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Darren – FM 2011 Newcastle work the market 11/12

Hey guys and welcome back to my FM 2011 journey with Newcastle. Our first season back in the top flight is over and it was a major success. After just missing out on the FA Cup, losing on penalties to Chelsea…we also lost the last league game which stole Champions League football from under us. Settling for 5th place and the Europa League was easy though, especially seen as we were predicted to just avoid relegation. I guess there won’t be as much pressure on us now, although my expectations are still quite high. I am hoping to at least repeat my 5th place finish of last year. However, I can’t help but think my side are capable of going one better. My board only expect a top half finish which leaves me a lot of room to over achieve. With a much improved budget of £12.5 million for transfers and an extra £50K towards wages, my search for talent begins.

The media have offered odds of 40-1 for Newcastle to win the title. This seems to coincide with my boards evaluation, but there is hint of a title challenge if we hit an amazing run of form.

With my budget assigned and my goals set, it was time for some action in the transfer market. We’ll start with who I offloaded. A lot of players were left to leave on a free transfer, while I also wanted rid of the high earners that wouldn’t feature this season. Xisco, Smith, Best, Lovenkrands and Routledge were all aloud to leave for a cut down price. This is because I needed to free up some more of my wage budget. While I just felt like Nile Ranger would not reach a high enough level.

I took a lot of time while considering my signings, the first major decision was decided for me. Ben Arfa wouldn’t even take the time to sit down and discuss a move back to Saint James Park. This was disappointing as I feel like we made him into a real household name last season. However, this was soon forgotten about as I started to find some true talent and spent £14 million.

Alberto Paloschi (ST)

Now that’s what I call talent…last season I mentioned the lack of goals upfront, well this is my answer. Paloschi was bought from two clubs that co-owned his contract, £2.5 million per club was enough to steel away the talented striker. I class this as quite a bargain. He should suit a poachers role and will feature in my rotation system upfront.

Ibrahim Afellay (CM, AML)

This 25 year old is my best signing! He has great creativity as well as brilliant dribbling, first touch and technique. Finding Afellay on a free transfer was great but I did have to offer him an appearance bonus of £40K. This may seem excessive, but I believe he will be the difference between Champions League and the top six. I’ll use him as my new advanced playmaker.

Dudu (AMC, ST, AMR)

This Brazilian has real potential, however I see him as more of a winger rather than his primary position of AMC or ST. Therefore I will train the 19 year old to suit my needs. Dudu’s room for improvement was my main reason for signing him. I’ll be using the wonderkid in a rotation system with Jonas on the right wing.

Nicolas Gaitan (AML)

I couldn’t believe my look when finding Gaitan on the transfer list. £3.7 million seemed very cheap considering his attributes in key areas. This winger will be used as an inside forward (replacing Ben Arfa on the left wing.) His amazing dribbling, crossing, first touch, acceleration, agility and flair are perfect for the role I will play him in.

I have limited my squad to just 21 players this season. A few stars will have to multi task in two positions throughout the season. I am quite happy with the look of my side and feel like we have enough depth to deal with a cramped fixture list.

Pre-season results were OK but my new signings certainly need more time to settle. Hopefully Carroll’s early form will be a sign of things to come. The Zaragoza friendly was particularly pleasing.

My first two months of the season will be quite interesting. On paper they seem like a tough set of fixtures, but evaluating them one by one I am hopeful of a minimum of 10 points. The big challenges will be Liverpool away and Man City at home.

Well that is all for today’s update folks, I hope you enjoyed the post. Next time we’ll be looking at my first two months for the 11/12 season. I am hoping for a strong start, but stay tuned to see how the toon start the season. Please feel free to ask any questions below and I look forward to reading your comments as always.

 

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Lye Kuek Hin
11 years ago

Hi Darren,

I think you have signed some very good players which come cheap. I couldn’t believe the price that their club is willing to let them go. Dudu and Gaitan are pacey players who should cause some damage on the flanks while Paloschi is going to be a key player for you if he settles well. Not to mention Afellay coming in on a free. That’s amazing. I believe you will go one further this season. I am keeping my fingers cross for a Champions League position. Good luck.

