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Darren – Ultimate European Challenge, AC Milan pre-season 13/14

Hello folks and welcome back to my trip across Europe. During my last post you saw AC Milan do the domestic double, we missed out on the Europa League after a last gasp loss to Porto. Some excellent signings during January helped me guide the Rossineri from 10th position after 13 games to an incredible title triumph. The Ultimate European challenge requires me to win a title and domestic Cup in England, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. I also have to win the Champions League twice with any club, add to this the fact that I had to start unemployed and you’ve got  a great challenge. If you would like to try it for yourself just visit the Ultimate European Challenge rules. Below is my career to date.

Career history:

– Hamburg SV, Germany (2010-2012)

– AC Milan, Italy (2012-present)

Honours

  • Bundesliga (German) title – 2012
  • German Cup – 2012
  • Serie A (Italy) title – 2013
  • Italian Cup – 2013

Expectations and odds: After a great first season in charge, the board expected a title challenge. I wasn’t too keen on the budget offered so upped this to actually winning the title. A big risk as a bad season would probably see my departure, but it is worth the risk for a £20 million budget.

The media seem to agree with me, but my closest rivals, Inter Milan, are held in high esteem as well. The 5-1 odds show how close this league really is with Roma coming in at 6-1. However, the next contenders are Juventus at 16-1. This would be worth a couple of quid in real life. :)

Transfers out: As you can see below, the list for players leaving AC is huge. I saw them all as deadwood and wanted to cash in on their wages mainly. This was done and I could adjust my transfer budget a lot to bring in new faces. You will notice Gattuso has left on a free transfer…the board are furious about that decision, hopefully they won’t hold it against me all season.

Transfers in: With an ageing squad and one lacking for strength in depth, I decided to focus on many areas. Central midfield was a big concern as Ronaldinho and Pirlo lack the stamina to play a full game. Plus my bench consisted of players that wouldn’t make most top flight sides. Therefore I strengthened with two Belgian players that are very talented. I also invested on the wings by Purchasing Alexis Sanchez who can play on the left or right. My favourite signing however was Aogo from my old club HSV. The left back assisted an incredible amount of goals from corners. After adjusting my wage budget I managed to spend £35.5 million, a lot considering our debt but I know we can pay it back this season.

Steven Defour: Bought on a free transfer, the midfielder will be vital this season. He has a great understanding of the game and should provide some much needed leadership.

Axel Witsel: Another Belgian midfielder, however Axel cost me £13 million. He is very versatile and has a lot to his game. I will use him as the supporting midfielder or instead of Ronaldinho as the advanced playmaker. His role will be judged by performances and I hope to find his best position quickly.

Alexis Sanchez: Probably one of the best wingers on FM, Alexis was signed from Sunderland for £13.5 million. His minimum release clause was a major problem for Sunderland, but very beneficial for me. Sanchez has blistering pace and scores goals from the wings. He will play a huge part in my starting XI.

Dennis Aogo: The German left back was signed for £8.75 million from my most hated club HSV. He has pace and great technique. Aogo can also cross the ball very well and I know how to get the best from him after a brief spell in Germany. Aogo is fantastic from corners and will pair up with my centre back Silva perfectly to provide goals.

Squad: After a lot of action in the transfer market, I am now very happy with my squad. We seem to have every position covered and my wing positions look especially strong. With superstars Vella and Sanchez as my primary wingers, my backup players would walk into most sides, Robinho and N-Zogbia can make a big impact from the bench.

Italian Super Cup vs Napoli: My first game of the season was in the Italian Super Cup and I had some testing opponents. Napoli have fallen short during all of our fixtures to date. I was hoping to make this a third victory and get my season off to a winning start. Using the same tactic as in the Italian Cup final, I played a 4-5-1 with standard strategy. A very deep defensive line, very narrow width and very slow tempo has become my favoured tactic in Italy. Witsel, Sanchez and Aogo were to be offered their debut in this tie. Lets see what happened in the match highlights.

Witsel gave a stunning performance with both one goal and an assist. He also showed a great range of passing, which will be vital to breaking through strong defences. Hope you all noticed Aogo’s corner landing straight onto Silva’s head :) hopefully that was the start of a beautiful chemistry between the two defenders. This 3-0 victory showed a lot of promise for the season ahead as my side dominated the ball and made Napoli look like amateurs.

Fixtures: My next post will take us all the way to the end of November. With the Champions League to focus on I need to avoid any major injuries and hope for some luck in the draw. I can confirm that my CL group consists of Real Madrid, Leverkusan and Steaua. An OK group, but one I really want to finish top of. The Serie A fixtures look quite tough, but then again they always will with such competition in there.

