I stated in my last post that I’m changing the style of the team quite a bit for next season. Gone is the long ball style, we’re going to get a bit technical. Departures and arrivals are necessary.
Rico Henry was the first to pack his bags and move on. Not really played in the last year and barely played in my first season either. He spent last year with the U21’s and with his contract ending, off he went to joint Leeds.
Javier Ontiveros had been tracked by Juventus and Real Madrid in the past 6months. Bids were made and turned down, but he wasn’t happy about it. He had a £20m release clause that FC Köln activated, so it was out of my hands. He wasn’t interested in a new contract. I wanted him to work in my new system, but he didn’t. A £10m profit at least.
Charles Roussel, the boy wonder, the Kurt Cobain lookalike, the replacement for Joe Hart in those shampoo adverts, the giant target man that bullied defenders. Yes, he was off. Another player with a big release clause in his contract that Valencia activated this time. There were a few offers on the table for him, but in typical AI manager style, they never matched the clause. Another profit turned. I’d have been happy to keep him, but I wasn’t sure if he’d fit the new style, although I think he was good enough to make the change.
Easah Suliman was going to be replaced this summer. He wasn’t great and teams were offering real money for him, so off he went for £1m.
Mahmoud Dahoud was a player I wanted to keep. He could play in two out of three of my central midfield roles, but Juventus made an offer that kind of made sense. Another decent transfer profit, but a gap to be filled that I hadn’t earlier anticipated.
Robbie Courtney was a U21 player that hadn’t made a first team appearance as he wasn’t up to the challenge.
Petar Stojanovic was a player that frustrated the life out of me. Terribly inconsistent, when he was good, he was alright, when he was bad… I don’t think there’s a word to describe how bad he could be. Awful at times. He joined my old team for £9m.
Zach Clough was a player I was quite excited about using. He was a victim of my style though as it never really suited him. He’d grown tired of limited chances and was being chased by a few teams. Ironically, he’d have suited the new system, but his mind was made up. £7.5m to Fulham meant that he’d be more likely to get game time.
Edoardo Goldaniga was in and out of the team last year, but I made a decision to have him in my starting backline this season. However, Real Madrid and Juventus cocked that right up by turning his head. £9.25m was less than I expected for him, but I couldn’t turn it down as it was only a couple of days until the window shut.
Jordan Ayew isn’t listed as he left for free in January. His contract was running out in the summer and I had options ahead of him. His wages were £74k a week, so I made the decision to cut my losses and let him leave sooner rather than later.
Victor Wanyama isn’t on the list as he was a late January transfer deadline departure. He was already moaning about lack of game time and threatened to leave on a free in the summer. I managed to punt him on to Sheffield Wednesday for £1.4m, saving myself £55k a week in wages.
£90m recouped in sales this year. I was disappointed to lose a couple of those players, but I really couldn’t be bothered with sulking players. If they want to go, I’ll let them go.
Signing new players is always exciting. We had a bit of work to do on the squad due to sales and such.
The Ox was the first man through the door. A £10m capture from Arsenal. I lacked English players and his pace and creativity was something I was going to need since Ontiveros departed. The fee was reasonable, although his wages are not.
Bulut was a player I’d been tracking since mid January when I had no money. His mental and physical attributes were excellent. He wasn’t superb technically, but he had enough about him to convince me to spend the £13.5m needed to activate his release from Besiktas. He’s going to be my attacking wing back on the left hand side, offering a wide option further up the pitch.
That’s a long double, double-barrelled name. I just call him Mbiwa. A tall strong defender who only cost me £4.2m. He’s going to be playing a more conservative role on the right of defence. Has the ability to play in the middle if I’m needing someone there to cover.
It took what seemed like forever to find a suitable attacking midfielder. I looked at about fifteen possible signings, but none of them matched up to Bruno Fernandes. A good all round player who can sit behind a striker or roam around if I need him to. He cost me £9.25m, which I thought was a bargain.
After I’d secured Fernandes, the board announced that they were in the midst of a takeover and that I couldn’t sign anymore players until the transfer embargo had been lifted. Great I thought. Hopefully I’d not miss out on any targets. But as I read the news item, it said that the potential new owner might replace me… with my assistant manager!
The takeover was completed swiftly, no big investment for me to splash on players, but a commitment to spend on the facilities. I still had to wait for the ok from the new owner though. Time was ticking by and I still had at least one new player to acquire.
Finally the word came that he’d heard enough about me to keep me on.
Back into the market.
I love Lewis Cook on FM. He turns out to be a proper good player. He’d been transfer listed at Arsenal and I tried signing him earlier in the window, but he wasn’t crazy wages.. £120k p/w. No thank you sir. I waited it out, partly against my will, as no club had bid for him. I went in again, offer accepted and he was much more reasonable about his wage demands this time. A strong option to challenge Ajer in midfield. At £10m, I feel it was a very good signing.
I needed another right back with Stojanovic departing. Mbiwa wasn’t quite ready to be a starter every week, so I wanted someone else at right back. Maffeo was unhappy at Hull after they got relegated. His attributes were good and his stats from last year were pretty good for a player playing in a relegated team. £5.5m seemed more than reasonable.
With Goldaniga departing late in the window, it was a frantic search for a replacement. I wanted a tall, strong centre back. In Niklas Sule, I think I’ve found that. He’s a beast. He did cost me a lot of money, but £18.75m for a player like that is well worth it. Spending a lot on defenders is definitely a worthwhile cause.
I took a punt on Callum Abbott. I wanted a young English striker and I narrowed it down to two or three. He needs a bit of work, but I thought his explosive pace would make him a handful for opposition defences. He did cost a lot of money, but I chose to do it over two years. Was £20m in total, with £7.5m out of this years budget and the remainder from future budgets. A January signing to expand my attacking options.
That took spending to £91.2m for the season. I had a £30m budget to start off with and for the first time, left the club with a tidy sum of money in the bank. Really happy with the additions I’ve made and I’m pretty sure we’ll see more improved performances next season.