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The Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge

Started on 20 November 2020 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 5 September 2021 by YAMS

The Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge

Having tried this very same challenge last year far from completion, I've decided to go for it once again. We had a decent amount of success with Norwich in the 3/4 seasons we were with them on FM20. No cups were won but we made a few finals and a push for Champions League football was well on the cards.

I started the challenge towards the end of FM20's lifespan due to corona virus putting the new instalment back by about a month or two, eventually I'd played the game to death and fallen completely out of love with it.

This time though with a completely new and improved game engine, I'm read to get completely stuck in and come one step closer to completing this behemoth challenge.

So. what do I have to do?

Firstly, for my manager I will be starting off as a 44 year old Scottsman named Mac Ferguson with the birth date 31st January. No additional languages will be used, and the badges we'll start will be Continental Pro Licence with playing experience as an international player (continental level)

We'll have no arguments over badges as SAF had taken his by the time he was 24.

Challenge Rules and Restrictions

I must always have a player produced by your club's academy in every match squad.
I MAY sign permanently NO MORE THAN 11 players in a season, and ONLY 8 PERMANENT signings may feature in the first-team that season! Sir Alex never signed more than this ever in a season.
ALL Options should be unchecked except for "Do Not Add Key Staff"
I MAY sign any player that you can scout. I do not have to scout them, but I MUST be able to do so.
I MAY NOT ever do transfer business of any kind with your main rival. (Liverpool/United have not exchanged a player since 1964.) [Phil Chisnall to Liverpool]
I MAY NOT edit the game in any way other than cosmetic enhancements. No editor, no edited databases.
A relegation is immediate challenge over at any time.
A sacking is immediate challenge over at any time.
International management is NOT allowed at any time.
Any version of the game is OK that can meet these restrictions.

NOTE: For the "academy player in squad rule" -- if I do not have an eligible player registered at the beginning of the challenge, you do not have to be compliant until my first chance to register players (January 1st of your first season)

It isn't a requirement, but I SHOULD try to develop your academy and youth coaching to their highest levels, and I should try to establish a coaching tree of former players.

The Challenge

Holiday until November 6, and take over the club second-bottom of the Premier League. (Manchester United were second-bottom on 6 November, 1986)

In 27 seasons, I need to do THIS...


Win the FA Cup within 4 seasons - Ferguson won his first cup, the FA Cup vs Crystal Palace in 89/90
Win the Premier League within 7 seasons - Ferguson won his first Premier League in 92/93
Win a Premier League/FA Cup double within 8 seasons - Ferguson won his first Double with United in 93-94
Win Three Premier League/FA Cup Doubles within 13 seasons - Ferguson's Treble Included His Third League/FA Cup Double
Win the Premier League/FA Cup/Champions League Treble within 13 seasons - Ferguson Won the Infamous Treble in 98/99


Premier League (13)
FA Cup (5)
League Cup (4)
Community Shield (10)
UEFA Champions League (2)
UEFA Europa League (1) (Replaces the Cup Winners Cup) **
UEFA Super Cup (1)
FIFA Club World Cup (2) (One Replaces Intercontinental Cup)

So with only the Premier League and Championship loaded into this database it should not take long at all to get to our allocated date. Therefore I'll see you all very soon with the club the game draws us !

The Club

Aston Villa have always been a team I've admired and wanted to manage on football Manager ever since I begun playing but until now chance hasn't brought me to the Villains.

The once highly successful midlands team are currently in the Premier League some would say wrongly due to an abysmal showing from VAR in a game involving Bournemouth and Sheffield United. Had things gone Bournemouth's way it could be them we line up with in our first game against Wolves but alas, the universe has other ideas.

So to begin with we will be taking on Wolves in a huge local derby which we just have to win. With only 1 point from the first 7 games this season only Sheffield United are below us on zero points. Things haven't been good enough so far and I'll be hoping to change the teams fortunes but in what way will we be manoeuvring to do so?

Yep, in the wise words of England great Mike Bassett we'll be going 4 4 fucking 2. Often a formation appearing in Sir Alex's very own famous teams over the years it seems only fitting to begin as such and see how far we can go with it.

Remembering correctly I think I did the same with Norwich last season but I struggled to hit for 4th place, so maybe eventually depending on how things go we can change but for now this is how we line up as I also think it suits us best with the players at our disposal.

