The board has offered a title win or a title challenge as expectations for the year. The good news is we will be way below wages per week budget once our 2012 contracts are up, so the transfer budget should be closer to 4 million.
Shame on you, board! Shame on you!
Definitely should've been offered a bigger transfer budget, especially since you are taking part in the European competition as well, but nevermind, sell before you buy!
My hands were tied a bit by the smaller (and somewhat disappointing) transfer budget given. I decided to pursue loans far more than what I inherited last season.
Many contracts I let run out and didn’t resign. I have noticed many have caught on at other smaller Eredivisie teams. I loaned out Domigues for a fee of 110K (bought for 180K) to Feyenoord. He is an aging AMR and can’t cut inside on both sides so he wasn’t as versatile as I would like. So he only cost me 70K and I was able to offload some of his 20k p/w salary. Gone is Van Gijseghem, who I sold to PSV for the same 425K he was bought. I sold Steffen Hagen to FC Twente for 300K (a 160K profit) as I viewed his pace and acceleration (11 each) as too slow for future endeavors. I also sold Alexander Buttner to NAC Breda for 250K. He was a left footed only D/M/AML who couldn’t play a lick of defense. Just didn’t fit my system. These guys served me well in our title run, but I am afraid they are limited and will not be moving forward with us.
I was able to bring in:
Patrick van Aanholt (on loan from Chelsea): He was very much like Buttner, but I spent a lot of time developing his defensive attributes and I will feel a lot better about him filling in at DL if needed.
Tomas Rincon (on loan from HSV, 475K): After deciding not to purchase or renew Annan’s (my DM from last year) loan, I needed to shore up a very crucial spot in our tactic: DM – Anchorman. Rincon brings tons of experience and grit.
Timmy Simons (free transfer) was the key addition at DM. Some may remember him from his PSV days. An absolute rock in the back and tons of experience and influence, he should have enough in the tank for one last run.
Steve Gohouri (on loan from Wigan, 725K): Gohouri will play a in a rotation at DC. I absolutely love his stats! Everything is great except for his Concentration (6). I will use him in matches at home and when favorites, and here’s to hoping he remembers he’s playing footy!
Zakaria Labyad (free transfer): I was very, excited to see he didn’t resign with his club. He was in high demand and still signed with us as a backup on a reasonable salary. Tons of upside! Can play in MC, AML/R and is strong on both feet. His only knock is a slight issue with fitness, but if we can manage him and further develop, he will be quite the versatile steal.
So you may see a trend here. I use a 4-3-3, with FB/S, DC/D, a DM Anchorman, 2 MC’s (DLP/S) and AP/S), 2 inside forwards in the AML/R positions and an Advanced Forward at Striker. For me versatility is everything. I have guys that can play all over the park. Ait Fana can now be trained as a Striker, Oscar can play in MC or AML/R. All my MC’s can play either role and my defense is fairly versatile as well. I will get into my tactic and players/roles a bit more in the future.
Here is a brief look at other items of note around the club:
Our Friendlies were again used as a tune up and conditioning. I scheduled a pretty schedule again, but was surprised that there was hardly a drop in tactic familiarity. We will most likely schedule tougher next offseason.
Well the season is under way. Vitesse didn’t receive any breaks as they were placed into Group F with Manchester United, Italian giants Juventus, and Spanish side Valencia. Matches begin at home vs. 2011 Champions League winner (FM2012)United on Sept 19th, 2012. A nice bonus was the 7.1million we received for playing in the Champions League group stage.
Early in the season, we were dealt a blow after Felipe Gutierrez was injured on early season international duty. This could be a huge blow as his was in form right out of the gate this season and looking to climb even further. Also getting off to a great start only to pick up a knock was Bony Wilfried, although he should be back just in time for the Champions League match vs. United. Striker Mike Havenaar will serve as his short time fill in.
In the end, we lost 2-3 in what proved to be a cracking match! We were down 0-2 at half. The team was playing well but unlucky. I tore into the team at halftime and after giving up a 3rd goal, they stormed back and thoroughly outplayed United in the 2nd half scoring 2 goals and falling just short.
Here is a look at the top performers so far sorted by ratings. Like we mentioned Felipe Gutierrez started strong. Mike Havenaar has filled in beautifully for Wilfried’s short injury. Ait Fana and Chanturia have performed well and the defense of Gorrido, Gohouri, Xulu and Balitsch have been everything we had hoped for. Strong start.
