It is the 22nd of July 2023, and we will look back on Bradford Park Avenue's summer so far as many changes take place within the club.
How can we talk about a footballing summer without discussing the transfers? This summer, Bradford PA have signed up three new players, in stark contrast to the twelve players that had arrived at Elland Road on the same date exactly one year ago.
In total, Chabukiani has spent £11.75M of his several hundred million pound transfer budget on a total of three players. However, all of that money has gone onto one player - a Manchester United goalkeeper - going by the name of John Taylor.
Taylor, 21 years old, joined the United academy in 2014, aged just eleven years old at the time. A scholars contract was signed by the player's agent Andy Johnson aged seventeen. He spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Newport County where he made eight league appearances, conceding seven goals. Successful loan spells at Birmingham and Ipswich followed two years in a row afterwards.
Taylor made his Red Devils first-team debut in the 2021/22 season when he played a part in two cup matches where he only conceded one goal. However last season he failed to appear in one match all season and the England Under-21's international was deemed surplus to requirements when the club accepted an £11.75M offer for Taylor from Bradford, a deal which could rise to as much as £23M depending on circumstances.
Hamburg striker Daniel Kurczynski
and Lorient striker Stanley Williams
both joined Bradford at the end of their contracts at their respective clubs, with both looking increasingly promising talents at their former teams.
But it is the departures which have made the headlines on the back pages all summer, with as many as 27 players leaving The Avenue permanently, Bradford picking up a total of £167M from the fees involved.
The exodus began with the opening of the Dutch transfer window as PSV swooped for their parent club's Slovakian midfielder Marcel Nemec
in a transfer involving a £2M fee.
This carried on into the 9th June as the English transfer window opened its shutters as a development team trio fled the club for other suitors. José Carlos Monteiro Bessa
- Avenue's Portuguese striker - left for £1M to join Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday. Meanwhile, Gage Tracey and John South
both followed each other to agree deals with Swansea City in a combined fee of £5.3M.
Tottenham Hotspur were the next in line for a double swoop of Bradford's first-team players. Spurs grabbed both Scottish full-back Keith Miller
for £5.5M, and Nico Elvedi
for £22M including installments.
Despite becoming somewhat of a fans' favourite over recent season's, Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer
was sold to fellow Premier League side Aston Villa for a bargain fee of £1M for the 34-year-old.
Perhaps the biggest transfer of the summer so far involved Chelsea as they had a £19M offer for Croatian star Alen Halilovic
accepted by Adam Chabukiani. Halilovic signed a four-year contract with the Kensington-based club and will earn £96,000 per week at Stamford Bridge.
Several failed attempts at gaining a work permit for Brazilian left-winger André
left the player shunned out of England for a long while. Now he departs permanently to Málaga C.F. for a sizeable fee of £8M.
followed his South American buddy to Spain as the Argentinian midfielder signed a deal with Granada for £4.5M.
The 1st July was a busy day for Bradford, with pre-contracts agreed with many clubs among Europe, the West Yorkshire side lost seven players this day as transfer windows around the continent began to finally open up. The first departure this day was Callum Slattery
in a surprise move to Serie A runners-up AS Roma in a £17M deal.
- another player who failed to be granted a work permit in England - was signed up by Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for £5M. The Algerian centre-back was a bright prospect failed by the government's resistance to give the player a permit to play here. He spent three years on loan to Olimpic - one of our feeder clubs.
After four seperate loan spells and a lot of surrounding hype, Neto
has failed the critics appraisal of himself and has been sent to Bologna for £7M. The full-back never made an appearance for Bradford after loan spells at León, Sporting, Thun and Montpellier.
The Salvadoran national hero José Luis Aguilar
failed to make an impact for his club team, despite major success with his national team El Salvador. The 46-time international striker has been shipped off to France as he joins Olympique Marseille for a large £12M fee.
Signed alongside André, Jordan Morrison
failed to gain a work permit in the UK and spent most of his contract on loan in other countries and impressing there, too. But this summer has seen the Colombian full-back leave for Stuttgart in a £10M transfer.
Despite high ratings from coaches at Bradford Park Avenue, Victor Quiroz
has seen his time in Yorkshire come to an abrupt end as his £8M switch to Sevilla is finalised by both teams and ratified by the league associations involved.