I'll be looking to the likes of the very talented Grealish and often overlooked Barkley to steer us to safety this year. We were knocked out already in the League Cup 4th round by Arsenal so on that front we've run our course but I will be looking to take the FA Cup very seriously this year, hopefully lady luck is on our side in the beginning and we pick some of the smaller clubs from the hat.

With little to use from the transfer budget it's highly highly unlikely we make any moves in the upcoming transfer window and we'll probably have to see out this season with the squad we have.

Of course there's always the option of a loan or even certain players leaving to fund deals but we'll have to see if the right play comes available before we do anything as finances have obviously been completely shot by COVID-19.

Onto our first game against Wolves then, busy schedule ahead after the international break too. We'll have to fight tooth and nail for survival this season.

November - Settling In

Aston Villa 2-0 Wolves | Premier League | Grealish, Barkley
West Brom 1-2 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins, McGinn
Liverpool 4-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins

So far it's been a near perfectly smooth transition at Aston Villa. Having not won a game in our first 7 the main thing for us at the beginning of my tenure is to simply put points on the board and with 2 big local rivals to play in our first 3 games it was clear this was not going to be easy.

Wolves came first to Villa Park. Wolves have been fantastic ever since they were promoted to the Premier League via winning the Championship, since then they've even qualified for Europe. Their stature in the game is ever improving with the likes of Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez in their starting 11 it was never easy to play against Nuno's men.

Setting up with the 442 we spoke about in the beginning, we were ready to make our mark on our rivals. It was them who made their mark on us first though but not in the form of a goal but an injury as Wily Boly wiped out Jack Grealish on the left hand side and was sent for a very early bath.

Grealish was able to run off the knock and continue thankfully for us as he was the man to assist Barkley's opener from outside of the box.

Things went from bad to worse for Wolves as captain Jack netted his own from a couple of yards out in the midst of a goal line scrap. We went into half time 2 goals to the good, holding onto the lead in the second half and walking away with out first 3 points of the season as well as a clean sheet. Our second in 2 games.

Before the Wolves game we'd struggled to score, burying nothing in the 4 games prior. Things changed in that match and it was clear we'd continue to press on with our goal scoring frenzy against West Brom.

We begun the match well scoring through Hause after a brillaintly delivered free kick from Grealish. West Brom striker Grant got them back into the game before half time. Livermore timed a pass perfectly to him off the shoulder of Hause and he struck it into the far corner to level the game.

We would have the final say in the first half though. Bertrand Traore flew past his marker on the left hand side and whipped in a beautiful cross for Ollie Watkins to get on the end of and put us in front. 2-1 at Half time.

It was important to keep our cool and for most of the second half we did, both sides had their chances but could put nothing away until the last few minutes when Gallagher scored again for the Baggies. Wheeling off in celebration he was shocked to learn on return to his half that VAR had ruled him offside and disallowed the goal. We were leaving the Hawthorns with three points.

Lastly for November...Liverpool. We all know how this went in real life but sadly FM always has other ideas in comparison to the real world.

We opened up the reds 11 seconds in to the game with a fantastic through ball from Barkley to Ollie Watkins who burst straight through Joe Gomez and Van Dijk to test Alisson early but it wasn't to be. The Brazilian made a great stop.

Early on Mane would punish us by virtually walking the ball into our net as is customary from the Senegalese winger. 2 defenders and our keeper he made it passed before quite literally walking in with the ball. Show boating at it's finest.

Liverpool got themselves a corner and again Alexander Arnold found Mane at the back post completely unmarked and he was left to thunder a header into the far top corner.

We were able to nick one back before half time, some lovely football and a one-two from Watkins and McGinn had Ollie racing passed Liverpool's high line for the second time, this time he was able to finish it and we were back in the game.

In the second half we had more than a few chances go our way, had we been more clinical we might have kept up with the pace Liverpool were setting but oh no. Mane was insistent on being absolutely unplayable, scoring a hattrick before assisting a rare Roberto Firmino Anfield goal.

We played well and the score line was far from just, a shame but at Anfield wins are practically impossible these days.

At one stage we moved out of the drop zone, but with West Ham playing that extra game we dropped back into the first relegation spot. We've a game in hand to play against Newcastle at home. The Toon are overperforming this season so it'll be a tough game but I believe we can beat anyone on our day.

