In one of the biggest signings in Indian club football, Shillong Lajong on Wednesday roped in Portuguese Under-19 international and former English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers striker Edinho Junior on a loan transfer to strengthen its stuttering I-League campaign.
Edinho will join Shillong Lajong on a short-term loan beginning February 16 till the end of the I-League season. He is a Portuguese national of Brazilian origin who moved to Blackburn Rovers from Olhanense.
The 18-year-old has made two appearance for Rovers this season after joining the club in June last year. He is also a member of the Portuguese Under-19 national side and was reportedly a 500,000 Pound target for top Scottish Premier League side Celtic in February last.
Shillong Lajong General Secretary Larsing M Sawyan described the signing as a "path-breaking" event in the history of Indian football.
"It's a path-breaking event in Indian football. It has not happened in the past that a player from a big English club signed to play in an Indian club. The signing of Edinho will no doubt be a huge boost to the club and I am looking forward to some good results," he told PTI.
He, however, refused to disclose the signing amount, simply saying that Edinho Junior is a "high-value" player.
"He is a big signing, a high-value player. Balckburn Rovers is not a small club. It was in English Premier League only last year and players there earned a lot of money as compared to Indians. So, it's not a small amount."
Blackburn Rovers now play in the second tier league, the Championship.
Ming said the loan transfer happened with the help of Blackburn Rovers' Indian owner, Balaji Rao, who is the Managing Director at Venky's.
"We are thankful to Blackburn Rovers for providing us with a player of Edinho's quality. He will be an incisive edge to Lajong's forward line and will definitely add to the quality of the game on the field," Ming said.
Shillong Lajong made a decent start in the I-League but faltered later and are currently placed 11th in the 14-team table.
Commenting on the development, Rao said, "We are pleased to be associated with Shillong Lajong FC through the loan of young Edinho. We look forward to opportunities to help develop our players and football in India through strategic partnerships."