As I mentioned before, we were off to a strong start in Eredivisie and lost our opening match of Champions League in an encouraging fashion. Here is a look at the final Group F Standings. We fell short, but look at how close this group was. We won both matches against Valencia (who moved on) and drew against Italian giants Juventus. Tiny Vitesse was 1 goal short! What is worse, I made a crucial mistake as a manager. With the game tied at 2 against Juventus, I had DM Simons lined up to take the PK we received in the 80th min. He missed, when Bressan, Oscar and Wilfried all would have been better choices. It is a mistake that cost us a trip to the knockout stages of Champions League.
That being said, I am very pleased in how the team performed against some giant European clubs and how well we performed being in every single match playing OUR style of attacking football, not parking the bus. Super proud!
The club finished their upgrade and expansion of the youth and training facilities. Both are viewed as “Good” now and not immediately after, we then asked to upgrade both again and the board approved. The estimated cost of upgrading both once again will be 10.8 million and they should be completed by November 2013. I also suggested that the club purchase the Gelredome from the Arnhem city council. The board agreed.
Incredible form from our Advanced Forward role (Wilfried/Havenaar), AML/R Chanturia having a banner year (thank you Gutierrez injury) and Xulu (DC) with 8 goals at the break and 4 Man of Matches! Practically everyone that is receiving playing time is around or above a 7 rating. Brilliant!
Now I will take a little break, scout some and get ready for the 2nd half of the 2012/13 season. Just looking at the table and fixtures, its clear this could come down to the very end. A late season match against Ajax looms as well as an upcoming Dutch Cup quarterfinal vs. Ajax on the road. Champions League knockout stages would have been nice, but we may be thankful for the lack of schedule congestion heading into the 2nd half.
I don’t see the club needing to make any major moves. If the board give us extra transfer funds we may look to secure some youth from abroad (some 15yr olds from Argentina that I have my eye one), but at this point I am unsure. Defence is a spot I may need to look at with Kashia (resigned through 2015) and Xulu the only ones of note who are on the books for 2013/14.
The owners rewarded us with an increased transfer budget heading into the 2nd half. The sum of 8.5million at expected wage to be exact. During the month of December I had spent some time eyeing the availability of defenders and such. As I don’t yet feel good about splashing cash with a club this size (the Oscar deal was a one off), I arrived comfortably at 2 defenders that I felt really good about in regards to how I use them. Introducing Ognjen Vranjes and Nikolay Bodurov both products of our Eastern Europe scout(s).
Both have agreed to lesser roles so that I may ease them in. In order to do so we terminated a defender’s loan.
Chelsea then asked us to take Oriol Romeu (DM,CM) on loan for the rest of the season. Romeu is just that right person who can fit a Anchorman or DLP role for us. I have worried about Timmy Simons age (35) as he has begun to drop off physically and Rincon performed well, but then suffered 3-4 month injury before the break. Jali and Romeu will largely split duties as Anchorman.
All 3 will train with their clubs until 18. Poch will arrive Jan 2015 and Bolzan and Gurrieri will arrive in July 2015. Bolzan could almost play now. He has great attributes at 15 yrs and has determination (15) as well. Gurrieri is much the same with very good speed and potential. They will continue to play and train with River’s U20s. Poch has some unique abilities at the age of 16. With 13 attributes of 13 or better, he has Vitesse fans drooling. He will continue to play and train with Boca U20s.
The season was going so well so I continued on and finished out 2012/13 and guess what? We took the Eredivisie title for the 2nd year. Back to back! The best part we clinched 1st and a Champions League birth with 5 games still to be played.
In the end, our massive (quality of ) depth helped us on. Gutierrez was injured the first half of season, and Xulu and Chanturia most of the 2nd half. Chanturia finished tied for the league lead in assists with teammate Bressan but only played in 15 matches! Outstanding. Xulu still finished with 8 goals in 19 matches, while January transfer Ognjen Vranjes knocked in 4 goals as he covered for Xulu the final 2 months. Vranjes finished with 7.48 rating in 14 matches. I would say he adapted just fine. Take a look at the rest of our first team stats sorted by rating…
2012/13 First Team Stats
A simply outstanding season and we have done well to not only win Eredivisie but dominate and become a fixture in Champions League. Our goal is clear for 2013/14 as we will look to take Eredivisie for a 3rd straight time and qualify for the knockout round of Champions League as well.
