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Legenda - The career of Luka Elsner

Started on 2 April 2020 by grismosw7
Latest Reply on 13 August 2020 by Justice
Some decent offers for Elsner there, especially the English national team offer. It shows just how well he is doing at AZ!
Probably a sensible decision to dodge the England job. :P

AZ Announce More Moves

AZ sell Jake Doyle-Hayes to Huddersfield

With Jake Doyle-Hayes contract expiring next summer the club opted to sell the backup midfielder who saw a decreasing role as last season progressed. Huddersfield acquired him for €3.6M, after we acquired him last summer for €1.8M. Doyle-Hayes appeared in 25 matches last season, scoring 1 goal and registering 3 assists - including 1 player of the match. With the emergence of Kenzo Goudmijn and several youth players at Jong AZ appearing ready to take the next step it was abundantly clear it was time to move him.

AZ sell Borna Sosa to Guangzhou Hengda

Another player in the last year of his contract and with Sosa drawing interest from many bigger clubs, he was not interested in discussing a new deal with AZ. The club made another profit with this sale, Sosa was sold for €10M after buying him for €3.8M from Borussia M'gladbach two seasons ago. A tougher decision to sell Sosa as he was the main option at left back for both seasons at the club, appearing in 59 league matches while averaging a match rating of 7.10. Youngster Yannick Ploem will have a chance to compete for the starting position, but the club is also rumored to be looking more quality to bring into the rotation.

AZ sell Abbubaker Mobara to Palermo

Mobara started last season as our top option at right back before giving way to Oleg Danchenko, whom eventually was named the player of the league. Mobara's playing time decreased drastically as the season went on, only appearing in 10 league matches. He was a very solid backup option to Danchenko but wanted to move on to get more playing time. We sold him for just €2.3M after buying him four seasons ago from Vitesse for €5M. Over the four seasons, he appeared in 105 league matches.

AZ acquire Dirk Boldt from Borussia Dortmund

Boldt will end up costing the club nearly €9M (mostly differed money), but he has nice potential and fills a need in a transfer market that did not have a lot of great options. He grew up in the Dortmund Academy and was outstanding last season in 3. Liga. The 20-year old left back will provide us a nice rotation with Ploem.

AZ acquire Giovanni Troupee from FC Utrecht

Troupee was recently transfer listed and likely headed to Ajax, but at the last hour we swooped in to grab him after selling Mobara. Troupee has been with FC Utrecht since 2013/2014 and should provide a very solid backup option to Danchenko. We acquire him for €6.25M with half of it differed through installments. The 26-year old right back has appeared in over 200 matches in the Eredivisie.

Good business on both fronts. Snatching Troupee from under the noses of Ajax is pleasing; not only does it come as a benefit to you by strengthening the squad, but also preventing Ajax from added to theirs. Good work.
Two nice additions at full-back, which in my opinion is always a difficult position to fill in FM. Hope they'll both deliver for you! In real life, Troupee is not very good, but FM still rates him quite highly, and he's been good for me on previous saves.
Some good profit made on two players who had expiring contracts whilst money was made on a backup option who hadn't played much. Some good incoming transfers too. Overall good business once more.

Preseason 2024/2025

We spent the majority of the preseason training in Croatia, including a tour with matches against three smaller clubs. Easily winning all three matches by a combined score of 12-1. FC Barcelona gave us a nice payday to come play - after falling behind 2-0 in the first 7 minutes we recovered with two second half goals (Leao, Midtsjo) to equalize and come home with a well earned draw. Finally, we finished the friendlies with a match against Jong AZ - expecting an easy win but they gave us a fight throughout and we end in a bore draw.

Nicolas Guerra returned to action but joined the Chile U23s national team for the Olympic Games. Newly acquired Dirk Boldt also spent the entire month with Germany's U23 team at the Olympic Games.

Oleg Danchenko

Danchenko missed most of the preseason with Sprained Knee Ligaments. He was injured on the 18th of July during training. He is expected to return in the next couple of weeks. We will have to rely on Giovanni Troupee to get us through.

