his team, centred around top-class international players.
The FC Goa connection of the players who have made the switch are all first-team players will help in creating a cohesive unit and gel with their new teammates and Lobera's knowhow of their play styles as well.
Indian players like Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges and Farukh Choudhary will lay the foundation for the likes of Hernan Santana and Hugo Boumous to make magic up the field.
There might be a dependence on Indian defenders with Fall being the only international in that third of the field. Amey Ranawade and Mehtab Singh will have to step up and perform at their best if Mumbai City FC are to stop foreigner-laden attacks of other competing teams.
Even though there are five substitutes allowed this season in the ISL, the abundance of mid-fielders may prove to be a head-ache for Lobera as the tournament progresses. If results don't go their way, the coach may find himself in a position of searching for his best combination with a problem of plenty.
ISL 2019-20 PERFORMANCE
Mumbai City FC finished fifth position last season with 26 points, just three points off a place in the playoffs.
MOST NOTABLE NEW SIGNINGS
Hugo Boumous's moved from FC Goa to Mumbai City FC, following in the footsteps of head coach Lobera. The 25-year-old French-Moroccan signed a deal with the Islanders till 2022. He won the Hero ISL Golden Ball with 10 goals and 11 assists in 15 appearances last season.
Mumbai City FC will hope Boumous will again score a similar number of goals as they plot a challenge on the ISL title.
HISTORY IN ISL
Sarthak Golui finished 7th in the inaugural season in 2014, sixth in 2015 and then redeemed themselves as they finished top of the points table in 2016 in 2016 but lost over two legs in the semi-final against Atletico de Kolkata as fists flew in the dying moments of the game in Andheri.
The next season, MCFC finished 7th in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 they finished third and yet again lost in the play-off semi-finals, this time to FC Goa. Last season, Mumbai City FC ended their campaign in fifth position on the points table.
CHANCES/PREDICTION IN ISL 2020-21
Mumbai City FC's acquisition by the City Football Group will only add to expectations from the Islanders. With the new high-pedigree signings and league-winning coach in their ranks, a realistic target for Mumbai City FC will be at least making it to the play-offs.
A mid-table finish may be enough for the Islanders but more realistic would be a place in the play-off slots.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Nishit Shetty, Phurba Lachenpa, Vikram Singh
Defenders: Amey Ranawade, Valpuia, Mandar Rao Dessai, Mehtab Singh, Mohamad Rakip, Tondonba Singh, Sarthak Golui, Mourtada Fall
Midfielders: Ahmed Jahouh, Bidyananda Singh, Bipin Singh, Cy Goddard, Farukh Choudhary, Hernan Santana, Hugo Boumous, Asif Khan, Pranjal Bhumij, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Sourav Das, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Vikram Partap Singh
Forwards: Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam le Fondre
Coach: Sergio Lobera