Having gained promotion to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking, this transfer window was going to be a very important one. We lacked quality and depth in certain areas, we need to improve, not overhaul. As I start this post, I’m still not certain on the system I’ll be using and thus, can’t be sure about the types of players I’ll require. I’ll be weighing up the options I have available and explaining my decision making process.
Due to our current financial situation, funds are limited. The board have granted me a transfer budget of £1.21m, which is meagre at best. I have £102k p/w remaining in the wage budget, so I can adjust as necessary to raise cash. I can also boost the balance by selling players, but the board will only allow me 20% of the transfer fee. They’re running a tight ship and don’t want money to disappear.
Of course I need to decide how to setup for the season ahead. I feel that it’s going to be a tough year and any attempts to play an expansive, attacking game are likely to prove fruitless. I’ll be looking to stave off relegation and to do that, I’ll need to have a solid plan.
We finished off last season using a 442 which worked very well for us after a downturn in form. Ideally I’d make the switch to a 4141 as I feel the defensive shape is better suited to us, however, I feel we have a better chance of scoring goals with two strikers. I know I’m going to concede goals, but if we can’t score, we’re very unlikely to remain in the top division. Clean sheets is not something I can spent a lot of time worrying about just now.
So with a tactic decided, I could now make plans for the players I require (and no longer require) for the season ahead. I like players who work hard for the team and I think that works quite well with what Union Berlin fans would like to see, passion, determination and players that will run for 90+ minutes. I’ll not be able to get all of that in one transfer window, but I’ll try my best to sign players who will fit that description. As the save progresses, I’ll be focussing more on specific player types.
My current squad is actually pretty good. We don’t have super stars, but we have solid foundations to build from. However, there are a few players who are at risk of being shipped out. Current team captain Felix Kroos is the first name that comes to mind, a decent player, but I think we have better options in his position. Some might see selling the captain as being a risky move, but if you have better players, then it’s the right thing to do. I don’t have sentiment when it comes to transfers, if I want to move the team forward, I have to be ruthless.
My left back Kristian Pedersen has been wanting to leave since last summer after I rejected an offer from Leverkusen. His contract expires in a year, but he is very good. I’ll have to try and find a capable replacement, but I think that will be a struggle this summer, so I may just let his contract run down. It’s a risk, but the money I’d get probably wouldn’t bring me a better player.
We’re probably most blessed in midfield, although I think we bring in a couple of players to build on the quality we have in that area. We’re a bit light up top, with only two good strikers and one striker in on loan. A fourth striker would fill this area out and give me options. For the quality I require, I would be looking to get another player in on loan.
In order of importance, these are the positions I’ll be concentrating on central midfield, left midfield and centre forward.
I’ll require reinforcements at right back and in goal as well, but these are likely to be backup players, so although they’ll get a mention, the focus will be on the three roles noted above.
First thing I’ll do here, is expand my knowledge to cover all players in Europe. It costs £15k p/m, but I’ll likely turn this off at the end of the transfer window. This will give me a bigger pool of players to search from and hopefully that means better players at better value.
I’ll likely not venture out of Europe for players, so I’ve just chosen that package for the window. I only have two rather average scouts at the moment, so I’ll need some staff to join to help me out in this area.
Prior to the window opening, I did make a snap decision. Neven Subotic was available on a free transfer from Dortmund having been frozen out for the past year. He’s keen to play and his wages aren’t breaking the bank. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sign a player of his quality and at 29, he still has a few years ahead of him. He’s tall, strong and positionally aware. Perhaps not the quickest defender in the world, but his ability to read the game should offset that by being able to anticipate situations before they arise.
Very happy with my first signing. I’m sure the fans will be too.
I’m not overly fond of the box to box role and it’s one that may change as the season progresses, but it works very well in this system. I’ll need a very capable player. At the moment I have…
Hang about, Ben Woodburn is on the loan list! Can’t make an offer for him just yet. Concentrate!
Sorry, I am very much writing this in real time
At the moment I have Damir Kreilach as my first option as the box to box player. Getting someone more capable will be difficult, but I’ll be trying to find someone who can develop and will offer something a bit different to him. He’s quite well rounded in his abilities and has done well for us since I joined. Having another good player in this position will only benefit us in the long term.