Detail in updates are brill and i hope you succeed

December - Hard Knocks

Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle | Premier League | John McGinn
Burnley 1-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Barkley, Grealish, Luiz
Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham | Premier League | Trezeguet, McGinn
Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester United | Premier League | Watkins
Tottenham 1-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Wesley x2, Guilbert
Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester | Premier League | Trezeguet, Watkins

The title of the month probably makes things seem a hell of a lot worse than they are. We have been brilliant this month and honestly - I can't believe we have come out of December with more wins. Newcastle was always going to be a tough game and I was resigned to losing to them when Callum Wilson scored late on but luckily McGinn was on hand to save us once again this season gaining us a vital point.

We stayed well and truly in the relegation zone after that one so a win against Burnley was pivotal. Things were more even than they seem, we took the lead through Luiz before Burnley got one back in the second half roughly around the 60 minute mark. I was never too worried though, our goal scoring form was on point recently and my faith was well placed as Barkley and Grealish both scored to win an important three points.

I've always found West Ham to be a bit of a bogey team for me in recent years so I was reluctant to play our usual positive formation but regardless I felt that at every turn of a corner my faith was met with an abundance of repayment so we aimed to get on the front foot.

It was in fact no where near as tight as the score line suggests. We completely dominated the game from start to finish registering 20 shots at goal. We were pegged back in the first half and we had to get a goal from John McGinn before half time to level things up. Trezeguet struck sweetly for the winner in the 65th minute and another 3 pts were ours for the taking.

Our first big 6 game (Can you call it that these days?) since the Liverpool game against Manchester United and I'm gutted to be saying we've lost this one. Not because I don't like them, but because we absolutely smashed them. We took the lead through Ollie Watkins in a beautifully worked passage of play in midfield.

The team continued to pepper the United keeper with shots on goal but nothing else would go in and we were brought back when Rashford scored a bullet header from Fernandes' well placed corner ball.

In the second half, of all people Lingard managed to creep in after a lapse in concentration on our left hand side, hitting it low at Martinez who could only get finger tips to it before watching it nestle in the far corner.

United have been ridiculously lucky.

The fixture list wasn't about to let up though, we had to go to Tottenham and amend the result prior. Not an easy task but Tottenham are always susceptible to a loss against some of the smaller sides in the league and thankfully today was an off day for them.

We were without Ollie Watkins today and we needed a performance from Wesley which is a rarity. Wesley bagged himself an early goal from the spot and to everyone's surprise hit one hard and low to Lloris' bottom right, doubling his and the teams tally.

It continued to get worst for Spurs. Guilbert even managed to get on the scoresheet for us making us 3 goals to the good. There was still time for Spurs to get back in the game, thankfully they decided to wait as late as the 91st minute before Bergwijn tapped one into an empty net at the back post.

After recent performances I was so confident going in against Leicester and I had every right to be. We weren't great, and that showed when Vardy gave his side the lead. We crept back into the game as Watkins tapped one in at Kaspers near post and things were all par again.

I hadn't expected to take the lead but amazingly we did, and were put well under the kosh after the fact and so we moved to a slightly more cautious way of playing. We were so close to taking home another 3 points but we just couldn't keep Ndidi from latching onto a corner ball in the 94th minute.

Another month of proving we've got what it takes for this league and I'm left more than anything feeling disappointed at some of the results but we need to be positive about the things we were able to do well and all of those things culminate to bring an extremely positive outlook for the future.

January - Wes & Watty

Sheffield United 3-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2, Wesley
Aston Villa 2-1 Coventry | FA Cup Third Round | Rose OG, Hyam OG
Aston Villa 1-1 Manchester City | Premier League | Wesley
Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa | Premier League | N/A
Aston Villa 2-0 Nottingham Forest | FA Cup 4th Round | Wesley x2
Aston Villa 6-1 Southampton | Premier League | Watkins x2, Traore x2, Barkley, Wesley
Chelsea 5-2 Aston Villa | Premier League | Wesley, Davis

Wes and Watty immediately sounds to me like an English slapstick 80s comedy series, but it's been anything but in January. I was reserved in my thoughts about Wesley. I knew Watkins' ability and always intended that he'd be here to stay but never did I think Wesley would stake a claim for a place in this team.

I'm still not 100% sold but this month it's been nothing but net for the Brazilian and not only that, he's picked up more than a few assists for his striker partner on the way. In the role that he plays as a target man he's expected to score but as Watkins is our main striking outlet I like to see Wes holding up the play and creating chances too. He's doing just that.

