Since confirming my appointment on 2nd June, it has been a hectic few weeks for everybody involved at the club. I had numerous things I wanted to conclude before the beginning of pre-season later in the month, in which would begin with a home fixture against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets on Wednesday 27th June.
The first of those was to familiarise myself with the backroom staff and make suitable additions to further solidify it. Therefore, the following additions were made: Jens Klaas (Coach), Gerald Kemmer (Physio), Christian Möckel (Scout), Matthias Busam (Head of Sports Science), Peer Jaekel (Chief Scout) and Armande Caudron (Sports Scientist). After such additions were made, I was content with my backroom staff for the forthcoming season.
Next on the agenda was meeting individually with any players who had any concerns. I met with three individuals; Jonas Hector, Jannes Horn and Frederik Sørensen. The trio had all attracted attention from elsewhere and as such, were keen to move on. I was happy to oblige to these requests, noting that no player is bigger than the football club and therefore I had no objections to letting anybody go. With the right fee, a player can be replaced.
Over the next few days, I held negotiations with clubs interested in each player. Bayern Munich were keen on attaining the services of Jonas Hector - a German international who had forty caps to his name - and we were able to agree a fee of £26,500,000. This sum of money would go a long way in helping me capture a number of my own transfer targets over the next couple of months and it was a sum that both parties felt content with.
Elsewhere, Horn and Sørensen departed to join other Bundesliga outfits. Bayern Leverkusen captured the former for £8,000,000 and the Danish centre-half left to join SV Werder Bremen - one of my former clubs - for £4,000,000. This meant we had a wealthy budget to bring in a number of my targets, in which I identified alongside my scouting staff and Director of Football, Armin Veh.
We managed to complete two of these deals prior to our initial pre-season opener. Croatian full-back Karlo Bartolec joined from FC Nordsjælland in Denmark for £2,200,000. The 23-year-old made 55 appearances across two seasons after joining from Lokomotiva in his home-country. He would become our first-choice right-back, ahead of Benno Schmitz.
The second was the loan signing of 23-year-old Mijat Gacinovic from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. The Serbian made 29 appearances last campaign, as Frankfurt recorded an eighth-placed finish and lifted the German Cup, after beating Bayern Munich.
After the departure of head-coach, Niko Kovač - who left to join Bayern Munich - Gacinovic was deemed surplus to requirements by new head-coach Adi Hütter. Having made 64 appearances across three seasons, joining from Serbian side Vojvodina for a fee of £1,100,000, he arrives at the RheinEnergieSTADION with plenty of experience.
Following the home fixture against Ludogorets, we agreed to travel Slovakia to face AS Trencin. This would be followed with a tour around Germany to face Kickers Offenbach, VfR Aalen and TuS Koblenz, prior to a tour of Austria to play Sportverein Horn, Sportverein Austria Salzburg and Wiener Sport-Club.
This would prepare us for our opening set of fixtures for the 2. Bundesliga season. We would begin with an opening day trip to VfL Bochum on 5th August 2018, prior to our first home fixture against 1. FC Union Berlin six days later. Our DFB-Pokal adventure would begin on Sunday 19th August 2018 with a trip to 1.FC Lok Stendal of the NOFV-Oberliga Süd.
Maguire: Give up on the puns, please. You're a BTEC Justice.
Jack: It seems a beautiful place, judging by pictures and the way the place is described online. You'll have to tell me all about it. I'll do my best in making it last, I'm really enjoying the save - I have to admit. But I think the Podolski half of the deal is unlikely, unfortunately.
LFC: Fingers crossed.