Vik The Fix
couldn't help but put his stamp on the squad, as he unveiled his first signing for Grilled - Joker 9B's former national youth striker Vikram Mudaliar
. Fetching a tidy sum of S$12.4 million, the 22 year-old Indian is now the club's third most-expensive signing of all time, and much will inevitably be expected of the polished racer.
Mudaliar would be Grilled's first big-money buy since Islom Davlatov
's arrival three seasons ago, and Noubaryan recognized the significance of the price tag. However, according to the Georgian, there was nothing for it.
"You've got to pay out of your nose for quality these days." Noubaryan reasoned. "The market's inflated everywhere. We were looking at Jackson Hoang, but Valencia CF Tokyo Fans were asking for seventeen; likewise, we considered having Rupesh Sharma back, but Atletico Arges's demands were simply crazy. I'm almost convinced that Mudaliar is a steal, in this climate."
Capped in a nil-all draw against Jamaica on National Day, Mudaliar had been part of a fresh and flashy trio together with fellow local youth internationals David Blacksmith and Masyahadi Badrul, but friction and questions over Arttu Viitasalo's future plans for him reportedly turned Mudaliar's mind. With rumours that Blacksmith had been established as Viitasalo's favourite, it happened that the club wasn't quite large enough for all of them.
There was no doubt that Vikram would find a new home, it went without saying, with purer Pessimismus (German Division Five), Lobojo team (Spanish Division Five) and MTV Woodpecker 2013 (English Division Three) involved in the final stages of negotiations. Of Singaporean clubs, Phantasm Hotspurs dangled second-division football, but Rosman bin Mahamad wasn't quite as committed.
Apart from them, Romart (Romanian Division Five), CHUCKY STRIKE BACK (Romanian Division Six), 1 FC Ruch Radzionkow (Polish Division Five), SG Magic Rocket (German Division Five), TSV Vugx (German Division Six), Fase Bonus (Spanish Division Seven) and FC MATEO (Polish Division Six) were all possible destinations, according to Mudaliar's agent Fan Huat Hoon.
Grilled defender Yuta Nakakita
welcomed the move. "Vikram's a known quantity - one with a very high ceiling. He's without question among the top few pure strikers of his age group in the land. It's a good message that the club are sending out, that we are capable of attracting stars of his calibre."
In an interesting parallel with Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
of Farmer Bunnies, Mudaliar went the other direction with his number swap, going from Number Ten with Joker 9B, to the Number Nine last worn by Albanian Rinor Isufi. His playing style could hardly be more different than his predecessor, as it happens.
"Vikram will offer the added mobility that Grilled have been dying for, in their forward line." former player and television pundit Gleb Dorogan assessed. "They really only have Kalki Parvathaneni
with similar attributes, and we all know Kalki remains a playmaker at heart. The wingers should be delighted, I feel!"