There were some slip ups in the league, we always felt we should be beating Sheffield and we very nearly did. We were pegged back in the 90th minute and were left with only a point. I had been looking for a while at bidding for Oli McBurnie as a replacement for Wesley but just as I had made enough money to bring him in - He signed a new contract. No better time for Wesley to up the ante.

Speaking of sales, a few left. El Mohammady, Ell Ghazi, and Nakamba all left the club this month and Hourihane will be jetting off to Seattle in February all for a combined fee of 18M. It's important we make up the funds for next season.

We did bring in a replacement for Hourihane in the form of Jack Cork. He comes in on a 2 year deal for 4M. A no brainer really, we needed the cover, it wasn't much money and he's still a fantastic player who had no problem playing second fiddle to McGinn.

Curtis Jones has also joined us on loan until the end of the season.

We picked up a brilliant draw thanks to that name again, Wesley, against Manchester City. I went in slightly different with more of an aim to win the ball back in the centre of midfield but by half time we were 1-0 down and nothing was going our way. I reverted back to our normal 442 and we got the equalizer!

We continued to dominate the citizens and should have won the game, but I'll take a point certainly.

It was all about the cup though. Our biggest chance of success at the moment is in the domestic competitions so I always wanted to do well. With two outstanding victories against Coventry and Nottingham Forest we made it to the fifth round against local rivals Wolverhampton at home.

A tough game, but we've been in this spot before. We know we can beat them.

To end the month on a complete romping was a bitter pill to swallow, the only consolation was that the game before hand we absolutely battered Southampton and that would more than make up for the points lost against Chelsea, seeing as we weren't expecting to win any in the first place.

14th in the league isn't too bad. We're performing well but not getting the lady luck we need. Improvements can definitely be made to this team but it's promising to see that we can out perform almost anyone on our day with what's currently at our disposal.
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
3 yearsEdited

February - Cup Crash

Aston Villa 0-0 Everton | Premier League | N/A
Brighton 0-0 Aston Villa | Premier League | N/A
Aston Villa 1-2 Wolves | FA Cup Fifth Round| Watkins
Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal | Premier League | Grealish
Leeds 2-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Barkley x2, Watkins
Fulham 2-4 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x3, Wesley

Our first unbeaten month in the Premier League comes with a hefty price. The only game we lost in the first month of 2021 was to our fierce rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup 5th round. It was far from tightly contested, we took the game to them at Villa Park and for quite some time were a goal ahead and looking like the much better side.

Wolves managed to find their way back into the game in the second half and before too long had surprised everyone by taking the lead late in the day. With us completely dominating it was a shock for all to see us crash out and not bag an equaliser to force the replay.

A disappointing day for me, I wanted to really make a go of things in the cup. I can't be angry with the team, we played fantastic and on the day we just didn't have any luck in front of goal. Disappointing but these things happen in football.

After 2 goalless draws in the league before our cup game it was time to push on and make up for our lack-luster start to the year. We would be hosting Arsenal at Villa Park, not the easiest of games but the Gunners aren't what they once were and this showed as we ran out 1-0 victors thanks to an 11th minute Jack Grealish goal.

Our captain has a knack for dragging us out of the mud when we need it the most and today was a perfect example of that. Mikel Arteta and his men were left stunned by the Villains. A remarkable defensive display.

For the rest of the month things were a little easier on paper. We had to play both Fulham and Leeds albeit away from home.

The two clubs were below us in the league and had lacked any sort of real threat in the league thus far so its in these types of games we should be capitalising on at the moment. The Leeds game despite the score was a one sided affair. 3-0 up before half time it was clear that we would be taking home the three points but not before the whites had their say, giving us a little scare with 2 late late goals.

Fulham was near on the same situation. We were 3-0 up at half time, and I'd hoped we'd learned from our mistakes and complacency against Leeds but no, another 2 late goals brought Fulham within reach of a point and I was left praying for our solidarity at the back.

Ollie Watkins thankfully broke through on goal in the 90th minute, chipping the keeper to round off what was a perfect hattrick and an important victory.

Three wins in a row takes us to dead in mid table which at the start of the season was seeming a little unlikely. We're creeping ever closer to Leicester who are currently 7th and to be in this position whilst surprising is something for us to celebrate. It's a shame to crash out of the cup but like I said these things happen, hopefully next year lady luck will favour us.