2024/2025 Squad Announced

Thankfully we are able to bring back a majority of the club that we finished with outside of losing Borna Sosa. Youngster Patrick Visser beat out his Jong AZ teammates, Nikolay Andreev and Albert Profijt, to start with the senior squad. However, I expect all three to see action in the midfield for us this season. Richard Meendering will start the season with us while we wait for Guerra to return from the Olympics, then we will have to decide to loan him out or sell Ole ter Haar Romeny.

Eredivisie Season Preview

Media Predictions

1) Ajax (3-1)
2) AZ (5-2)
3) Feyenoord (3-1)
4) PSV (7-2)
5) Vitesse (14-1)
6) FC Groningen (20-1)
7) sc Heerenveen (25-1)
8) FC Utrecht (55-1)
9) VVV-Venlo (100-1)
10) FC Twente (150-1)
11) Heracles Almelo (400-1)
12) Sparta (450-1)
13) NAC Breda (550-1)
14) PEC Zwolle (1000-1)
15) Willem II (1000-1)
16) ADO Den Haag (1000-1)
17) N.E.C (1000-1)
18) Excelsior (1000-1)

As usual Ajax are the favorites but we have decent odds. ADO Den Haag makes a return to the league after being relegated two seasons ago.

Top 8 Transfers, not related to AZ (based on €)
Ajax acquired Josh Sargent from SV Werder for €16.25M
Ajax acquired Dodo from Shakhtar for €12.75M
Ajax acquired Stefan Nichev from PSV for €11.75M
Feyenoord sold Robert Mudrazija to Everton for €11.75M
Ajax sold Bart Ramselaar to Bordeaux for €7.5M
Feyenoord sold Jan Mlakar to Shakhtar for €4.4M
PSV acquired Lucas Torro from TSG Hoffenheim for €4.3M
Vitesse sold Joep Pijpers to Anderlecht for €3.2M

In total the league spend €101M with Ajax leading the way at €34.3M net and Feyenoord selling off 7 players for a total of €17M. Hard to imagine Feyenoord being a contender with this strategy.

Media Dream Eleven
GK - Vasilis Barkos, Ajax
Defenders - Jordan Torunarigha, AZ; Joakim Forsblad, Vitesse; Franck Marcussen, AZ; Dodo, Ajax
Midfield - Derrick Luckassen, Ajax; Nicolas Dominguez, Ajax; Gerard Bucker, Ajax
Attackers - Marijan Matkovic, Feyenoord; Hakim Ziyech, Ajax; Ahmed Smit, Ajax

Last season we had no players on the Dream Eleven. In fact, Ajax had the entire Dream Eleven until they sold David Neres. So it looks like they have lost a bit of their stronghold here.

Once again we start with Ajax in the JC Schaal Cup, Ajax have won the trophy 4 out of the last 5 seasons. We get a reasonable draw in the CL Third Round Qualifying with Krasnodar from Russia. And finally we are setup for a reasonable start in the league with N.E.C. and ADO Den Haag both at home but do have to play PSV away.
Good luck!
Time to win it this season! Although, Ajax seem to be spending big this season, scared after the pressure you put on them last season. Best of luck!
2020-06-19 00:34#274460 ScottT : Good luck!

2020-06-19 17:47#274498 TheLFCFan : Time to win it this season! Although, Ajax seem to be spending big this season, scared after the pressure you put on them last season. Best of luck!

Thank you both, very excited about this upcoming season!! Hopefully our new players will integrate into the squad well and Guerra will recover from his injury and return to form.

Prior to any matches, Alaves bought central defender Felix Eboa Eboa from us for €5M. We did not want to sell him but he wanted to see more playing time, something we could not guarantee him.

August 2024

vs. Ajax (Away)

For the second year in a row we face off with Ajax in the JC Schaal and once again we have our sites on bigger things with a Champions League Qualifier coming in a few days we rotated the squad. Ajax capitalized with a goal by Ahmed Smit in the 5th minute grabbing the early lead which they would hold throughout. Gerard Bucker added another goal in the 70th minute and we were never really a threat. A far contrast from last year's goal fest.

