2 weeks away on a work trip has meant 2 weeks of fairly solid FM time for the 1st time in a good few years! What a treat. What it has meant is that I’ve managed to get through the 2nd half of the season in probably record quick time for me. What this means for you is that I’ve managed to get the update written for the end of the season for RBSalzburg (RBLeipzig following very soon too)! We were going well at the half way stage, top of the league and had progressed well in the cup. I was confident we could go on to win the league and get back to where the club belonged, qualifying for the Champions League!
The January transfer window was all about getting rid of some of our current non-EU players, so that I could make way for a couple of new ones you’ll see in a second.
Yordy Reyna, Paulo Miranda and Takumi Minamino all leave the club, for a combined total of £2.3m. All three had played relatively important parts in our season so far, but it was time to introduce some of the new guard. Time to give them gametime. Other players left on loan to get gametime elsewhere, including left back Alex Burgstaller, who will get some more time in the team next season, and centre back Edafe Duru, who we’d signed in the summer but just couldn’t find a non-EU slot for in the team yet.
I’d arranged the first three transfers in during the first half of the season. The scouts had been scouring Africa, and I’d chosen to sign Adou, El Ashry and Owusu for a potential combined fee of £575k. Not bad at all. I like the look of all three players and think they should improve even further with some 1st team experience.
Dorin Rotariu arrived from our very close friends in Leipzig, to try and reignite his career. He’s really struggled to impose himself on the team so far at RBL, so a loan move to us here might just do the trick. Milan Tomic also arrived, a new signing at RBL, but I then realised Serbia wasn’t in the EU and I had no available slots to register him at RBS. Fail.
After that fail, I still felt I needed some extra cover at the back, so I went searching for some EU nationalities. Ivan Martin is Argentinian, but has a Spanish passport, so in he came for a potential £1.7m. The final arrival, late on deadline day, was Tammy Abraham, a name some of you may be familiar with. The thinking behind this one is, it’s a relatively cheap £800k and he’s English. If Brexit happens some of the English clubs might look abroad to see who they can bring back to the country, meaning we could hopefully charge a premium price.
Silverware! Delighted to be able to bring home the cup in my 1st season in charge at RBS. Only conceding 1 goal along the way is a great achievement too, and we had tough challenges to overcome. Sneaking past Sturm in the semi final on penalties should have been more comprehensive than it was. We should have won the match, but had to play extra time with 10 men. The lottery of penalties was one that we had the winning ticket.
The final was much more of a relaxed affair as we easily ran out 3-0 winners over Admira. Could we make it a domestic double in my 1st season in Salzburg?
We started back from the winter break completely dominating. Great wins over Altach, Innsbruck and Rapid seeing us break away slightly at the top of the table. However, a run of 1 win in 4 matches, including 2 disappointing 1-0 defeats against Sturm and Wolfsberger, saw our lead cut. Despite our win over them, Rapid were keeping up with us, and were ready to capitalise on any potential slip up. Would we slip up?
Victory! The convincing 4-1 win at home to Rapid on matchday 35 sealed us the Austrian Bundesliga title! The clubs 1st league win in 4 seasons. We should have won it by a much bigger margin, but delighted to have won it eventually, and secured a domestic double at the 1st time of asking.
We scored the same number of goals as Rapid in 2nd place, but our defence was solid. Only conceding 24 goals across the season is really pleasing. Cut out some of those draws next season, i.e. finishing off teams instead of letting them back into the match.
Who’s got wings?
Who has what it takes to make the step up to RBLeipzig?
Kalkan ended the season with 6 assists and an average rating of 7.19. Not too bad at all, and he’s improving every day. I think another season in Salzburg would be ideal for him, but he’s wanted by Leverkusen, Bournemouth and Swansea so might have to move in the summer to maintain Red Bull ownership.
The man currently owned by RBL but on loan for the season at RBS. He hit 23 goals and 13 assists in 38 matches. Taking home the league top scorer award in the process. Ideally want to keep him for another season at Salzburg, as I don’t think he’s ready for the step up to Leipzig yet. He is a non-EU nationality though so will have to monitor that situation before the season starts in terms of registration.
A product of the 1st youth intake in my time at the club, I think Gerber looks like he could be special. Bags of potential, and still just 15. So much room to improve and become the next big thing for both us and Austria.
On the pitch, a very successful 1st season in charge. We’ve done what we set out to, in terms of winning the league and ensuring Champions League qualification for the club again. We’ll go in at the 2nd qualifying round of that, albeit in the usually slightly kinder champions route. The CL is of course, alongside us regularly selling players, where the money is. Especially so as we only received a paltry £330k for winning the league.
Also on the pitch, we’re having some issues tactically. We’re playing the same way across both teams, but in Austria, we’re the big dog. The biggest club. The majority of the league sit back when they play against us, and it causes us to have huge long shots issues. Like majorly huge. Like when we have 30 shots in a match, 25 of those might be long kinda issues. Some of our play is glorious, and when teams don’t come and sit back, we can really take advantage. Case in point of that being the 4-1 win over Rapid that secured the league title. Any suggestions right now would be great, but I’m planning on going through a few of the issues in my tactical post (which is coming soon! It genuinely is).
Off the pitch, I think we need to improve. Our recruitment needs to get even smarter, and I really need to work around these non-EU restrictions that I completely didn’t realise were in place before I took over. I wanted to stockpile my team with Africans!
The usual shout for you to join us in #FMSlack. There’s over 600 people in there now, and a lot of those are regularly taking part in the various conversations that are happening across various different topics! Tactics, training, scouting and getting closer to a number of different content creators. If you want to join, hit the link below! If the link isn’t working, give me a shout via email to firstname.lastname@example.org