11 CLUBS IN 6 YEARS. Although not unheard of, it is hardly considered to be an ideal way for a youngster to begin his journey as a professional footballer.
Short stints at multiple clubs is usually seen as a negative trait, as clubs look for stable, long term options, especially for their first team. But in the Indian Super League, a tournament less than 3 months long following which the teams disband for the rest of the season, this quality has come to emerge as an advantage.
Anyone who has a record of quickly adjusting to a new squad then immediately delivering a useful stint is especially valuable to an ISL franchise. Loyalty and long-term prospect is nearly redundant because the teams have to release the majority of their players anyway. It is for this reason Kerala Blasters' recruitment of ex Queens Park Rangers attacking midfielder Antonio German 9 weeks before the commencement of ISL makes a lot of sense.
The lad is 23 years old. He came out of the QPR youth system, making his first team debut in 2009, while the club was in the Championship. His two seasons in the first team of his boyhood club was punctured by 3 one-month loan spells at lower league sides Aldershot, Southend and Yeovil. By the time QPR won the Championship, gained promotion to the Premier League and aksed him to leave, he had made 22 league appearances for the club and scored 3 goals. Denied a squad number at QPR, he joined Stockport County who played in Conference Premier. It was a 6 month contract and he played 16 matches for them, scoring thrice.
The 2012-13 season was a mixed one for German. He was used sparingly by both the clubs he played for; first Bromley of Conference South (non-contract) then Brentford in League One. But during his stint at Brentford, in February, he was sent to League Two side Gillingham on a month's loan. He got to enough minutes there - 7 appearances, more than his rest of the season put together - and scored the first time he was given a place in the starting line up. Gillingham gained promotion to League One that season, and German's performance was enough to land him a move there in the summer. He remained there until Kerala Blasters signed him on a free transfer, with two month-long loans spell at Northampton Town and Aldershot Town thrown in between.
So here we have a player who is young, got the right build (a solid 5 foot 11), and has a proven track record of switching teams and leagues on short notice and even proving to be useful in some of them. He is by no means a regular-starter kind of signing, but all ISL franchises like to have 4-5 foreigners in their midfield. So far Kerala Blasters had only signed João Coimbra and Pulga, and the Englishman called German can be a good choice for bringing on as a 70-minute substitute; something he has been in the majority of the caps he has earned. Never mind if the Blasters seem to have competent Indian midfielders in Ishfaq Ahmed, Mehtab Hossain, Peter Carvalho, Cavin Lobo, Shankar Sampingraj and C K Vineeth. Having 6 foreigners out there is mentally comforting.