March - The Push For Europe?

Aston Villa 4-1 Tottenham | Premier League | Wesley, Watkins, Barkley, Cork
Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | Barkley
Aston Villa 3-2 Sheffield United | Premier League | Targett, Wesley, Grealish

With 9 games for us left to play, we now sit 8th in the table. A huge contrast to when I joined the club 8 games into the season. 11 places we've made up since then and if our form is anything to go by we don't look like letting up one bit.

The last time we played Spurs, we rolled them over like it was nothing and suffice to say this time round it was even easier. Although we were pegged back 1-0 by well hit Carlos Vincius shot, we never looked like losing. Our reaction was paramount in achieving the points here and before too long we hadn't just scored one, but two.

Grealish put us ahead before half time and things just got worse for Spurs in the second half when Jack Cork was subbed on and smashed in a header at the far post.

They were well and beaten, but not before Wesley had the final say from the 12 yard spot. Emphatic 4-1 winners.

Going into the United game I was confident. We were away, but previously we had given them a great game and were unlucky to miss out at Villa Park last year. This time we were utterly broken by OGS' men and were dominated start to finish. The scoreline could have been much worse for us but an outside of the box Barkley goal stopped things from looking too bad.

We got our own back on Sheffield after they pulled us back in the 90th minute last time out, another game where we were way out in front and things just got messy toward the end. 2-0 up in the 90th minute, they scored. We sealed the deal just after with a third and they scored yet again. Defence is our issue.

We also had our youth intake this month, there was nothing special about this bunch so I won't be showing anything at the moment but I signed the 7 or 8 who showed a little promise and I'll be sure to update you on any development in the future.

The teams hold games in hand around us but if things go our way we really could be looking at pushing for Europe this season. We play Leicester City next which if we want to qualify - We HAVE to win.

April - Keeping Up With The Pack

Leicester 1-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Wesley, Watkins, Mings
Aston Villa 2-1 Fulham | Premier League | Watkins, Guilbert
Aston Villa 2-2 West Brom | Premier League | Grealish, Wesley
Wolves 2-0 Aston Villa | Premier League | N/A

On paper April was looking like it could be the easiest month of the season. With a big game against Leicester coming up and some against the teams lower in the table it was important to give ourselves that boost in the table to put us in position to fight for those European spots.

After having found out it was also 7th and 8th that gained a spot in Europe I was less focused on making up the gap between ourselves and Everton and more interested in increasing the one between us and Leicester.

We were able to just that with a huge win against the Foxes away from home who were no match for our 2 stars leading the line who both scored just before Mings to seal all three points. Vardy grabbed his side a token consolation goal but that was all it would prove to be.

Fulham next and again things were rather routine. This whole winning business becomes rather boring after a while doesn't it? Fat chance. Our opponents got one back but it wouldn't be enough to gain anything of note from the match. We stay winning.

Another game which should have been routine, we did ever so well to put ourselves within reach of another 3 points but in the 90th minute a cross cannoned off Ezri Konsa and agonisingly he would have to take the blame for another 2 points dropped in our bid for European football.

Another game against rivals Wolves was the treat left till the end of April in which we finally came undone and not for the first time this season to our fierce rivals. We had chances but clinically we were awful. On the day, Wolves were always going to win and it was thoroughly deserved.

7 points from Everton, still to play them...Can we?

May - The Journey Begins

Aston Villa 4-2 Leeds United | Premier League | Grealish x3, Barkley
Arsenal 4-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | Traore
Aston Villa 3-2 Brighton | Premier League | Wesley x2, Watkins
Everton 3-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Grealish, Wesley, Watkins
Southampton 0-6 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2, Jones, Barkley

The end is upon us. We've finally reached the final stages of this season and we're about to find out whether we managed to qualify for Europe or not so stick with us, it's a bumpy ride from here on out.

To begin, Leeds. Now we'd had Leeds host us only 2 months before this and safe to say we were by far the better team. The Whites have been in a struggle with relegation this season so we were more than confident we could come in and get the task done.

They scored first early into the game but what came next was just sheer inspired class from our very own captain Jack who latched onto the end of one of Bertrand Traore's crosses and thundered a header into the roof of the net.

2 minutes later Jack did virtually the same thing. Traore beating his man on the right side and swinging it in for Grealish to nod home the goal that would put us in front. Then, he sealed his hattrick. Quick as you like. Picking up the ball on the outside of the box and smashing it into the top right past a stranded Meslier.