Ajax 2, AZ 0

Best Placed Third Qualifying Phase - First Leg
vs. Krasnodar (Away)

Krasnodar was far more competitive than we were expecting but keep in mind we are still missing Boldt, Danchenko, and Guerra at this point. We were fortunate to be even at the half with a very poor start to the match, they were in control for the first 45 minutes but it was scoreless at the break. Their 19-year old wonderkid, Andrey Tereschenko, opened the scoring in the 55th minute. As we were headed towards the end of the match it looked like we would be heading home down 1-0 but Richard Meendering came on for Ole ter Haar Romeny in the 76th minute and scored the equalizer 7 minutes later off a great pass from Calvin Stengs.

Krasnodar 1, AZ 1

Match Day 1
vs. N.E.C. (Home)

Another heavily rotated side for us but this time we hammer N.E.C. right from the start with three first half goals - Kenzo Goudmijn (25'), Guus Til (28'), and Meendering (39'). They scored just before the break to give them some hope but we controlled the second half, however failing to score until injury time with Mohamed Taabouni scoring. Giovani Troupee had 2 assists on the night.

AZ 4, N.E.C. 1

Best Placed Third Qualifying Phase - Second Leg
vs. Krasnodar (Home)

We were fortunate to grab an early goal from Fredrik Midtsjo in the 17th minute, assisted by Marcos Arena. From there on out we were able to control the match, only allowing them 3 shots on the night with just 1 on target. We cruised to a quiet 1-0 victory, winning on aggregate 2-1.

AZ 1 (2), Krasnodar 0 (1)

Match Day 2
vs. PSV (Away)

Our fourth match in 10 days with another CL match coming in 3, once again we rotated the side heavily happily seeking a draw. We actually played really well and should have had at least 1 goal to show for it but were dreadful in front of the goal. It's a bore draw with not much to report otherwise.

PSV 0, AZ 0

Best Placed Playoff - First Leg
vs. Galatasaray (Home)

Galatasaray beat AEK 1-1 on away goals in their Third Qualifying Phase matchup. We opened the scoring in the 24th minute on a goal by Rafael Leao but they answered a minute later to send us to the half, 1-1. The second half was a different story, as we dominated and should have done more. We end up adding two goals to win easily, Midtsjo (53') and Meendering (86'). We head to Galatasaray with a nice 3-1 advantage. Dirk Boldt made his debut for the club and was magnificent with 2 assists, while winning Player of the Match.

AZ 3, Galatasaray 1

Match Day 3
vs. ADO Den Haag (Home)

We cut the ribbon on the new stadium expansion this afternoon with a sellout crowd but we disappointed them massively. For sure we rotated the squad once again but we surely could do better than this. They got the only goal of the match in the 38th minute by 18-year old Bruno Freitas from Portugal. Oleg Danchenko came on late and created a late and created a few chances late but we failed to make them count once. Nicolas Guerra made his season debut after recovering from the torn calf muscle he suffered against Ajax late last season.

AZ 0, ADO Den Haag 1

Best Placed Playoff - Second Leg
vs. Galatasaray (Away)

Barring a complete defensive meltdown we were in good shape heading into this one. It got even better with Leao scoring in the 3rd minute. We were never really threatened throughout the match and cruised to win. Troupee won Player of the Match

Galatasaray 0 (1), AZ 1 (4)

Fredrik Midtsjo

Midtsjo only appeared in the four Champions League Qualifying matches but was outstanding with 7.75 average match rating. He scored 2 goals (matching last year's total) and connected on 88% of his passes with 9 key passes. He also won 100% of his tackles, a great month for him.

Pantelis Hatzidiakos

Hatzidiakos suffered a broken hand during training on the 13th of August, normally we would opt to have him see a specialist but we are already short handed at center back and opted to have him wear protective gear to get us by. He is expected to be fully healed by the end of September, while we urgently look to add a fourth option in the back.

Ajax looks unbeatable at the moment winning their first four matches by a score of 14-2. However, they have been completely focused on the league. Unfortunately for us we have dug ourselves a bit of a hole. The lost to ADO Den Haag does not seem so bad with them starting the season very well, they could be this year's PEC Zwolle. Who by the way look terrible so far!

