Chennaiyin FC has roped in Kyrgyz winger Mirlan Murzaev for the upcoming season of the Indian Super League, which they hope to be a better one than the last. Last season’s disappointment has irked the club to rejuvenate their squad to become more competitive this time around. Murzaev’s addition is one of the many changes that Chennaiyin has made so far in a quest for a formidable squad. The Asian signing will be one of the players to watch out for in the league, with a respectable CV and the experience he brings to the team. Murzaev joins Chennaiyin FC from Dordoi Bishkek of the BC Olimp Premier League in Kyrgyzstan.
Newly appointed manager Božidar Bandović will look to reform the team with a considerable depth and emphasis in the midfield and experience at the back, the motive being shown clearly from the recent signings. The side already has competition for the back three with the entry of Salam Ranjan Singh, Deepak Devrani and Narayan Das. The preferred 3-5-2 formation of the coach will see the Indian defenders pair with Montenegrin Slavko Damjanović.
The variety of the squad offers a wide range of midfield combinations. The amount of quality midfielders in the team suggests that there could be different variations in the midfield, especially with the four foreigner rule in place. No midfielder can be guaranteed to start in all matches; such is the strength of the Chennaiyin FC’s roster.
Mirlan Murzaev plays predominantly as a right-winger and is also equally adept at attacking midfield. He has played for the most part of his career in Dordoi Bishkek, where he has had five different stints from 2007 to 2021. He has helped his team to 3 league titles in 2012, 2019 and 2020. He has also won two Kyrgyz Super Cup titles in 2019 and 2021. Murzaev is a legend for his club and has good experience playing in Asia, having won the AFC President’s Cup in 2007, which was a third-tier continental tournament for clubs.
Mirlan can turn out to be a great addition to the team for coach Bandović as he relies on quick attacks by midfielders. Bandović, with his rich experience in Thailand with Buriram United, will be well aware of the Asian style of play and what it takes to get the right result. Murzaev brings versatility to the squad as he can play in both flanks, as an attacking midfielder and even as a false nine.
He seems to fit in nicely into the five-men midfield and can contribute really well in the attacking third. The work rate he brings to the team can boost the chances of scoring, and when coupled with the vision and technical prowess of Rafael Crivellaro, they could form a formidable duo. Both the midfielders could lineup in the attacking side of midfield while that would give room for an Indian striker like Jobby Justin.
In the current season for Dordoi Bishkek, he already has seven goals and seven assists from 15 matches. He has also featured for AFC Cup matches, and the 31-year-old has come back from a recent injury. The midfield of Chennaiyin was ineffective last time around, with the Asian signing Fatkhuloev not even getting regular starts.
That is bound to change this time around with the versatility of Murzaev as he can pair up with Crivellaro in the midfield, or if needed, could also play alongside their foreign striker. It was this creativity in the midfield that Chennaiyin was lacking, and this season could see them rectifying that. To top it, Murzaev has a good goalscoring record and can chip in with crucial goals.
He also brings valuable European experience to the team. At the age of 19, he was loaned out to the Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. He has had played in various lower division teams in Turkey. He also had stints with Hapoel Petah Tikva FC in Israel and Doğan Türk Birliği in Cyprus.
Murzaev is the top scorer for the Kyrgyz Republic national team in their short history. He has the experience of playing in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019, where they reached the round of 16. Interestingly, Chennaiyin’s last two Asian signings have scored against India in international matches. Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev and Mirlan Murzaev have both scored against India in their teenage years. Murzaev is still one of the best players for Kyrgyzstan, demonstrating that with a recent hat-trick against Myanmar in a World Cup qualifier match.
It seems to be a sensible move by Chennaiyin FC to sign a player who can deliver the goods with consistency for the entire season. Murzaev brings creativity from the flanks and the midfield, who also has a good attacking work rate. A player who can make the most of half chances and who can create genuine goalscoring opportunities.
Chennaiyin’s attack promises to be one to look out for in the upcoming season as the foreign signings can make a big difference. Backed with a good depth of Indian players, Chennaiyin looks very competitive as they would want to do more than better than the last season. It is not just the team but also the fans who will have high hopes going into the season.
Follow our website for the latest updates on Indian football!