The preseason came, and we did good. We made a tour through Switzerland, were we played against:
Liefering (Win 4-1)
FC Zurich (Draw 1-1)
Cosenza Calcio (Win 1-0)
Città Di Pontedera (Win 2-1))
Trapani Calcio (Win 4-0)
Good preseason, but was time to rearrange the team. Defensively at least, we needed reinforcements.
Since Hasenhüttl left the team because he thought that they needed reinforcements, i was a bit afraid of that when i asked what resources would be available to me.
Mintzlaff guaranteed me: "We have money. We can make the players come. The only problem is that Leipzig was a newcomer last season, so the outside players are a bit affraid, thinking that they could sign, and get relegated on this season.
But with an ex-player like you has their manager, they would think twice. They would be persuated to come and be as sucessfull as you were...Right ??
I replied: "Right, so i have total control over the team, staff and possible money to be spent ?"
Mintzlaff replied, smiling: "Total control. We are not yet powerful in that department, but it will be no problem, since we will become one of the most rich clubs in Germany in 1-2 years, if we keep the european qualifications at least"
I told him: "European qualifications ? No. I pretend to fight at least for the top 3. But my objetive will be that one."
He laughed, and replied: "We would not expect that much from you, but if you say it can happen, i believe in you. That's why you took the place. Lets make it happen then!"
With total control, it was time to reorganise the team. Sell out the unwanted players, and bring up some gems, top quality players. Or those that were meant-to-be stars. I pretended to create a young, but winning team already.
With the help of the staff, i've created a list of excedentary players, those that would not fit or would not reach the level that i wanted them to reach.
After the pre season, i thougth that we need more ball control players, more maestros, more chance creator man's. We only had one, and it was a defensive one...Naby Keita.
So, i looked up to those i thought that would not fit the team, in order to create space and to up even more my transfer balance.
Ilsanker got first. After all pre season games, i knew that he would not fit my tactics. A good boy indeed, but not for a team that fights for the first places in the Bundesliga...
I've talked to him, and he didn't got mad. Instead, it thanked me, because i were so respectful. We place him on the market, and we soon got a offer of 7m from Ajax. We accepted it, and he got transfered.
I told him: "Good luck boy, i wish you all of the best on Ajax"
He told me: "I know that these boys only need a command voice. I believe you will make them great again coach! Thank you, and goodbye!"
First clearance made. Who would be next ? Well, a surprise one. In the preseason games i was told by someone that an Everton scout were in all of our games, looking for a poacher, an eficient striker...
"Could it be Timo? No, not in hell it his. I will not let him go for any price" i thinked...
Turns out, it was not Werner. But Poulsen instead.
"Damn, he was going good, 3 games and got 3 goals...But last season he was not that eficient alongside Timo..."
I've thinked a bit more..."Damn. I would let him go, but not for a bargain. 15 millions maybe ? That way i could get a new and good one..."
The day after, Poulsen came to me - ""Coach, you do know that Everton was watching me right ?"
I told him""Yeah, i knew lad. But let me say that the club comes first, and i really need you here. But if they really want you, they need to pay a fair price...Is that ok for you?"
""More than ok coach. This team had let me show my football, nothing more fair than that. But England, the Premier...Is a old dream."
""Boy, if they really want you, they will pay anything. Believe me. Talk to your agent, and tell him that."
His agent got the message. Mintzlaff had a meeting with him next day, because Everton proposed a offer...of 12 millions.
""What do you think Lahm?. Not that bad..."
""Not that bad, but not good either. He is an amazing player, lots of potential, and a real poacher. So, pump up that value. 15 millions or nothing. We are not on sales right now"
Mintzlaff agreed, and told to the agent to talk to the Everton representatives...3 days after that meeting, Mintzlaff called me.
""Lahm, after some negotiation, Everton proposed a total fee of 17 millions, plus a bonus of 20% on the next transfer...A good offer isn't it ?"
"Yes it is. But im sad to see him go. But it is his dream, i think we should accept it."
I caught up with Poulsen later: "Boy, i have to say that Everton proposed a fee of 17m plus bonus"
"And, what happened?"
"We have acepted the offer. Pack your things, your old dream will become reality...Congratulations"
"God, yeah!!!! Sorry coach, this is not a relief scream, but more of a dream to come true...I will always be thankfull to Leipzig, the boys know it well...But damn if it isn't the best league in the World!"
"Keep the confidence and personality, and you will surely suceed there...Tougher and stronger defensive players, so be ready...And i know that you are thankful. But it is what it is, we ask for a price, and they have paid it. Now, i wish you the very best boy!"
He hugged me, and left for his house to pack is things up...
The deal was made. Poulsen on his way to the Premier League for 17m..."One more headache to me. Where will i get such a prolific striker, or better ?"
Days went by, and more offers came to our players...
Kaiser was next. Another midfielder, another reasonable player. But not for a team that aims to be on top. And his performances on the preseason games were less than good.The only problem with Kaiser was that he had less search, what led to place him on the loan market.
Brondby proposed a 1 season loan offer."The tactic i want to implement does not fit his playing style. Plus he is out of form. This could be a wake up call for him"!
We accepted the offer. But Kaiser was not that happy, but understood.
"I don't see why i wouldn't fit the tactic, but it is ok. Maybe the increased time that i will play on Brondby will prove you wrong"
""Kaiser, take this loan as a wake up call. Play well, the way i know you can, and maybe you can comeback...". He leaned is head, turned his back and left...
Gulacsi and Benno Schmitz were next, but in different perspectives.
Gulacsi was a surprise move. I counted on him, but the offer from CSKA Moscow was better than expected. Since Akinfeev got badly injured, they had been looking for a replacement on short terms.
Then they made a great offer: 1 season loan, with complete salary paid by them, and with a fee of 89k per game...
Gulacsi was delighted, since he knew that Mvogo could be 1st team regular. "I will play more, and comeback stronger...I want to go coach."
"Ok then, we will accept their offer. I understand the motives, so i wish you the very best"
We placed Benno on the loan market too, but he understood it perfectly, since Klostermann would not leave chance for him to reach 1st team...Istanbul Basaksehir offered him a loan spell, and he was amazed by their interest. 1st team regular assured, and he was ready to go.
"I will comeback coach, believe me!"
"Ok then, but enjoy your stay there lad".
And then, Commper. Despite his experience, his football was less than expected. The only one that i was completely sure that i didnt want. But then again, no search...
Loan list. And then came Zwolle, with a offer of 1 season long spell, with only 20% of his salay paid by them.
I was not happy, but not sad either. So i let him go, and acepted the offer. Plus, he was being paid an hefty fee, 15k per week ? No way.
Another one made. This would lead to less wages paid, and could lead to offer bigger contracts to newer players, better ones.
I was delighted, but afraid.
"This is good, will give me more liberty on contract promising and amazing players...But more work to do, as i need to fulfill their exits"