With many offseason changes looming, there will be new faces for sure. The board has hinted at a 5 + million transfer budget, but with almost 125k p/w in salary leaving, we should find ourselves very close to 8-10 million in available transfer funds.
Here is a look at the outgoing players as of the 30th of June. I may look to bring in Patrick van Aanholt permanently from Chelsea, but unsure.
A few additional items of note…In our 1st 2 years at Vitesse we have grown the club from 25m in value to 40m (and paid down 1 mil of debt), upgraded the youth and training facilities (with another upgrade in process, and made plans to purchase the Gelredome. Season ticket holders have risen from 10K to a projected 12,500 for 2013/14.
Not only will we hit the ground running when it comes to scouting, we will look at areas we can improve scouting and the scouting duties as well and staff and assignment of duties. Eredivisie and Champions League 2013/14 awaits…[/spoiler][/spoiler]
There is a feeling around the club that this season will be the hardest yet. The offseason started with Oscar asking to be moved. He feels he has outgrown our club. I was worried about this but had no idea it would be that quick. There is no way I get anywhere close to the 12.5 million we spent and after deferring a lot of money, we face some real decisions on how to manage Oscar. For now we are going to ignore and deny his requests.
Also, Chanturia and Gutierrez have picked up injuries that leave us wondering if either can be trusted to carry a full load, not to mention Labyad has poor fitness and we fear his time is coming. Ait Fana was transfer listed to gauge interest. We bought him for 2.1 million and we could probably move for close to 4m or more, but not the 7.5 we would like. Ait Fana is a great left footed AMR and backup striker. I only entertain moving him as I fear I can’t give him the palying time he deserves and without having the ability to cut inside very well from the AML position, he was a logical choice. As it stands now, offers were made but all under 7.5m and most with deferred money. For now he stays…
The Maicon project worked as the club was able to sell him for 1.5m after his free transfer less than a year ago. A nice tidy fee after we used him in 10 appearances (5 starts) and he racked up 6 goals and a 7.26 rating. He was ambitious and never going to be good with splitting time. All in all, a nice win for the club. Good Luck Maicon!
With as many players as we had in on loan (predominately in the back) and with many others’s deals coming to an end, we still needed longer-term solutions in the back and at anchorman.
Here is a look then at our 2013 offseason signings:
Patrick van Aanholt – In his 3rd stint on loan with us, van Aanholt could see his biggest role yet. He still lacks defensively but has come a long way. Chelsea would have let him go for 1.5m. He turned down, yet he wanted to come back on loan and we have an agreed to price of 1.5m in his loan this season.
Didier Ouattara – Brought in on a free transfer, Ouattara has some decent stats and plenty of upside (4 stars). He performed VERY well in friendlies and though we considered keeping him around to get some playing time at the club, he will move to Rostock of the German 2nd division for the season.
Emilian Kalman – Brought in on a free transfer, Kalman also saw time in friendlies and impressed. The 20 year old Romanian has good technical and physical skills and tremendous mental stats including a 20 in determination. He will stay at the club and be our backup leaving Eloy Room as the 3rd GK most likely. There is a real buzz around the club on this kid.
Anthony Annan – We were able to finally obtain Annan as our permanent Anchorman. We tried to bring him in after last season but he didn’t want to come. Perhaps our continued success has helped. He agreed for 1.7m and we beat out a few La Liga sides for his signature. Very happy to have that role locked down.
Jerry Vandam Introducing my new RB. Vandam was sought after by similar clubs in Europe but we won out. His physical attributes are crazy good and he should be menacing going forward and solid in the back. I think he is a good signing at 2.2.mil.
Pape Souare Introducing my new LB. Souare is much in the same mold as Vandam. Souare has absolutely brilliant physical stats with plenty of mental and technical attributes to round him out. A year younger than Vandam, he cost more than double at 5mil, but I am very excited to have these 2 crucial positions/roles locked down.
One transfer that fell through was Sotiris Ninis for Greece. He was interested in us per our 20/20 scout, but quickly changed his mind. Even after a few agreed upon price tags ranging from 3.5 to 5mil, he continued to balk. He is someone I want very badly and will work on unsettling him this season.
The lads did very well this summer. We even beat a full strength Arsenal side at the Emirates! We didn’t schedule to heavy and not too difficult as we were short handed due to a roster in flux and with the knowledge that we have a tough start to the season with Ajax again in the Dutch Super Cup as well as opening the season against that same Ajax side, FC Utrecht, Heracles (always play us well), PSV, and FC Twente. We should find out a lot early on in the year.