A Summer at Stoke City
Writing the transfer window update is one of my most favourite to write as I always look forward to reading your reactions to my decisions, whether negative or positive. Unfortunately, even if you react negatively to my decisions on which players I allow to leave or sign, I will remain stubborn and have continued faith in myself. Going with my instinct has paid off for me in the past at other clubs in this save and on other Football Manager games so I do have a good track record. However, I will be first to admit later in this update that I may have made a couple of bad decisions.
Before signing any players, I felt it necessary to empty the squad slightly and get rid of some players who were on inflated wages which would free up extra funds to invest in the squad. Jordan Ibe’s development had been hindered since the beginning of the save with the club’s responsible for him not giving him time to shine and show off what he was potential of; I am included in that statement unfortunately. The best bit of business I have done in terms of players leaving the club is Ibe as we have paid a healthy £300k profit after one season where he only featured six times and finished with a poor average rating of 6.54. My first mistake of this transfer window was the deal involving Diafra Sakho leaving the club for Ipswich Town. The transfer window before I joined the club, Stoke had forked out £3million for his services; I allowed him to leave for a fee of £575k. That is one almighty loss which will damage the club’s finances greatly. I should have been a lot more patient and waited for a club to come in and pay a greater amount for him. Unfortunately, I was desperate to empty the club of the players I didn’t want before preseason started so I was willing to accept any amount. What an idiot! He is not a loss in terms of ability and he only featured eleven times scoring one goal last season. He is a loss in terms of finances only. The rest of the players to leave were youngsters and were no great loss to the club.
The departure of Arnautovic was disappointing but he decided that his future lied away from the club and felt he was bigger and better than us. You know from my past disagreement with Dominic Poleon, who incidentally is no clubless (haha), that I don’t want any players who have that mindset to stay at the club. They are shown the door quickly!
The second mistake I made this transfer window is a double header and one that I might regret. It is simple; I have overpaid for my two signings!
Jack Rodwell is a quality player with a lot of experience but with him not getting any younger, I do think I should have tried to sign him for a much lower transfer fee which could have allowed me to sign one or two other players. My thoughts behind his signing is that our key player, who amazingly is Marouane Fellaini, is coming towards the end of his career and can’t be expected to play ninety minutes every week. With the potential of having to play more games this season due to the participation in the Europa League, it is important that we have a player in the squad who can replace Fellaini who needs to be saved for the Premier League. Rodwell is an ideal replacement but he is someone who I overpaid for as a result of my desire to have him at the club.
The second part of the mistake was again, I feel, paying over the odds for Jaka Ceh. The signing of Ceh is one that involved me having one eye on the future. He is a great young player who had a great season last time around for Fulham having scored twenty-one goals in forty appearances. That record was only five behind the Championship’s golden boot winner who scored twenty-six for Fleetwood Town who are loving life in the dizzy heights of the Championship. Ceh is definitely going to be one of the first names on the team sheet as I want to help him develop even more to help him become a great player. I am sure he will slot straight into the squad and find it easy to adapt his preferred style of play to my preferred tactics and he will find it easy to strike up a lethal partnership with whoever else I decide to play alongside him. I firmly believe he could be the player to guide the club to success on many fronts this coming season. An exciting young player! An exciting season ahead!