So after overachieving to finish 4th in the table we face quite a crucial summer. European football is back with us as we enter the Europa League at the group stages so we’ll have the added task of balancing fitness and squad depth throughout next season.
My budget ahead of this window was a measly £3.5m but £121k of wage space to play with, however our finances projected us to be sat on -£12m in 12 months time so I have to be conscious of spending and wage allocation. We have 80% for transfer revenue too (compared to 35% at the start of the first season). We’re going to have to be clever this summer and make full use of the wage space we have. I’m also conscious of wages I’m currently spending on squad members and whether I can shift some of the aging high earners.
Maia is by far our top earner but also arguably our best player, I don’t begrudge the contract I gave him last season as if anything it’ll just drive up any future fee whilst keeping him committed for a good few more seasons yet. Fonte has 12 months left on his deal, is our captain and was great last season so I’m happy for him to see our those 12 months with us and it’s unlikely I’ll renew that deal. Benzia and Al Ghazi were out on loan last season and neither are good enough for us long term so bloody hell I hope I can shift them this summer, that’ll free up £60k of crucial wage space.
Soumaoro is also surplus to requirements as he only featured in cup games last season and never really performed well. Not for that wage that’s for sure. Another player I hope to shift but wages are going to be a sticking point for any interested parties.
You may see a certain player by the name of Almamy Toure above – contract running down at Monaco, top quality player. I was panicking massively when my wage offerings were restricted in June to a max of £11k p/w on key players…but thankfully towards the end of July this was lifted and I was able to offer Almamy a deal he couldn’t refuse as he chose me over PSV. A free signing of a key player is beautiful. Even though Pied was one of our star men last season at RB I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring Toure in and he will be first choice.
We made use of the loan market in our first season with deals to beef out the depth in the centre of midfield with season long loans for Jordan Ferri & Alessandro Murgia, both were very solid and well worth their loans. I also had Gaspar from Monaco to support both full back positions. I know I’ll need to maximise my 4 long term loans.
As the first season rumbled on I obviously had my scouts out and about, I did zero manual scouting myself in this first season as I wanted to focus more on my current squad & tactics. I’ll probably have a proper scour of teams at the end of season 2 as I usually like to do this every 2 seasons. My scouts occassionally came back to me with players they rated highly which led to these two fellas joining me:
As the season drew to an end I also came across David Simao, my scouts informing me his contract was running down & I snapped him up before the scout report even came back
So this leaves me with considering my striker and the role it’ll play next season. I want to shift Remy ideally as he’s not getting any younger and just really isn’t good enough. I do think I’ll struggle to shift him however. With that in mind & conscious that with end of season contract wage increases I had very little to play with it was time to use the loan market. As much as I’d love to bring in a young striker I’ve tried in vain to find one of the right ability, I’d love to bring someone in who is good in the air, strong but also quick. With my budget and reputation it’s always going to be hard to attract players of sufficient quality for the right price. It may even be that two loan strikers are brought in should Remy leave so that I’ve good quality rotation which will be crucial this season.
In comes Moise who was Kean to join us from Juve; a superstar in the making and a cracking set of attributes. Strong, fairly quick and good in the air he should hopefully thrive with us and can also provide cover in both AMR/L roles.
So I’d love to bring in a similar player to rotate the striker role throughout the season, in comes Dominic Solanke. Someone I’ve never managed in FM and a player I’m hoping can contribute plenty of goals this coming season.
I feel I should tell you I’m playing as I write this blog and things can move quite fast that way. With Fonte in his final season at the club I want to make sure we have a long term replacement for him, but he will need to be good enough to make the first team this season as Fonte will no doubt struggle to play 2/3 games a week at his age. Step forward the ever cheap and reliable South African, Coetzee.
In come Mario Ferreira from Guimaraes (sorry Samo) on an end of contract deal with just the £625k signing on fee to pay. Jorge Cuenca joins on loan from Barcelona to add some solid backup to my BPD roles in central defence.
Some of the best news though as that I’ve managed to shift some of my unwanted players, albeit mostly for fees slightly less than I ideally wanted but at least their wages are cleared and that was the key thing. The outgoings as of the first game of the season are as below:
As we approach our first game of the season (away at Marseille) I’m quite happy with the balance of my squad. But a spanner is thrown into the works in the build up to the Marseille game…
The Chairman takes matters into his own hands and accepts a healthy bid for Ikone, if I’m honest it would have tempted me also so I don’t blame him too much – especially given our finances this would help a great deal. Do I look to replace with the healthy transfer budget I have or look to my current squad to fill the gap? I’ve definitely got 3 or 4 players who can play AMR within my current system but not IF(A) as good as Kone. We shall see.
Anyway, I’ve waffled on too long yet again. It’s been an interesting summer and I’m excited for the season ahead. Can we maintain over-achievement and push into the top 3? Here’s hoping!