The Arsenal and Brighton games for some reason were pitted with a days rest between them. Being May and with nothing else to play for I for the life of me can't figure that one out. So after a royal thumping at the Emirates, we were lucky to get anything at Brighton. We were 2-0 up for the majority of the game and Lallana produced a masterclass to get his side back in it.

Ollie Watkins had other ideas though and buried the winner in the 85th minute.

Now time for the biggest game of the season against Everton, what on Earth was in store here?We went in with a full strength side going for the win which would put us within 2 points of the Toffees who would be playing Chelsea in their last game.

Holgate broke the deadlock in the 8th minute after tucking home a cheap shot on goal gifted by Alan who managed to isolate our entire defence with a deft chip.

Only 20 minutes later we went absolutely mad. 1, 2 and before you knew it 3. All before half time, surely it was all done? No. Everton weren't going home empty handed. Calvert Lewin got his side back into the game just before giving away a penalty at the other end which Jack Grealish would go onto slice wide of the mark.

In the 86th minute, Alan rustled it over the line in a goal mouth scramble. Heart wrenching. We would have no way of reaching the Europa League spots BUT we had all but guaranteed our place in the Europa League Conference with only Goal Difference separating 7th and 9th should we lose to Southampton.

But we sealed our spot emphatically. Whipping boys Saints were no match again after their 6-1 loss to us before hand they were looking to get one back but they just weren't good enough. A thoroughly perfect performance from us in which Curtis Jones scored in his final appearance for the team before hopping back on a train to Liverpool.

Ollie Watkins scored in the 93rd minute, meaning he would stake his claim as this years Premier League top goalscorer along side Sergio Aguero. Great company.

We surpassed anything I could possibly imagine this season. From 19th to 7th, it's just a remarkable turn of fortunes. I've learnt a lot about the team and who I want to stick around for next year and I'll pass on some thoughts now.

Firstly - Big Wes has kept his place at the club. I hope next season he'll be our back up when we need an extra target man but should we need him to start for us I think we're in good hands with the man who made ELEVEN assists this season which is notably the 2nd most in the league this year.

Barkley has been brilliant but will be leaving. He's been a true focal point in our offensive this season so we need to find an ample replacement for him this summer, so far no one has sprung to mind.

I will be looking at a new centre back and left back. Konsa was our player of the season but not good enough from Hause or Mings this year and it has cost them. Targett also wants to leave so left back will be very important. We could even see two come in for that position.

As for every where else for now we're fine. Improvements can be made everywhere really but I've made a point of identifying our weak links and I aim to improve them with the 50M budget we've been handed this year.

See you all soon.

Transfer Special

We're finally back after a long summer of ins and outs, no massively notable outgoings to speak of as such. We've shipped off a lot of youth players who I feel won't make the grade here at Aston Villa but pretty much everyone I wanted rid off had left on the 1 July due to pre-arranged deals or contracts ending.

So the way I'm going to do this is make a list of all the players we've signed and the fee, with a link to their player profile and we'll go through a quick run down of why I've made the choices I have.

Transfers IN:
- Oli McBurnie - £9.5M
- Matt Miazga - £2.9M
- Rhys Norington-Davies - £325K
- Lys Mousset £15M
- Dominik Szoboszlai £18.25M
- Layvin Kurzawa - £3.1M

As you can see there's probably some names in there that might shock you, namely Kurzawa and Dominik. I'm going to have awful trouble spelling that name what have I done!?

Oli McBurnie I mentioned before I was chasing in January but at the time he signed a new contract. It was always my intention to sign a new target man whether Wesley left or not (He nearly did). Upon the news of Sheffield's relegation, we were smelling blood when we heard about his 9.5M relegation release clause and as a result this was the first deal we made.

Rhys also coming from Sheffield this season for nice cover at left back, initially he was to be our back-up left back as we were expecting his teammate Max Lowe to join for a measly fee of 80K however he opted to join Brighton instead.

At that stage I felt content with Targett and Rhys as our options but as soon as Layvin came available I had to make my move. It's always my intention to move to players of a more elite level and the 28 year old who's played years with one of the richest and best clubs in the world fits the bill perfectly for such a small fee.

