Having replaced 5 of their 6 foreigners, new head coach Bozidar Bandovic will present fans with a fresh Chennaiyin FC side for the forthcoming edition of the Indian Super League. An overhaul could do wonders for the club who are in dire need of stability as they welcome their third manager in as many seasons. Having made a lot of shrewd signings this transfer window, with all their foreigners arriving from top tiers of foreign leagues, Vladimir Koman is set to be a very vital clog for the new era of the Marina Machans.
The two-time ISL champions have been very busy in the transfer market. Signings of proven Indian players like Joby Justin, Narayan Das, Debjit Majumdar, and Deepak Devrani show their intentions to fill the squad with veterans who can be leaders in the dressing room, something they were lacking last season. Bozidar Bandovic has been pivotal in the signings of the foreigners, out of whom, Vladimir Koman will have a lot of responsibility on his shoulders.
In this article, IFTWC analyzes how Vladimir Koman will fit into Bandovic’s plans and how he could revitalize Chennaiyin’s hopes for a record third ISL title.
Who is Vladimir Koman
Vladimir Koman Junior is a vastly experienced Ukrainian attacking midfielder who, at 32, is yet to lose his creative touch. His height also sets him apart from other attacking midfielders in the league, who have a lower center of gravity, helping them get past defenders easily. Koman is a very different no.10, who, despite playing in the hole, loves to drop deep and create chances for his attackers.
Koman started his senior career for Hungarian outfit Szombathely before being signed by Serie-A regulars Sampdoria. After a few seasons on loan at second and third division clubs, Koman returned and featured in the 2010/11 season of the Europa League, scoring 1 goal and picking up 1 assist in the continental tournament.
Due to lack of game time, Koman transferred to the Russian league after spending a year at AS Monaco. He joined FK Krasnodar in 2013, where his game blossomed further once he became a regular in the starting eleven. After another season in Russia for rival club Ural Yekaterinburg, he returned home and donned the colors for Adanaspor in 2015, enjoying his best years of professional football.
Koman set his sights on Asia next and signed for Sepahan FC in 2018, one of the most successful clubs in Iranian Football. Sepahan was in a very disoriented position, having recently sacked a certain Igor Štimac and Abdollah Veisi in consecutive seasons after underwhelming performances.
Koman played an influential role in Sepahan’s resurgence. He led the club to a 2nd placed finish in the league, qualifying for the prestigious AFC Champions League. After another year at Sepahan, Koman joined UAE Pro League minnows Hatta Club in 2020 but received limited game time.
Koman has also played at all levels for the Hungarian national team and has 36 caps for the senior team along with 7 goals between 2010 and 2015.
Vladimir Koman’s style of play
Koman is neither the traditional nor the perfect no.10/attacking midfielder. His game revolves around initiating attacks. He drops deep for a large amount of time and creates spaces for the wingers and wingbacks to foray forward.
Unlike other elite attacking midfielders in the league like NorthEast United FC‘s Federico Gallego and ATK Mohun Bagan‘s Hugo Boumous, Koman does not possess the ball carrying or dribbling abilities. Then what is it that makes him an asset for his teammates and a threat to his rivals?
It is his breathtaking passing ability. He rarely takes more than 3 touches on the ball before finding his teammate. Surgical in execution, his quick and decisive passing brings a distinct fluidity to his side’s style of play, the tempo of the game rises rapidly.
This explains why his goals and assists have not been sky-high despite playing in such an advanced position. Koman is a player that makes the team better and improves players who play around him. His inclusion will do wonders for the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Lallianzuala Chhangte.
A few teams that he has played for in the past have struggled to accommodate him due to his style which may conflict with the style of the team, most notably, AS Monaco. He left the French side after a year despite signing a 4-and-a-half-year contract. However, knowing how deeply interested Chennaiyin and Bandovic were in the 32-year-old, it is expected that he will be well complemented by his fellow foreigners and the Indian contingent.
What this means for Chennaiyin FC
Exciting times are ahead for the Marina Machans if the team can get Koman to playing his natural football. Bandovic will have a very good squad at his disposal this season after a positive transfer window. He also has a massive selection headache having the proven Rafael Crivellaro to compete for the same spot, the only foreigner who was retained by the management. Irrespective of who starts, the likes of Mirlan Murzaev, Lucasz Gikiewicz, and Joby Justin will receive excellent service this season.
At least on paper, Chennaiyin FC looks stronger than they have been for the last few seasons. Could this be the season the Machans finally accomplish their dream of lifting the ISL trophy for the record third time?
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