After a career that started so brightly at the age of 17, Bradford PA youth graduate Tony Cooke
has been sold to Southampton for £2.5M. Cooke made almost 50 appearances at left-back for Avenue as the club was rising through League One and The Championship but saw himself frozen out as the club looked for better options in the top-flight.
Priced at £14M, Luciano Pesce
swaps The Avenue for St. James' Park as the midfielder joins Newcastle for the new season. Given the number thirteen shirt this season, Pesce looks to impress in England after a poor start to life in the United Kingdom so far.
The most recent first-team player to be shot down by the club is Cláudio
, who joins Liverpool in a £13M transfer. The Brazilian number 10 saw himself frozen out of the starting eleven as Chabukiani switched to a 4-4-2 formation, excluding Cláudio's favourable position of attacking-midfield.
This preseason, I recommended that we take the team on a preseason tour to China. Not only to get ourselves used to the foreign conditions in the East that we need to get more used to due to our involvement with the Champions League, but also for commercial reasons such as expanding the fanbase outwards to Asia, in a country populated with over a billion citizens.
During the tour we faced the toughest teams that the Chinese had to offer as we played Beijing Guo'an, Shanghai Shenhua and Guangzhou Hengda. We won all of our matches in China, with a 3-1 win over Beijing, 4-1 against Shenhua and our best performance in the final game against Guangzhou where it finished 6-0.
Following that, we proceeded to face two of our feeder clubs in both Ebbsfleet and Woking - both away ties so that they could receive all gate receipts as part of the agreement. We proved our Premier League class in both matches, with an 11-0 win against Ebbsfleet in a match where first-team entrant Roger Pursehouse scored a hat-trick. We defeated Woking 8-0 with Jack Hallahan bagging four, and Jurij Dinaburskij getting a hat-trick.
Still to go in our preseason schedule is a huge friendly against global superstars Real Madrid - who are possible Champions League opponents. We will face Los Galacticos at home as The Avenue expects a large crowd. Following that, we will play another one of our feeder clubs in PSV Eindhoven at Philips Stadion on 2nd of August.
After our preseason, we will have our first competitive match in the Community Shield against last season's Premier League winners Arsenal, followed by our first Premier League match against the same team a week afterwards.
The Job Offer
Admittedly, I was finally tempted by another club. Just a few days ago, I was offered the managerial post at FC Barcelona following Joachim Low's retirement from football management.
I attended the interview with the Barca representatives, including the chairman Juan Manuel Muguruza and I agreed with all the principles they had put forward. I agreed to play possession football which was direct as well.
Shortly afterwards, John Dean held a meeting with me as well as director Gareth Roberts. He tried to convince me to stay by offering me a new contract with the club, which I agreed to initially until I rejected the talks completely.
After the rejection of John Dean and Bradford PA, Barcelona went forward to offer me a contract at Camp Nou. This was where the talks broke down with Barcelona. I am currently earning £50,000 per week at The Avenue (including my yearly wage rise written in the contract). Barcelona would refuse to budge any higher than £49,000 per week. With Champions League football coming our way this season, along with the history that I have shared over the past eight years with Bradford, I saw no point in leaving the club I have loved all my life for absolutely no gain other than a bolstered reputation.
I rejected the offer from FC Barcelona and came out in the press to profess my loyalty to Bradford Park Avenue.
The last segment of this article comes with news of the new contracts offered by myself to people involved already with the club.
This summer I have offered new contracts with every single member of the backroom staff at the club, to which all have accepted my offer to keep on at the club.
The first to sign a new contract was Joan Montenegro, the highly talented Argentinian centre-back. He signed a five-year deal until 2028, earning £150,000. However the main reason I had to offer a new deal was that, with Montenegro's valuation at £38.5M, his minimum fee release clause was only £36M. This has now risen to £96M which should hopefully fend off any clubs coming in for him.
Jurij Dinaburskij signed a £120,000 per week contract, with is release clause now set at £127M which will definitely get rid of any bargains for potential offers. He has signed until 2028 like Montenegro.
Finally, Carmelo Troccoli has signed a new contract and in rather dramatic circumstances. Troccoli's release clause in his old deal was £46M, which Arsenal had activated and already started discussing contract terms with the Italian winger. Luckily, we offered a new contract with a higher release clause (£89M) and he rejected Arsenal's approach to sign a five-year deal. This puts three of our most talented up-and-coming players on long-term deals and low-threat of losing them.