I’ve spent a little bit of time in player search, checking out various players and I’ve narrowed it down to these two.
You’ll probably look at the above and say “they’re not natural box to box players” but that’s perfectly ok. They play this role and carry it out quite capably. Both are good players who will improve the side, but I was already leaning towards Lundemo. He’s younger, technically better and a more rounded player. Overall he is a much better fit for the role I want him to fulfil. Their wages would be about the same but Lundemo is likely to be the cheaper player.
Lundemo’s scouting report looks pretty good. His personality is pretty positive and adapting to Germany is unlikely to be an issue. Perfect. However, it may be offset by him dreading big matches. I’m not sure how much of an issue this will be, but I’ll keep an eye on that if he signs. The other issue is his injury record. A quick look over his injury history notes that he missed five weeks through injury last season, two were impact injuries and two minor twists. They’re unlike to be recurring. I’m happy that it’s not going to be a problem and that he won’t be a risky signing. It’s always worth looking at a player’s injury history to see the severity/nature of the injury, as your scout report may be overly cautious.
A bid of £700k has been made and I’ve offered him a £12k p/w deal. It includes a £1.1m relegation release, but no other clauses. Done deal!
At present I’ve got the surprisingly capable Kenny Prince Redondo playing as a winger. I say surprisingly capable as his attributes make for pretty grim reading. It does however show how having good pace can make up for a player who is, on the whole, pretty average. That said, last season he managed to create 11 goals and hit the back of the net 6 times. Quite a respectable return for a winger.
Finding someone better than Redondo shouldn’t be too difficult, right? After plenty of searching, it’s safe to say that I’ve struggled, especially with our budget constraints. I’ve managed to find a couple of contenders. It’s a bit of a harder choice this time.
Both have their pros and cons. Vigário definitely seems like the more rounded player, but Allano seems more like a winger. Mentally, he’s the better player, but technically Vigário is better.
Looking at their scout reports, Allano likes big matches, and is a fairly consistent performer. He may have trouble living in another country and might not fit into the group that well. Vigario is a natural in a couple of positions and also has the same issue of having a bit of trouble fitting in.
It’s a close call really. A bit close to call. Both would cost around the same, Vigário would want more wages. I should trust my scouts though and they rate Vigário higher. Both are better than Redondo, so either would be an upgrade.
No, I’m going for Allano, he looks like a better winger to me, his pace, off the ball and slightly better mental attributes make him a more attractive proposition. We’ve already seen with Redondo that pace can make up for any shortcomings, so with the better mentals, I think I’ll have a good player. £600k offer has been made along with a contract offering £5k p/w. Done deal!
As mentioned above, Ben Woodburn from Liverpool is available on loan. I personally think he’ll be a great deep lying forward for us so I’ve submitted a loan offer for the season as a key player. His attributes are very good for someone of his age and I’m highly sceptical that I could sign a player with half of his quality for the money I have available. This is exactly what we need.
Being a Liverpool fan, perhaps I’m looking at him with red tinted glasses, but I don’t think so. He’s creative, technically very good and has good intelligence. I also never had an alternative as I think he’s probably the best striker I could have got on loan this summer.
He joins for the season with me paying half of his wage when he plays and 100% when he doesn’t play. Done deal!
News just in! I’ve signed Vigário from above to play at left back, cost me £400k! His ability to play left midfield makes him a great addition.
I’ve had to find a player who was Home Grown at Union Berlin, I tell you, it’s slim pickings on my budget. I’ve had to sign third choice goalkeeper, Kilian Pruschke, to give me four ‘home grown at club’ players. He’ll never play, he’s just making up the numbers. Look him up, he’s shit! He was also free.
Goalkeeper, Andreas Luthe joined from Augsburg for £140k. He’s actually pretty decent and may go head to head with my current goalkeeper. Lukas Kübler was my only other signing, in for £200k from Freiburg to be understudy for Atsuto Uchida at right back.
I managed to spend £2m this summer, bringing in eight players. Seven players headed out, including Felix Kroos (£2m), Kristian Pedersen (£2.1m) and Simon Hedlund (£1.1m) which really boosted my financial strength. We didn’t get a lot of that money, but the wages they left really did help balance things out. In total we made £6.25m in player sales. Our squad is much more rounded and ready for the season ahead.