Samo’s Stirling – Season Thirteen – Transfers

Similarly to season twelve, I’m going to deal with our incomings and outgoings across my thirteenth season in this separate post. Success rolled on last season and the Circle of Transfers is in full swing still. This season has been another full of major outgoings to be replaced by either options already at the club or more clever recruitment from me, our scouts and data analysts. Fancy a peek at it all then?

Ins and outs

Sad news to start us off.

Edvin Horvat joined the club in January 2024 for a bargain £235k from Gorica in Slovenia. 214 appearances, 49 assists and 59 goals later he heads off to Manchester City for a potential £25m. I think it’s a bloody bargain to be honest with you, but I wasn’t able to squeeze any more out of City unfortunately. He’s made us tick for five and a half season and his stats aside, his importance to the team can’t be understated. We’ll miss him.

The blow is softened slightly by City letting Darren MacDonald’s contract expire and us picking him on a free transfer.

I’ve been tracking him for a few seasons to increase our Scottish contingent after he came through the youth ranks at Inverness. He’s not quite on the same level at Horvat, but he’ll be a very solid option for us in that same CM(A) role.

Another loyal servant departs this season, as Ryan Porteous moves to MLS and Los Angeles.

Porto initially joined the club in my first season on loan as we battled our way out of Division Two before joining permanently in the 2021/22 season after we’d successfully battled to stay in the SPL after our maiden top tier season. He’s captained the club through the most successful period in its history, but has been gradually phased out of being a first choice at the back over the last couple of seasons. After a whopping 337 appearances we still managed to get £3m for him from Galaxy. He joins Steve Bamford, who also made the move across the pond this season to Los Angeles for £6m after he arrived for £1k from Bangor five years ago. Not a bad profit at all for a fringe player.

Joe Muir, another CB, also left the club this season, heading to Olympiakos for £6m. Both Porto and Muir had been two of our first choice options at the back, and the plan was for Assas to step up and perform this season after being on the fringes following his £275k from USM Alger at the beginning of last season. However…

Manchester United took a shine to him after he impressed over the course of the first half of this season. The transfer could rise to £18.5m and we’ve got 50% of his next transfer fee coming our way too. Not really getting to see some of these promising young players in proper first team action for us was becoming a recurring theme.

After 19 Stirling starts across two seasons, Abubakar Diallo heads south to join Huddersfield for a new record sale of £35m, plus 40% of his next transfer fee. We hardly knew ‘ya. Thanks though ?

Joao Mendes, who joined two seasons ago as one of the Portuguese trio alongside Enca Sambu and Dinis Pinto, would also leave this season. English clubs love taking players off my hands, and it was West Ham stumping up £19.5m for Mendes. OG Deep Lying Destroyer, Aaron Bolger, would also leave ahead of the season starting. He joins Monterrey for £1.9m, again not a bad deal considering he was signed for £10k and we got five very good seasons out of him when he was first choice in that role.

Their first choice replacements will mainly come from players already at the club, but Barkaia was identified playing for Georgia, and at just 18 for £450k, I couldn’t really pass up that transfer. He should develop really nicely and I would say is capable of playing in either of our CM roles.

I’d admitted an oversight in my original Circle of Transfers post where I wasn’t quite ready for our previous first choice right back, Villavicencio, to leave as there was nobody ready to step into his place. It led me to panic buy a sub-standard 20-year-old Sudanese international. As soon as that deal went through and the transfer window closed, I’d secured Helic’ signature to arrive in the summer for £650k. He’s got so much room to improve but I really like some his mentality already. Determined, brave and concentrated. He’ll fit in nicely.

One area that I’m not leaving to be an oversight is on the right hand side of midfield. Cho Chang has been performing ridiculously for us so far, bursting onto the scene last season after his £1m move. Like I said in the season twelve update post, he won’t be around for very long I imagine, but we have managed to keep him throughout season thirteen!

Bakari arrives from Montpellier for £600k. He’ll be in and around the squad this season, learning the ropes and then hopefully be ready when the inevitable does happen and Cho Chang the wing wizard does leave.

Pat Buchan, who at £2.5m is still the highest fee we’ve paid for a player, made murmurs about wanting to leave so he was offloaded to Toluca for a potential fee of £7.5m. Not a bad profit again for someone who served us well and scored a fair few goals. His place in the squad was taken up by the Big Man.

He could be bigger… but I’ve got high hopes for Bigger Kawaya. He joins from Hoffenheim for £1.6m, love you minimum fee release clauses. The first choice strikeforce is now any two of Enca Sambu, Moussa Diaby or homegrown starlet, Martin Griffiths. The Big Man should provide ample back up initially, settling in nicely to be ready to step up when needed.

If you needed a wanky graphic to remind you of what the Circle of Transfers looks like in practice, here you go!

Thanks for reading!

With FM19 announced, we’re on the home stretch of FM18. I’ll be continuing to play this save up until the new beta drops which I think, if my calculations are right with the rate I’m currently playing, will get me at least another two full seasons at the club.

Talking of FM19, if you’re still looking to order the game I’ve partnered up with 2Game like a few others have around the community, but instead of the affiliate fee lining my back pocket, I’m donating all cash made to WarChild. All you need to do is click this link and then enter SAMO when you’re checking out for an extra 10% off the price too. You’re getting FM19 for a really good price and you’re doing your bit for charity at the same time. Win-win!

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