Auxerre: The Summer Sale

I usually include my transfer dealings in with my regular seasonal update, but I with the goings on this summer, I knew this was going to need a blog all to itself. When I started this save, I said that I’d be signing players for as little as possible and selling them for as high as possible. It’s part of the long term plan to hit our goals. I just didn’t realise it was all going to come along at once.

I’m mainly going to focus on the big departures, but there were a couple of other outgoings this summer. They were

  • Mamadou Diédhiou to Lens for £475k (£600k)
  • Matthieu Despres to Newcastle for £6.25m (£7.5m)
  • Paolo Sabak to Sunderland for £10m
  • Samed Kiliç to Zenit for £4.7m (£7.5m)

Numbers in brackets are inclusive of clauses.

The Lamy Transfer Saga

lamy

Lamy when he joined

This one has been coming for a long time. Sébastien Lamy, oh Sébastien.. a true God among midfielders, a real all rounder, he can pass, tackle, run for days.. he’s a complete player in my eyes. He’s only 20, which is frightening really.

He joined my Youth Team in March 2017 and made his debut in the Coupe de la Ligue in December that year. His birthday was in November so I couldn’t register him for Ligue 1 until January. You could tell he was a star in the making as soon as he arrived. I knew it’d be a battle to keep hold of him long term, but as soon as he was able, I got him to sign a long term contract and stuck in an option for a two year extension. At least if I had to sell, I’d have that security.

Clubs were chasing him after his first full season in Ligue 1. Monaco, Benfica, Chelsea, Dortmund, Bayern and Roma all expressed interest. None put in an acceptable offer. In 2020/21, he eventually decided he wanted to leave. The decision was made. Now was the time to trigger the extension of his contract, I needed to get maximum value for him. That tied him down until 2025, so there was no rush.

lamy-end

Lamy nearing the end

January 2021 was when the serious bids came in. Dortmund, Bayern and Roma were offering me £40m and he was valued at around £33m at the time. No rush to sell, lets keep them waiting. The obvious backlash from the player and team came, but the team saw sense when I said we’d be weaker without him. They agreed and we moved on. Summer 2021 came and went with more bids of around £40m. I was holding out for over £55m. Greedy perhaps, but his growth was accelerating rapidly.

In January 2022 I decided I’d let him go that summer. We were doing well in the league so I thought if I kept him, we’d be better for it and who knows, if we won the title, maybe he’d have stuck around. Stranger things have happened.

Bids were flying in during the January window but I wasn’t happy with them, stupid clauses such as “£5m extra if we win the Club World Cup” No thanks!

lamy

The offer has been accepted

At the end of the season, Dortmund and Chelsea were leading the way with a flutter from Roma. Chelsea bombed out of negotiations and Roma were offering well below his asking price. Dortmund agreed a £56m deal. No add-ons, just a straight cash deal up front. By the time he left, he’d played in 164 games for us. It broke my heart a little, but who knows what the future holds, maybe once we really get going, he’ll be back!

He’s on my shortlist just in case.

Hirving Lozano

lozano

Lozano prior to joining Auxerre

This wasn’t much of a surprise to be honest. Lozano was a monster last season and ended as our top scorer on 20 goals. He was always a threat with his dribbling and passing ability. We rescued him from Chelsea after his career had sort of come to a standstill. In 5 years at Chelsea he made 59 appearances in all competitions. In two seasons with us, he’d played in 87 games, scored 32 times and assisted 16.

For a player of his quality, he cost me pittance, arriving for just £7.5m. It was a lot of money for us, a record fee as it turned out, but what a player. As we headed towards the end of last season, the WNT signed status appeared beside his name. Great, Lamy and Lozano, going in one window. I was’t ready to lose two great players in one window, so I tried offering a new contract. No thank you was the reply. Amazingly, Chelsea were the interested party.

When the window opened, there was only one offer and that was from Real Madrid. Lozano was worth over £25m at this point and still had a couple of years on his deal remaining. I was in the driving seat again. A fee of £32.5m (£36m) was eventually agreed with 10% of his next fee heading in my direction. The bank balance was looking healthy.

I was getting teary…

Giovani Lo Celso

lo-celso

Lo Celso prior to joining Auxerre

Talk about kicking a man when he’s down. Lo Celso had taken a hissy fit about something shitty during last season. He didn’t get enough hair gel or something, I dunno. I was hoping he’d stick around as I really rated him in the middle of the park. I couldn’t talk him into a new contract or get him to withdraw his transfer request.

I honestly thought he’d stay when we got to the end of the season so I didn’t even consider looking for a replacement. Bad James!

He’d been very good for us and it was clear to see his qualities, but his mind was made up. Of all the teams that could bid for him, it was bloody West Brom. He left Champions League football for mid-table West Brom. Fuck him man. Still, he’s on colossal wages now and they gave me £28.5m (£36m) for him, so I can’t complain. I only paid £2.1m for him when he joined. Big profits!

Alex Meret

meret

Meret after joining Auxerre

Is this real life? Now my goalkeeper is wanted. Here, take my dog and my girlfriend while you’re at it! Bloody hell. Meret was a relative bargain buy, top quality keeper signed up for £6m. He kept 21 clean sheets in 50 games for us. I suppose it was inevitable that a bigger club would come in for him eventually, but I thought I’d get a couple of years out of him.

The bid came out of the blue. Tottenham offered me £16m, I rejected it as I thought it was a bit low. I’m like the Daniel Levy of FM, so he had a job on his hands. Meret was obviously unhappy as they’d offer him a bigger wage and the chance to play in England, blah blah blah.

I get it Alex, we’re a small club and three of our best players have already left this summer. £25m and you can go. He agreed and he was happy. Spurs came back in with a £20m bid, I made some adjustments and we settled on £22m (£27.5m).

I hope you’re keeping a running total.

João Carvalho

carvalho

Carvalho before joining Auxerre

I don’t know why this offer came so late. I knew it was coming. I was already making plans for it coming, in fact, I already had a player in by the time I’d sold Lamy at the start of the transfer window.

Carvalho was a boss last season. 16 assists and 7 goals. Everytime he got the ball, I got excited. I rate him very highly in this game. Barcelona were interested at one point last year, but they never put in an offer.

Chelsea were the club that stepped up. I couldn’t stand in his way and I certainly couldn’t turn down the £39.5m (£52m) offer.

So Now What?

Well, I was a bit of a wreck after 4/5th’s of last season’s starting midfield and our goalkeeper left. What the hell do we do now? Do I spend all of that money? At this point, my most expensive player cost me £12m and that was a January transfer. I’m not sure spending huge sums of money is a good idea right now either, it’d be too risky and would place bigger expectations on the team. I’m trying to make the club financially secure and we’re in that position now. I’ll try and be sensible and bring in players I can potentially sell at profit, it’s done me well so far.

Keep an eye out for the next blog to see who’s been brought in to replace the departing stars!

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