The deal for a centre back actually going to happen as there weren't any available that I could consider starting quality so I made the decision to stick with Mings as our starting left centre half next season and revisit the situation later on depending on how he does. Miazga came available for a small fee and I thought it was a no brainer to pick up a great looking player who could fill in whenever called upon.

Last but certainly not least, Szoboszlai. This one doesn't really need much explaining. We desperately needed that creative outlet that Ross Barkley gave us last season and we've filled that gap with a player who I think is much better and also has a much much higher ceiling.

He even rejected Inter Milan and Man United to join us, crazy right?

I've decided that until regens start seeing their way into the team I'll only be screenshotting players who join the club via transfer, I will list the players in our first team but since we all probably have the knowledge of these players I don't think their profiles are needed. So here is the team in full.

Tom Heaton
Emiliano Martinez

Bjorn Engels
Matt Miazga
Tyrone Mings (VC)
Kortney Hause
Ezri Konsa
Rhys Norrington-Davies
Layvin Kurzawa
Matty Cash
Frederic Guilbert
Matthew Targett

Jack Cork
Douglas Luiz
John McGinn
Bertrand Traore
Dominik Szoboszlai
Jack Grealish (C)

Oli McBurnie
Lys Mousset
Ollie Watkins
Keinan Davis

We're all set and ready to go with Burnley up first at Villa Park. We also drew Mainz in the Europa League Conference so not an easy task by any means.
lys mouset is a great signing!!!
A tremendous effort last season. Well done. Some very decent signings that will hopefully enable you to provide more of the same (if not better!) Nice to have you back and involved in the Stories section of the site again mate.

August - A Fine Start

Aston Villa 1-1 Burnley | Premier League | John McGinn
Crystal Palace 1-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2, Szoboszlai
Aston Villa 2-1 Mainz | Europa Conference Play-Off | Wesley, Szoboszlai
Aston Villa 4-2 Tottenham | Premier League | Watkins x3, Cork
Mainz 2-3 Aston Villa | Europa Conference Play-Off | McBurnie x2, Cork
Norwich 0-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | McBurnie x3

We've had an absolutely flying start this month going completely unbeaten in August which even at our best last season was something far from imaginable. Clearly our improvements to the squad have made a huge impact as you can see with Dominik getting his Aston Villa account underway nice and early which is what we were all hoping for.

We opened the season at Villa Park against Burnley in a game completely unjustified by the scoreline. Burnley registered just one shot all game and quite typically it was one that struck the back of the net a while after we took the lead through John McGinn.

We had time to claw back in front but it just wasn't to be and after the first game I was left feeling like this was an opportunity missed, worrying about how things were about to go in the upcoming matches.

The last time we played Palace we were run off the pitch at Selhurst although losing narrowly, barely being even in the game. Today was different, we had a point to prove and our top scoring striker bagged 2 goals in which was a brilliant win.

This game will always be remembered as the day Szoboszlai bagged his first ever goal for the club.

Tottenham have become somewhat whipping boys to us recently, we'd scored 7 goals in 2 games against them in this game and hungry as ever we increased that tally to 11 in 3. This was the game I was most worried about as they'd be licking their wounds ready to fight back. Clearly though this Jose Mourinho team has little fight in them left.

Ollie Watkins took his Premier League tally to 5 with an incredible hattrick. Tottenham got themselves back into the game late on which did nothing but show off our still frail back 4. Jack Cork buried a late 4th at the back post to seal the win and we were up to 7 points already.

We did play a 2 legged tie against FSV Mainz. I was quite shocked to pick up such a good looking team in the conference play offs (Considering how our group turned out) but nonetheless we were up to the challenge and after a tight victory at Villa Park we took the game to them in Germany and our new signing Oli McBurnie smashed home a brace to send us on our way home happy.

Before the Mainz game McBurnie hadn't scored in EIGHTEEN hours of football. Therefore it was important he got his first out the way for us rather sharpish which he did but what I didn't expect was for him to go one better in our next league game against Norwich and bag himself a hattrick in a wonderful 3-0 win against what looks like the most pointless team in the Premier League this year.

A remarkable start to league football in 2021. It's going to be a test of our metal to see if we can keep this up and stick around in the Champions League places but as I said earlier we love a challenge and we're more than up for it.

We begin our journey through Europe next month against Randers, and this is how the rest of the group looks. We've already qualified I think it's safe to say.

An excellent start to the season and a pretty comfortable group in Europe. I think maximum points will be in order in all honesty.

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