"What a mistake to come with shorts"- Jorge Jesus thought after running a lap around the field in the mornng training session. It was the January-cold striking at Lisbon, but atleast there was something particullary good about this morning for Jesus. The centre back, Balanta, was having a good training session and looked just perfectly fit to come back to the pitch.
"This may really be a great new for our defence" said Jesus to Raúl José, his assistant coach.
"And it comes in the best time possible" was the reply of his faithfull man, that was his assistant for more than 10 years.
The defence sector had been worrying Jesus for the last weeks. In the 3 matches of 2016, the team had conceeded 5 goals, and that had cost some points.
"Do you think he should start the match tomorrow?" asked Raúl José.
"I don't see why not. He've always been important, and he looks ready."
Raúl José nodded with a small smile on his face.
"I'm going to run another lap, want to join?" said Jesus, that couldn't bear the cold for much longer.
"Yeah sure, it might take this cold away".
An hour later the training was over, and when leaving the pitch Jesus looked to the bench to see what he was expecting.
Sporting's president, Bruno de Carvalho, was there and approach Jesus after a while.
"How did it go?" asked the president.
"Good enough. How are you today?"
"Cold. Let's go inside."
"Good idea", replyed Jorge Jesus dying to get warmer.
After a little walk, they reached an empty room. Got in, and seated.
"So... yesterday you called so we could talk today. What is it about?" asked Jesus.
"Well, we've been over this, but I can't help it but come back to that now that is time", started Bruno de Carvalho, " The transfer market is open, and so I wanted to have a little talk about any possibilities of improving the team now, in case your mind has changed".
"Do you have any particullary ideas about that?"
"Not really, I just wanted to see if you need something for the team. I'd be happy to consider something that wouldn't be too expensive for the club." said the president before finishing, "I've seen that the defence is not corresponding so well in the last couple matches".
Jorge Jesus studied for a while the words of the man sitting opposite him and then replyed - "Oh, is nothing to worry. We will now have Balanta back, and I have complete trust on the other centre and full backs."
"Fair enough" replied the president.
"But, as we are in here, maybe this would be a good time to talk about some other aspects." said Jesus "To the future, I mean."
"Sure, what about?"
"To start, our midfield. Our valuable trio - William, Adrien and João Mário - have been linked to clubs all around Europe day in day out. Taking into acount this first half of the season, is no surprise. So, I think we might want to secure them better. I know exactly what's the club finnancial situation, but don't you dream about that sometimes?"
"I like where you're going. But ... dream about what?"
"About that universe where Sporting can actually keep their best players. Even more if they come from Sporting's Academy. Can you imagine the amazing teams we would have put througout the years? I think is time to make a finnancial effort, so we can make this become, atleast, more possible"
"I totally understand what you're saying... Sometimes I go to this parallel universe when we had for years players like Luís Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and others"
"Yes. I think we are having a golden generation right now." Jorge Jesus said, "With the possibility of renewing William, Adrien and João Mário's contract, I believe we can have here a midfield for the next many years. - A world class midfield - And we should do our best to keep them"
Bruno de Carvalho couldn't help but smile, - "Of course we should. It will never be easy. But we'll definitely do it".
Jorge Jesus wasn't surprised. He knew exactly how much Bruno de Carvalho loved this club and knew he would do anything to have them succeeding, - "Do you think about renewing their contracts in the next months?"
"Months? I'll do it as quickly as I can. I understand how important they can be to us. A Sporting-made midfield, formed with Sporting lovers is great step to the success." Bruno de Carvalho smile warmly. "Carlos Mané is someone I'm thinking about giving a new contract too."
"I also want Carlos for the long run. We can't let go of this generations and it's important to renew some contracts, and invest more in those who are already here, that we know what they can do, than to risk money in the unknown".
"Ok", replied Bruno de Carvalho "I'll be talking with them soon, and we have a new talk on this at the end of the season again", "Oh! And Jefferson... he's long overdue."
