Stade de Reims 20/21 Summer Window
Season 4 is upon us and as an established Ligue 1 side now we are now at the point where i want us to be getting into the Champions League spots. With the extra spot open to France it means a 4th place finish will do. With the defence now the focus in the window, what could we do?
Leaving us were predominantly players out of the first team. Carrasso and Mendy were the 2nd and 1st choice keepers at the club and they have both been here since i started but are not of the level that will take us to that next level. Picking up £4.3m in return helped the coffers too.
Tobias Levels and Eugene Tkachuk have both been complaining about game time and both were moved on having not really impressed in their two years at the club. Ndom, Disasi and Mbemba were all reserve players who had been out on loan for the last few years and were never realistically going to make the team.
Finally, Chavalerin and Abdelhamid were both surplus to requirements and i tried to shift them on permanently but in the end all i could get were loan deals with a little bit of income coming in.
I have to say this was a frustrating window as i was pipped to many players and there were also some stupid wage demands that completely killed others. For example one player was on £10k per week at his club. I come in and he demands £100k per wek and he was meant to be interested in joining! So in the end, it is just 5 new faces.
I clearly needed a keeper having sold my first choice keepers and for a year i had been tracking Kevin Trapp
and he was eventually released on a free transfer from PSG and it meant his wage demands became reasonable. So the German International is now the new number 1. He was quickly followed by Alfie Mawson
who was out of favour at Burnley and was signed up for £1.5m. The Englishman hasn't had the best of luck in the last few years and perhaps hasn't progressed to his potential but he is a step up at the back and with Foden having done well here, my history with Englishman has been good.
The next in through the door were two more defenders. Tunisian Aymen Abdennour
is now 30 but he has International experience and still has the brute strength to dominate at the back. He should partner Le Marchand or Mawson at the back. Seamus Coleman
was not my first choice for a right back being older than my other choices and also a bit more expensive. At 31 he is coming towards the end of his career but he is still well rounded and should on paper be a lot better than my other option Vidal. His injury prownness is the other big worry and at £3.9m he is a touch expensive with little to no resell value..
The final signing of the window was another Englishman and it was a free transfer as i took Patrick Roberts
on. Great pace and great dribbling skills means he could turn into an almighty threat for me on the right wing.
On the pitch
So onto the pitch. Pre-season was pretty decent with a nice victory over Werder Bremen being the highlight for me. The League season started on paper with tough ties against Bordeaux, Stade Rennais and Lyon, all of which should be finishing above or around me this season.
The season kicked off with Bordeaux and we went behind but once again showed that Reims fighting spirit to take the classic 2-1 victory with Adelaide and Siebatcheu among the goals. Stade Rennais were a tough side last year and almost took the title but this season they seem to be a shadow of the side as we easily brushed them aside 3-0 to take all of the points. We did though slip up against Lyon having taken the lead but eventually falling behind to lose the match 2-1. A tough loss but with 6 points against tough opposition there is some hope we can get that vital Champions League spot
So our run last year must have helped the co-efficients as were a 3rd seed this time around and we have an interesting draw this time around. Paired with Everton, Hamburg and PAOK, i think the group is actually tougher than last year but i think we can get the better of Hamburg in particular to take us to the knockout rounds.
So this piece of news hit my inbox and to be honest it threw a spanner in the works as i hadn't really thought about International football. Perhaps it was the World Cup fever, perhaps it was England's showing and perhaps i wanted to end the year's of hurt but this job was very very tempting. And i nearly took it.
However, going back to the point of the save, it is about taking clubs who almost hit the pinnacle and winning the top European trophy that was taken from them. The international equivalent is getting to the World Cup final and losing and England have won the tournament so do not fit on these grounds. However, there are other teams that do need redeeming and for that reason alone i am spreading the wings to countries that got to the final only to lose. So the International teams that need redeeming are.
Netherlands (1974, 1978, 2010)
Czechoslovakia (1934, 1962) (Both the Czech Rep and Slovakia shall count)
Hungary (1938, 1954)
Mexico (2018) * They lost 1-0 to Senegal in game (Yup Senegal are World Champs)