21/22 Summer window
Here we are. Season 4 is upon us and we are back in the Champions League and for the first time in this save, the vultures were circling. All of our top players were linked to moves (mainly to England) and it was a case of trying to keep the team together. I should have expected it but it did change pre-season plans.
The first to leave was South American Yefferson Soteldo who i sold to Middlesbrough for £2.5m. This one i was most comfortable with as his first season was pretty lacklustre and it was a nice little profit from last year. The 2nd to leave was Manu Garcia in a £5m deal to Newcastle. I couldn't do much on this one as it was his minimum release fee and they were offering a lot more money on his wages so the Spaniard was back in English football. Towards the end of the last season, Garcia was controlling everything for us so it was a massive blow.
Middlesbrough came back in for Branimir Hrgota and his £5m release fee was met and i was fearing losing my only striker but somehow the FM gods heard my tears because the Swede rejected the deal and opted to stay. The 4th player targeted was Keeper Osman Hadzikic whose £5m release fee was met by Atlanta United of the MLS and the Austrian will be leaving in February.
Back up keeper Musiminovic was a little whingey and so he was sold on for a small profit as well as 4th choice centre half Helik and a few youngsters as well as we managed to shift on quite a bit and raise some money for some new signings which we clearly needed.
First of all, as expected we couldn't get Nwakali back on loan as Arsenal were only looking for a permanent sale and we were no where near to having the money to splash out on one player. Winger Grandsir though is staying for his 4th loan spell in Poland whilst youngster Adli was allowed to go back to PSG. So we needed an inside forward for each side and at least 1 AMC for the season so that was our number 1 priority. The Loan market was kind to us as we bought in Ademola Lookman
for his 2nd loan spell at the club as well as Brahim Diaz
from Man City. Two potential superstars for this league and giving us great options for their spots. For the right winger, i wanted to bring in a Pole and so i signed Przemyslaw Frankowski
from Jagellonia for £1.5m. He will likely be a back up to Grandsir but it means we finally have an AMR of our own having relied on loans for the last 3 seasons.
Boosting the Attacking midfield options i signed 22 year old Croatian Luka Ivanusec
for just over £500k. He has something about him that i like and if he can adapt to the league he could be a little gem for us. He will rotate with Diaz and i will play who ever performs best. With Garcia leaving we needed a new CM so i signed Norwegian Anders Trondsen
from Rosenborg for £1.4m to become my new Mezzala with Ukrainian Orest Silyuk
signed on a free to be a player for the future. With the goalkeeping situation looking troublesome when Hadzikic leaves in February, i needed a new man to take the No.1 spot in the future and Sergio Mora
of Colombia was the man i have chosen. A snip at £300k, he will go on an intense language course to get him ready for the step up in the 2nd half of the season.
On the Pitch
Europe dominates the early fixtures as we juggle our European ambitions with the start of the league campaign and it was tough going. I think the number of new faces i needed to integrate was a problem as i really didnt expect to get picked apart like i did.
We got through the first two rounds in the Champions League with relative ease beating RFS of Latvia (7-1 on aggregate) and then beating Rijeka (2-0 on aggregate) to set up a tough 3rd qualifying round tie against AEK Athens. Ill discipline crept in as we blew two leads at home whilst going down to 10 men to draw 2-2 in Krakow before going to Athens and getting comfortably beaten 2-0 to send us into the Europa League.
Qarabag were the opponents and my confidence was high having played them 2 years ago and getting past them. We once again went down to 10 men in the first leg at home and the 2-1 loss meant we had a hard job in Baku and it was just too much as we could only muster a 0-0 draw away from home. A very bitter blow as European success is really the next major task for me having won the domestic title twice already.
Our League campaign has been Ok with our only defeat being against bitter rivals Wisla who are seemingly back to being a force in the league. We did in the meantime win the Superpuchar beating Zaglebie Lubin 3-0 in a comfortable little showing to give me my 4th Trophy.
With Europe a distant dream it will now need to be a League and Cup double for me to be satisfied with this fourth season. I am demanding Domestic Dominance and anything less will see this season as an abject failure for me.