"About Jefferson. He's a very decent player, and with a decent back up like Jonathan, but... could we still dream about Coentrão?"
"I don't think so. Real Madrid won't just let him go for free, and his wages are unsupportable. Who knows what can happen in the summer ... but for now, Jefferson will have this contract that he deserves"
"I agree". Jorge Jesus was definetely happy with this conversation. His ideas was absolutely shared with the president, just like in the first day.
"Jorge" - called Bruno de Carvalho, interrupting Jesus from a distracting moment.
"Hmm..", replyed Jorge Jesus, still a little confused.
"What do you think?"
"Think?! About what?"
"Tobias ... wasn't I just talking about the good season Tobias Figueiredo is doing at Marítimo?"
"Oh yes, of course. Yes, yes. I think he might fight for a place in the squad next year.", said Jesus "He's one of those who have impressed me the most. I'm also enjoying very much Ryan Gauld - what a natural talent - he might be important next season for us."
"I think so too." replyed the president "Do you have a possible squad for next year in mind?"
"Well, it's obviously very early for that ... but I admit I've thought about that."
Bruno de Carvalho laughed for a bit.
Jesus also smiled, - "Thruth is ... I really think our Academy is the way...", "so... Boeck will be out of contract next year, and a youngster like Luís Ribeiro or maybe Pedro Silva will be enough to take his place".
Bruno de Carvalho nodded.
"Then, in the right of the defence, we have Geraldes and Miguel Lopes on loan. It's possibly the best time to sell João Pereira, and still make some profit if possible with him, and Esgaio will be very solid in the team next year, I believe. Then we see what the loaned can do." Jorge Jesus flinched a little, "We should be alert about Cédric Soares, he's also of this generation of Sporting's Academy values, and who knows if we can get him back. Although is hard, I know."
"To the center I'm confident about what we have on the team. Also Tobias and Semedo will be back"., "If we can dream I'd say let's get Daniel Carriço and Eric Dier back. (laughs) This academy really is great in talent"
Bruno de Carvalho laughed at that. He could clearly see this monster Sporting-made team. But the errors of the past couldn't be erased. He could only change the future.
"The left side," - continued Jesus - "is done for the next years... Let's also be alert to Coentrão situation".
"The midfield is easy enough. William, Adrien and João Mário. Then we'll get Wallyson back from loan next year, and also Gauld and Palhinha", "I don't think will have difficulties here. Only Gauld really isn't an Sporting's Academy player. Can you believe it?", "We are heading for a fully Lions team".
Bruno de Carvalho was smiling and said "Yes, we still lack the most hard thing ... to keep them! But I'm confident we will"
Jorge Jesus could see this green-and-white pride team getting to the pitch in the next many years, and smiled by thinking about that, - "Then, it comes our speciality, if we can call it that, but ... the wings. - Mané, Gelson and Matheus - Are already on the team, and for the long term, I hope. Zivkovic is also a important player, ready to explode, and might be around for a while. I can't forget also Iuri Medeiros. He's doing brilliantly in Moreirense, and Podence from the B team. This will be a really hard decision for the next year"
"Then Upfront," - said Jesus, ready to finish - "is also to early to say... there's the Achilles' heel of our Academy. But Teo and Slimani are just doing great, and I still hope for some improvement from Montero", "Anyway, is also a position to be alert about the market, for the summer we may want to change something".
"Well, that was enlightening, each time I understand better what a great decision I made when I brough you home." said Bruno de Carvalho, "We'll talk more about that until the end of the season and in the summer. But it's nice to know your thoughts on that, really happy with this conversation".
"Great. I think the best is still to come, and we'll do it together", replied Jesus.
"Oh yes, no doubt. Well, time to go then. You're having a afternoon training session today?"
"Of course. (laughs) There's no rest with me."
"Fair enough, let's go then, is almost lunch time.", said Bruno de Carvalho as they leaved the room.