Here is what else Almere City have been up to in the transfer market:
1. Midfielder Rafik El Hamdi has agreed to a pre-contract with us for a free transfer from Volendam. I'm kinda taking a punt on him since I don't have a clear view of his ability yet, but it is clear he has some ability. More details when he joins the club officially.
2. Midfielder Soufyan Ahannach has been sold to Anderlecht for 550k. He wanted out, Anderlecht wanted him, and we always need cash, so it was an easy deal to conclude.
3. Almere City have signed midfielder Danny Tol on a free transfer to replace him. He isn't very technical, but has physical ability and can read the game well.
4. Almere City was in talks with Leicester about left fullback Zoumana Bakayogo for a loan deal. Leicester agreed to a deal, but Bakayogo refused to move, so the deal is off.
I don't know what the transfer market is like, but it seems like 550k isn't a lot for a player of Ahannach's calibre. That being said, player power is way overpowered in this game and it would be hard to keep him if you didn't sell.
That was his listed value at the time, and it's really hard to haggle for value when you're a small team in a small country without much TV money and the other teams in Europe know you need to sell your players to make budget. Plus, players are very fungible at this level anyway. If you get a chance to sell, you can, and then find a similar player at the same cost or cheaper.
Alexander N'Doumbou got off to an incredibly hot start, racking up a hat trick in the first half. Unfortunately, in the second half Seku Conneh racked up a hat trick of his own, then added a 4th. N'Doumbou added a 4th as well, and this game ended in a very exciting 4-4 draw.
Almere City 4 - 1 Jong PSV
Although it was Mamedov who kicked off the scoring with a brace, N'Doumbou continued his dazzling form with a brace of his own. The only blemish was when we conceded a penalty, it was missed, but rebounded off Koeman and the second shot was the only consolation for Jong PSV.
Almere City 1 - 1 VVV-Venlo
N'Doumbou finally cooled down and so did we, Mamedov scored again but a late equalizer spoiled our day.
Jupiler League Table
Still hanging to one of the playoff spots, although we need to get back into winning form.
Almere City have released Jason Oost, and to replace him have signed Serge Simon:
Den Bosch 2 - 2 Almere City
It looked like we would come behind for victory with a late surge from N'Doumbou, sending in a free kick for Naim Aarab for a goal, then scoring himself after coming through unmarked, but Aarab's mistake in failing to knock down a long ball led to Den Bosch's equalizer. Worse, Alexandre Capita twisted his knee and will be out 4-5 weeks, leaving us with only one healthy left back.
Jong Ajax 0 - 1 Almere City
N'Doumbou scored again, leading Almere City to victory.
Achilles'29 1 - 1 Almere City
I don't think I've ever finished a match with just eight men before, so even though we were looking for a win, a draw is a very good result here.
Almere City 2 - 2 Oss
Another lead we failed to hold on to.
Jupiler League Table
Although we're technically undefeated this month too, we're slipping down the table the bit and we need to start winning again.
Two goals for Waalwijk in the first ten minutes and it was over, this loss slips us to 9th.
Sparta 6 - 4 Almere City
I like blowing up the scoreboard, but not like this! We had a 2-1 lead at one point, but then it got out of hand with Paul Gloden's late hat trick to make it 6-3. We got a consolation goal and that's it.
Almere City 2 - 0 NEC
Serge Simon finally got off the mark for us, and he and N'Doumbou fed each other for goals. It was a dominating performance all-around, and much needed to get back into the thick of things.
The above are the graduates from the Almere City youth academy. Regrettably, there's only one player with potential who graduated this year, and it's unclear if he will ever be useful since he is so slow. I present center back Lorenzo Esseboom:
Another match we take the early lead in but fade late.
Almere City 1 - 2 Emmen
Our losing streak continues, although we were a goal away from coming back from a 2 goal deficit. Lorenzo Esseboom made his debut with 30 minutes left to play and wasn't overly offensive.
Telstar 2 - 1 Almere City
Almere City 0 - 2 Volendam
Just one more match to go! We can't even score a penalty, Lars Nieuwpoort had a 4.5 rating before being sent off, and Thijs Bouma got sent off, so I'm going to start Esseboom in the finale as a form of protest.
Almere City 4 - 1 Jong Twente
As I said, I started Esseboom (who wasn't a complete [expletive]up), and we actually won a (expletive)ing game! We just waited until the final matchday!
Jupiler League Table
Any first season where I don't get fired is very good, honestly. I wasn't expecting to challenge for promotion, since Almere City is so small, although once we got close it's a shame we didn't get there. If we can avoid the tailspin, if we can avoid the terrible defensive play, if we can improve at DM, AMC, and the wingbacks.
Since we all love stats. Naim Aarab and Alexander N'Doumbou were amazing signings, while Roger Meijer, Danny Tol, Serge Simon, and Gigli Ndefe were busts.
With a new season impending, and with greater expectations from the board and from the manager, the Almere City squad is going to look much different for season two of Nathan Limior's reign. The final touches are still yet to have been placed, but there has already been a sea change:
A lot of players were let go as they didn't fit the system. Norair Mamedov (not listed) went back to Willem II, as we couldn't get him to agree to stay for another year. Agil Etemadi and Rodney Sneijder were sold to make some money, although I would have preferred to keep Sneijder, players are fungible at this level and when you can make money, you need to take that chance.
(The Yesin Ben Mohamadi loan was cancelled because he sucked.)
Not spending a single red cent in transfer fees because that would be irresponsible, and we don't need to anyway.
Last playing for Clermont Foot in 2013-14, the Beninese international (who also has French nationality) will be the first choice goalkeeper for the upcoming season. He brings vast experience and still has a lot of physical skill.
I took a punt on him and he kind of sucks, but hopefully he can eat some minutes inoffensively and provide a spark every now and then.
Solidity at the back was necessary, and this Belgian veteran can provide it, as he is fast enough, can jump a bit, and can read the game well. Plus, he is a fellow Belgian, and can speak Dutch, so he can pair with Naim Aarab while my other CB signings pick up the language.
He really doesn't offer anything going forward, but is very defensively solid, so he will basically be a wide defensive midfielder.
Not the greatest of players, but is solid enough and versatile enough to be a good rotational option.
Very solid option at DM who can play the deep lying playmaker role.
Very solid option who should fit into the CB rotation as he learns Dutch.
Solid wing back depth and a creative option.
He was so out of favor at Sampdoria they let us borrow him for 20% of his wages. He isn't as creative as Sneijder was, more defensive, but will fill his box to box role.
Will be first team option at right back, will help out defensively.
And, I'll round out with two free loanees that Ajax was happy to provide this time after being so stingy last season:
He will be the first team option at deep-lying playmaker.
He would be perfect if he was a bit faster. He can read the game well, speaks Dutch, and has better-than-usual first touch and passing to help bring the ball out from the back.
We were in the same spot we were in last year, defending a 2-0 lead, and it looked like we would fold again when Cambuur took advantage of a defensive breakdown to score, but N'Doumbou scored his second goal of the match and sealed it.
Go Ahead Eagles 5 - 0 Almere City
Completely unacceptable, that's all I have to say about this. This performance was trash.