The first season was over and it was time to address the areas of the squad that I’d identified as needing improvement. Some were signed through personal choice, some were enforced due to loan players leaving and others were due to lack of numbers or quality.
I didn’t need an overhaul, but just good players in key positions.
I did allow a lot of players to leave. We’ve not really gotten fully acquainted with the squad yet, so I’m not so sure there’s much point going through them all individually. Alan Aguerre, my first choice goalkeeper, was probably the most high profile departure. Newells Old Boys bid for him, but I rejected as I hadn’t planned to buy a replacement. He got mad and said it was always a dream for him to play there. We had the little chat that we’re forced to go through and I eventually said I’d let him go, but only once I found a suitable replacement.
All in all, I made £6.44m from the sales of ten players, mainly to other South American teams. Not bad business, I think? Brazil is such new ground for me, I’ve literally no idea what is good or bad with transfer value.
As soon as the season was over, I was hunting for new players. I needed two attackers, an aggressive midfielder, a creative midfielder, a central defender and a new goalkeeper. I managed to fill a couple of other slots in the team by promoting some youngsters, which is always quite pleasing.
On January 1st, three new signings arrived.
First in the door was Renzo Romano, a mountain of a striker. He’s good with the ball at his feet, has good movement and is a team player. Just what I wanted. He cost me £3.5m from Belgrano. He’s likely to play as a complete forward on support alongside Edson José
There was something about Álvaro Reina that I really liked. Again, another player that works for the team rather than just himself. Only 20, but has bags of potential. He’ll be used as my main rotation striker and will be more likely to get a lot of games in the State Championships. Signed for £2.2m from Olimpo.
Finding a tough tackling Brazilian central midfielder was harder than I expected. I had to pick Julián Fernández up from Independiente for £2.3m. As soon as I saw him, he was really exactly what I was looking for. I’d now used three of my five foreigner spots so I was hoping to pick up any further signings from within Brazil.
Whilst looking for a central midfielder, I knew I was going to be looking to buy potential. Gonçalves seemed to be the right option, Paranaense weren’t willing to give him away though and I had to stump up £3m. Hopefully it’s worth it in the long run.
After the issue with Aguerre wanting to leave, finding a similarly attributed goalkeeper was a bit of a challenge, especially if they were going to be Brazilian. Júlio was a young keeper I spotted during the early stage of my search and he proved to be the best choice. He was my most expensive signing at £4m, but he’s had a full season of first team games and is only 20 years old. Lots of room to grow as well. Not in height though, he’s not the tallest goalkeeper, something I’ve only just noticed.
Geison Vargas was to be my final signing. I wasn’t very pleased with my defensive options going into the season. I had two good centre backs, but I wanted a third. Someone young preferably. I wanted him to be Brazilian if possible. I stumbled upon two candidates. I did a head to head and asked some nice people to chime in with their choice. I took what I believed to be the best man for the job. He had a release clause of £3.4m and has lots of potential. Trying to train his tackling attribute as it’s a bit low right now.
New players have come in at £18.4m. I thought that was a lot, but compared to what some of the other teams are spending, it’s not too bad.