This year's draw is much more manageable but it will still be quite difficult. Chelsea look ridiculously good, their top 20 players are all valued at over €20M - including Anthony Martial, Gedson Fernandes, Frenkie de Jong, Moussa Dembele, Goncalo Guedes, Matthijs de Ligt and more. Their only weakness is Unai Emery is their manager.

Both Monaco and Hertha BSC have a ton of young talent too.

Another busy month with a international break in between. Fortunately, the KNVB Beker match forces some re-arrangement of league matches which will give us some breathing room but not much.
The focus was obviously on qualifying for the group stages and that was successfully achieved, so well done. A decent group but certainly far from easy.

The league form has been a struggle with a lot of rotation. Ajsx have a decent advantage but there's a lot of games to be played yet.
2020-06-23 01:44#274668 ScottT : The focus was obviously on qualifying for the group stages and that was successfully achieved, so well done. A decent group but certainly far from easy.

The league form has been a struggle with a lot of rotation. Ajsx have a decent advantage but there's a lot of games to be played yet.

For sure we cannot complain aside from the ADO Den Haag match but they have been very good early in the season!

AZ sign Diogo Queiros from FC Porto

With Eboa Eboa moving on last month we needed to desperately sign another backup defender. After missing on our first few targets we could not be happier with signing Queiros. If it were not for his weak left foot, he is good enough to force a rotation with Torunarigha and Marcussen. We ended up paying €7.75M for him but FCP agreed to pay €21,500 per month (around 1/3) of his salary through June 2027. The 25-year old central defender will be a great addition to the squad.

grismosw7's avatar Group grismosw7
1 yearEdited

September 2024

We opened the month with a thrilling 4-0 win over sc Heerrenveen - Rafael Leao was on fire in the first 10 minutes with 2 goals and an assist. Guerra scored and added 2 assists. Heracles put up a bigger battle than expected, but we finally scored off a corner where Arena bullied his way to head it home in the 73rd minute. We outshot them 29-4, crazy that we could not score from open play.

Chelsea was dominate in the first half, taking just a 1-0 lead to the half on a goal by Alvaro Morata (assisted by Cristian Pavon). Leao got the equalizer in the 63rd minute with the assist from Midtsjo. We looked headed for a draw but Pavon connected again with Morata for a goal in the 88th minute and Gedson Fernandes hammered home a volley in injury time to bury us. For long periods of the second half we were the better team, tough to not get a point from that one.

PEC Zwolle benefited from Teun Koopmeiners' second yellow just after the half and we were forced to play for a draw, which we got. Our youngsters jumped on TOP Oss early behind goals from Taabouni (3') and our top youth prospect Albert Profijt (18'). Troupee and Arena assisted on the goals. We should have won by more but struggled finishing once again.

We were expecting a more difficult match against FC Groningen but Oleg Danchenko is finally returning to form and boy was he outstanding. He assisted on the first goal of the night by Guerra in the 6th minute and created several other chances for us. Leao added our second goal just before the break and we cruised to victory.

Rafael Leao

This is what we were hoping for when we signed Leao, he delivered for us throughout the month. He added to his team leading 6 goals with 4 this month, along with an assist. He continues to be our best playmaker when he is on the pitch. If he continues to play at this level we should expect to be in contention in both the league and the top 3 of our group in the CL.

Pantelis Hatzidiakos

Hatzidiakos suffered a broken hand during training on the 13th of August and should be returning to full strength early in October.

Calvin Stengs

Stengs continues to be fighting injuries, this time he suffers from pulled ankle ligaments during training and missed the final four matches of the month - including the Chelsea match. He will be a kick off decision come Oct 1 against Hertha.

Vitesse stole a draw from Ajax to keep everyone in the race. FC Utrecht and ADO Den Haag seem ready to challenge the usual top 3 with us. A long way to go but things are setting up nicely for Ajax, we need to keep stride with them.

I cannot imagine Chelsea not winning this group. We are simply fighting for 2nd or 3rd but need to start closing out these matches against the bigger clubs.

Some exciting matches in the CL, another easy draw in the KNVB, along with a difficult month in the league with away matches against the top 2.

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