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Lye Kuek Hin

Thanks Lye, I was just as shocked at the prices these guys went for. I just scouted them all and my researchers said these ridiculously low amounts would win the player. Afellay is my favourite as I think he’d walk into any Premiership side.

Sears
11 years ago

Great stuff Darren! You certainly made some excellent signings. Like you said, if you hit some amazing form I think you can really challenge for the title. Good luck!

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Sears

Thanks Sears, hopefully Paloschi can be as successful for me as he was for you in FM10.

warren
11 years ago

Hi Darren

Some of these signings are brilliant and I cannot wait to see how they will perform for you. The signings of both Afelley and Paloschi and excellent bargins. Good luck for the season ahead and hope that you can bring trophies to Newcastle this season and fill what seems to be a ever dustier trophy cabinet

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  warren

Thanks Warren, my side now has real class about it and some great attacking intent. That lethal finish was what let me down last year…well I think theres more than enough talent to make my charge on the top four.

Daniel
Daniel
11 years ago

hi darren great signings there and im sure u will put up a great title challnege i to have just started a season with newcastle and i thought u might want to take a look at some match highlights of one of my games i think u will be impressed here is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFZCGi18Z1o

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Daniel

Hey Daniel, I’m hoping to finish in the top four but a title challenge may be too much for us this year. Ive checked out your YouTube channel and subscribed. Must admit the Fulham game was great…I see you have Macheda, he is very good for the first season. Also looks like you have your corners set to aim for the back post with campbell standing on the far post as well…anyway its always nice to see my fav team win even if it is virtual. Thanks for the comment mate.

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
11 years ago

Hi Darren, really good signings there, and I like the fact that they are all young and can get even better. Looking at your squad a Champions League place seems possible, hopefully you can do it. Good luck!

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Laxeyman

Thanks Laxeyman, these youngsters should be in the starting 11 for a long time. Hopefully their impact will be quick though and your prediction will happen.

Atlant
Atlant
11 years ago

I think its a bug most of good players can get on free transfer as i ger Edin Dzeko , Anelka , Stekelenburg Kalou , Baptista , Granero ect ect ! Who would leave these players !

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Atlant

Hey Atlant, I can see why you would think theres a bug, but in my opinion SI have just captured modern day football. Unfortionutely the power now lyes with the player. A lot of players will run their contracts out because they feel they deserve more wages, a regular football, a bigger challenge or even just hate the manager. I think SI have implemented this into FM11, we haven’t really experienced so many free players before so naturally it feels like a bug. Anyway, you may be right mate but I think its quite realistic to the way football is going.

Ana Garcia
Ana Garcia
11 years ago

Excellent signings Darren, Paloschi looks very impressive.

Nice to see you played Carlisle (my local team!) in a freindly!

Best of luck on the oncoming season, hopefully you can push for the top four.

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Ana Garcia

Thanks Ana, I am really happy with the signings and hopefully a top four finish is possible. Can’t believe Carlisle are your local team, they really were tough to beat :)

Fabio
Fabio
11 years ago

good attaking players bought in. but dont u think u are short of good defensive players? colcinni
and taylor are good but can see ur team leakin goals. especially if one of them get a serious injury

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Fabio

Thanks for the comment Fabio and its an interesting issue you raise. While assesing where to strengthen I realised most of the points lost last season were due to a lack of lethal finishing and creativity, not bad defending. Although I have my worries about the defence I decided to trust the logic and strengthen in the area that cost me a top four finish. Hopefully it will pay off, but you definitely have a point.

kevin
kevin
11 years ago

Hi Dareen
Afellay on a free and Paloschi for 5 million is a great piece of business. I also think that just having 21 players is also smart as that will give everyone a good chance to get some first team action. I always end up with too many players like 28 and then can’t use them all.
Anyway looking forward to your continuing adventues on The Toon!!

