As is inevitable in football, players want to leave for various reasons. Champions League, playing with better players in a better league, more money etc etc. I knew I could only really allow one of my star players to leave and I was lucky enough for that to be the case.
Dragovic was pretty straight up about wanting to leave. Barcelona offered £10.75m +clauses which will eventually take it up to £16m, couldn’t say no to that. It boosted the finances significantly.
I tied Yarmolenko down to a new contract and inserted a £25m release clause for Champions League teams. I felt he was the more important player to keep due to his ability to create and score. Nobody showed any interest in Garmash thankfully. Khacheridi drew some interest but I have retained him also.
There was no room for Jeremain Lens and Dieumerci Mbokani in my first eleven. Neither fitted the way I wanted to play and were on high wages. There was interest in both and Mbokani requested he be allowed to leave, I took in £11m from their sales. Eugene Selin wanted to join Dnipro for Champions League football, I granted his wish and got £3m. I had a ready made replacement in Makarenko anyway, so took the money. No point in keeping him if he didn’t want to be there. Oleg Gusev also made noises about moving. I was playing him at right back, but he was more of a right winger. Off to Monaco for £3.7m.
Inwardly, we needed two full backs, a centre back, a striker and a couple of attacking midfielders. I like to buy young and I like to get them signed up as quickly as possible to get them integrated before the season kicks off. Sometimes this doesn’t always work in my favour as a better player might become available, but on the whole, it’s a policy that works for me. In Ukraine, you can only have 7 foreigners in your first 11, so I see no point in having more than 7 in the squad.
Ylli Sallahi was my first signing on the recommendation of Shrewnaldo. He’s posted a shortlist of great young Austrian players on his blog that’s really worth looking at. Igor Perduta from Vorskla is Ukrainian, young and has potential. He also had the added bonus of being able to play on both sides of defence. Sergiy Kryvtsov from Shakhtar was available for £4m so I nabbed him, he has good attributes and has plenty of room to grow into a great defender, I’ve put him straight into the first team.
Finding left footed attacking midfielders is usually pretty difficult, but I’ve signed up two. Andriy Bliznichenko from Dnipro is 20 and has loads of potential. Humam Tariq is an FM wonderkid who will be an option across the AM strata.
Finally, Roman Zozulya was my big summer signing. He used to play for Kyiv, coming through the youth setup but moved onto Dnipro. He wasn’t interested in coming, but using a new FM15 feature, I told him that I thought we could do well and he joined.
I don’t know how everyone else does pre season, but for me, it’s about fitness and beating teams to we’re confident for the season. I suspect a lot of people think that, but maybe some people love the glamour of big friendlies or need the money that those games bring. I had 9 games setup, I’ll not bore you with every single game as to me, they’re not as relevant as the real matches. We did ok, we won all of our games, but I wasn’t overly impressed with all of the performances. That could’ve been down to new signings, fitness etc. The win over Sporting was very good, but as I said, the real games are the test. Here’s the results for pre season.