Never before has an Indian footballer competed in the First Division of a European league, yet things could soon change when one of India’s top prospects arrives in Denmark.
26-year-old, Subrata Paul, has been reportedly approached by Danish First Division side, FC Vestsjaelland in what could be one of the most significant transfers of recent history.
The Indian international has been capped more than 50 times by his country and played a crucial role in the country’s Nehru Cup wins in 2007 and 2009 as well as the AFC Challenge Cup triumph in 2008 under then English coach Bob Houghton.
Now, with the chance to pioneer the way for future generations of India’s growing football mad nation, Paul will join up with his new team in January to complete an initial six month contract.
Speaking in India about his move, Paul described it as a ‘dream come true’ and thanked everybody who helped him succeed in the sport.
“I had gone for a three-week trial at FC Vestsjaelland from the 20th October onward and I was offered a six-month contract by the club before I left Denmark. The head coach and goalkeeping coach told me they liked my performance,” Paul said from Kolkata.
“My dream to play in a top European club has come true and I am going to sign the contract in a few days. I will now approach IMGReliance to release me on loan to join FC Vestsjaelland. I think it will be just a formality.
“I thank IMG-Reliance, Anglian Holdings and Red Bull for arranging the trial stint at FC Vestsjaelland.”
Paul has had experience of playing overseas before, having a short trial stint at MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps in 2010 before another spell at the RB Leipzig, a German fourth division side, in 2012.
The six-foot-one-inch goalkeeper, nicknamed ‘Indian Spiderman’ by some foreign media, now hopes to establish himself in the Superliga team and extend his contract past six months, before advancing to the next stepping stone on his promising career path.
He added: “I want to do well at FC Vestsjaelland so that I can aim to join top tier clubs like FC Red Bull Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga) and New York Red Bulls (Major League Soccer).”
FC Vestsjaelland were only promoted to Denmark’s top tier last season and currently occupy seventh spot in the 12-team Superliga, just one point off third.