It’s time to start another season in charge of Vitória on FM19. The first two have been relatively successful so far without any silverware being won. Consecutive 3rd place finishes in the league in addition to a few domestic cup semi finals and a jaunt into the knockout phase of the Europa League last season.
This season, it’s vital to finish 3rd in the league again, as it now means passage into the Champions League qualifying rounds. The potential income and increased reputation this would bring the club would be huge. How would we cope?
The media predict we’ll finish 4th this season, one place higher than they predicted last season and one place lower than we’ve finished in the last two seasons. They’re predicting Sporting will finish 3rd despite their bottom half finish last season. The Lisbon club have kept Luis Freire in charge so it remains to be seen whether they’ll live up to those expectations. You now know what happens if we manage a third consecutive 3rd place finish this season but the board will be more than happy if we qualify for the Europa League again which gives me a little bit of legroom to overachieve.
Edmond Tapsoba heads down to the B squad for first team football in Liga Pro, so I was looking for a central defender to have four in the first team. I’d agreed a £2.3m deal with RBLeipzig for Austrian Dario Maresic, who found himself on the transfer list, but unfortunately he chose to join Hannover. They did offer him about £20k per week more in wages than us though so who can blame him. Thinking longer term, we’ve Luis Miguel making good progress in the u19 squad. He came through our first youth intake, is highly rated by my coaches and looks like he’s got a big future. This season looks like it’s one too soon for him still so I’ve gone for a loan move as our additional CB. Highly rated 20-year-old, Perr Schuurs, arrives from Ajax for the season.
Right back is another position that needed strengthening, with Fonseca only on a loan deal last season. Squad versatility can negate the need for a transfer fee to be paid out for a player who’ll take time to settle and perhaps never really live up to that fee. This is why I’ve decided to focus on Wakaso having a slight ability to play at right back and will be training and playing him in that position this season. He’ll cover for Víctor García.
Sometimes you just need to sign a player who maybe isn’t going to set the world alight, but might just be a type of cultural leader that fits your club or you as a manager. He got a mention in my FM19 plans post, and he’s still not been able to make the breakthrough at Sporting despite their troubles. Ryan Gauld arrives on a free transfer after his contract expired. He’s not the most talented midfielder in my squad but he’ll do a job when called upon. My backroom staff contains a few Scots and now my squad has one too.
Last season’s star man, Sigurd Grønli signed a new deal which will keep him at the club until 2024. There was some interest in him but moving quickly to get him to sign on has deterred them for now. If he performs similarly this season than he did last, we’ll struggle to fight them off for much longer. Maybe I’ve already recruited his successor. When players like Felipe Soares become available I think it’s difficult to turn down, especially as he fits a good profile. 21, Portuguese and very talented. There’s a fair few central midfielders in the squad now so it’ll be tricky to keep them all happy.
Last season, Georgi Arabidze provided something different for us on the wing during his loan spell from PSG. This season that responsibility will fall to these men.
Yayi Mpie is still quite raw but has bags of potential and is a good option on both wings as either an out and out winger or an inside forward cutting in. He spent last season on loan at Olhanense so is fluent in the language and has experience of the country. We’ve utilised that affiliate link with Porto again for the third season running to bring in Kelvin on loan. He was on the transfer list and deemed surplus to requirements but he comes in and is instantly the most valuable player in our squad, which just shows you the gulf between the two clubs right now. Speed, dribbling ability, great movement, he’ll be a danger in a similar role that Arabidze played last season, coming off the left but being left footed.
A deal for Axel Werner looked as though it might happen for a bargain £375k from Atletico Madrid, but his wage demands were far beyond what I was willing to pay right now. Gabriel Brazão joins from Cruzeiro for £325k and he’ll be our back up keeper this season while Sérgio Dutra remains with the first team to train. He isn’t quite ready for the step up yet. Further deals were done for Paiva on a free from Oliveirense to play in the B team and young midfielders, Timon Husterer and Wiseman Meyiwa, from 1860 Munich and Kaizer Chiefs for a combined total of £830k. Husterer is 17 and will be with the u19s this season while Meyiwa will train with the first team. All in we spent £3m this summer.
It’s been quite a slog of a summer in terms of keeping some of our current players happy. Frederico Venâncio, Mohamed Daramy, Jori, Jhon Murillo and B team prospect, Oscar Aga, have all fallen out with me over one thing or another. Venâncio wanted to leave for a bigger club and multiple bids were rejected after being deemed not good enough. Murillo wanted a new contract, his agent wasn’t happy with the initial offer but an agreement was eventually signed and sealed and he’s now contracted until 2024. Jori has officially handed in a transfer request but I see him as my first choice keeper, so want him to stay. I’ve ignored his moaning for now and hope it’ll disappear with his gametime over the next few months. Kelvin’s arrival from Porto paved the way for Daramy to leave, but only on loan to Eibar in La Liga, which could earn us a potential £250k over the season. He’ll hopefully get a bit of first team football and come back next summer more experienced and a bit happier.
The window shuts and we’ve made £3.3m from selling players this summer. From the first team, Welthon and Tozé both left for Granada in a combined £2.1m deal. Welthon was good in my first season but never got a look in last season while Tozé showed flashes but was constantly picking up niggly injuries which impacted his gametime. Ola John’s loan move at Moreirense earned us £300k last season and he moves permanently to Sparta Rotterdam for £600k this summer. Good to make a decent bit of money on a player who never really got a look in. 25-year-old Rúben Oliveira moves to Chaves for £115k in the only other permanent deal, he wasn’t good enough to ever break in to our first team.
Results in preseason friendlies don’t mean much at all really. It’s all about getting the players fit and acquainted with each other as we gear up to kick off season three. Let’s go.
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