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Thanks Kevin, I really want to maintain the good dressing room atmosphere, so making sure everyone gets a game is vital. All it takes is three or four players to rebel and the season can go wrong. This is what happened in my Napoli game during FM10. Hopefully the new signings will guide us to the top four.

arjunakankipati
arjunakankipati
11 years ago

Hey Darren,
You had a quite good transfer budget – for Newcastle, and made some good signings. Afellay is a amazing signing, especially on a free. I enjoy having a small squad because players tend to then get upset if you don’t rotate – like me. Did you get any good regens? You should look around all top clubs, and U-19 national teams, for players 16/17. I have found so many good young players, some of them even at small clubs, and these players will be the key for you in the future.

Darren Smith
11 years ago

Hey Arjuna, I agree with you on the budget, Newcastle seem a bit tight this year and £12 million was enough to strengthen. I have seen one or two good regens, but until I get a good training schedule I can not develop them to become great. Therefore I am just buying the best attributes at the moment to make sure my squad is as strong as possible. We don’t really have left over cash to invest in regens right now.

Johnny Karp
11 years ago

You brought in great youngsters there, especially Dudu and Paloschi. You might have a problem with the squad depth if there will be some bad injuries: you’ll have Europa League group matches, domestic cups and the leagues too and I have a feeling you’ll go far in all of those competitions. Good luck!

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

Hey Johnny, Paloschi and Dudu will have a big future at St James Park. I can see where your coming from about the lack of depth as the squad seems thin. However, on closer inspection every single position is covered by two players. That is always how I like my squad. Three players per position is too much as it may start a bad atmosphere through lack of football. Having said that I am looking at bringing one more players in around January. Hopefully we will not get hit by an injury plague.

Johnny Karp
11 years ago

Well, 21 doesn’t mean two for every role from a purely mathematical point of view. But I understand what you mean :)

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

lol, I class the two centre back positions as one. Three centre backs has always served me well. Though I know what you mean and do have a niggling feeling I need another one to two bodies…but I’d rather strengthen in quality than quantity. There are some good reserve and youth players I can call apon if need be.

paine
11 years ago

Hi Darren, I just finished my first season managing Wigan and in my save Newcastle had a poor season, ending 14th, so you surely did a great work reaching Europe with them.

I was thinking that I’m not convinced by your defenders, above all your fullbacks didn’t impress me too much.

Of course you’re the manager and you know your team potential better than anyone.

Have a good season.

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  paine

Thanks Paine, last season was a real over achievement. I understand your concerns and usually would share them, but last season they all played very well and it was a lack of finishing and deadly creativity that diverted us from the top four. I believe you should strengthen the weakness’ you can see rather than the ones you think are there. Having said that, I definitely need a new centre back if we make the Champions League. Thanks for the comment.

Calin
11 years ago

Hey, Darren! You’ve made some really nice moves on the market and I’m sure you will be a title contender this season. I personally like Gaitan (who was indeed cheap!) and Dudu a lot, with Paloschi of course, as always, a great signing. You have managed to strengthen the squad and I’m sure you have what it takes to mount a title challenge!

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Calin

Hey Calin, my favourite signing has to be a toss up between Paloschi and Gaitan…both very cheap considering their quality and age. I don’t know if we’ll challenge the top but Im definitely aiming for the Champions League. Thanks for the comment mate.

Herman
Herman
11 years ago

A few more jaw-dropping signings! I’ve read many Manager Stories, but i still come here regularly to see what you have done this time!

Anyway, kudos to you for continuing to drop my jaw lol.

Also, what are the factors affecting injury? I’v had Kaka out for 4 months, Ronaldo 8, Benzema 3-4, Higuain 5-6, Arbeloa 2.

Darren Smith
11 years ago
Reply to  Herman

Hi Herman, glad you enjoy the stories. I was very happy with the signings especially considering their values. Thanks for the compliment mate. With regards to the injuries they can be tough to avoid. I have been lucky so far and only lost Nolan, Vuckic and Carroll…the worst been Nolan for 3 months. You however seem to be having some serious problems. I would recommend been careful with your players workload if making your own training schedules. Whenever a player gets a minor injury, sub him straight away. My number one rule is never play someone who is below 88% fit (I usually need my players to be at least 92% really.) All these things will help with injuries but its down to the footballing gods really :( Hope your luck changes soon mate.

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