Well that concludes today’s update. I hope you all enjoyed the read and I look forward to your comments. As always thanks for stopping by.

If you want to join us all in the Ultimate European Challenge, please follow the link and read the rules. Its very simple and should get us all into different cultures and styles of Football.

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Laxeyman
Laxeyman
10 years ago

Good signings Darren, particularly Witsel and Defour who will be very strong in midfield, and Sanchez who terrorises full backs. You should retain your Serie A crown this season and hopefully you can go far in the Champions League too. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Laxeyman

Thanks Laxeyman, I am delighted with the new players. They should all play a big part in my coming season…the title is a must, but it would be nice to come close in the Champions League as well.

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago

Hey hey hey, how did Sanchez end up in Sunderland. I like him by the way, awesome winger.
Anyways, good signings as always Darren. I’m sure they’ll all do well especially Defour as he can be a killer playmaker. And well done on your Super Cup win. You’ve got a tough start there and your group isn’t ‘OK’ Darren. HAHA!
Good Lick mate! Hope you do well!

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago
Reply to  Wazz

aww maan.. I meant LUCK. xD

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Wazz

Hi Wazz, Sunderland have really spent some money and have a good squad. The signings are solid and I guess you’re right about the Champions League group. Only advantage is I already know how we’ll beat both Real Madrid and Leverkusan so I guess I’m a little over confident. :)

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

Witsel and Defour are great choices for the central midfield area, they are highly reliable. Sanchez should do a great job as well, fantastic talent. I guess we’re going to witness another title, good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

I agree Johnny, reliable is probably the best way to describe them. They may not create magic every game but will be very trust worthy when it comes to consistency. Hopefully you’re right and some trophies will be won again.

Sears
10 years ago

Great signing mate, you’ve one hell of a squad at your disposal now. You should easily win the title although even the Champions League will be tough to win, I think you can go all the way. Good luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

Thanks Sears, the squad is very strong and full of talent. The title is my main aim, but Champions League is always a dream to win.

kevin
kevin
10 years ago

Hi Darren
I’ve never seen such an extensive transfer out list :) Your Belgium duo should do you really nicely and a very strong left back in Aogo should ensure a sound defence. Good luck with the new season

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Hey Kevin, the transfers out really were something, but very important as AC Milan have too many players. Hopefully the new faces will provide some trophies. :)

Birdy
10 years ago

Hey Darren

You’ve got a really nice squad now and I reckon what you have told the board will become true. Good luck on the challenge. Lets hope you can win the title easily and I really like the two belgium players

good luck

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Birdy

Thanks Birdy, I like the Belgian players too and think we can win the title. The Champions League will be our big test this season.

Arjuna
10 years ago

Very strong signings Darren, and hopefully you will be able to win the title

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Arjuna

Thanks Arjuna, I am hopeful of the title and we’ll see what happens elsewhere.

Lye Kuek Hin
10 years ago

Hi Darren

You have made the correct decision to trim the squad down. Those left behind are the elite. Great signings there, no doubt you can win the title once again but i think you will put your focus on the Champions League.Good luck for the new season.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Lye Kuek Hin

Hi Lye, I felt like the squad was full of dead weight and I also needed to get more money for wages. Hopefully the elite left over will prove my decision is a good one. The League is my main aim, but the Champions League will take priority when reaching the knockout stages.

Ana Garcia
Ana Garcia
10 years ago

Great signings Darren!

Good idea in cleaning out some of the players who you dont need, especially with the wages they are on and well done in the players bought all look very good.

Good luck on the season and on your challenge!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Ana Garcia

Thanks Ana

The clean out was vital really and I’m very happy with the new faces. Hopefully this will be another successful season. :)

Sayam Khan
Sayam Khan
10 years ago

Great signings Darren. Dennis Aogo should definately be a success since you already know him! Good Luck!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sayam Khan

Hi Sayam, I think Aogo was relatively cheap considering his ability and I’m glad to get him away from HSV. Lets hope for a good season.

CsAtlantis
CsAtlantis
10 years ago

Good signings Darren, I think AC Milan needs a bit of a revamp too, I restarted my game with an English/Spanish manager and landed a job at AC Milan, 16th position after 12 matches and next match is away to Inter the next day, this should be fun :P

That loan debt of 178 million at 1.4 million pounds per month is not funny either :(

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  CsAtlantis

Thanks CsAtlantis, Milan are a great club but a little too old in my opinion. Hey glad to hear you got the AC job, that Inter derby will be huge as the fans were very angry when I drew against them first game of my career. I think they have finally forgiven me though ;) You’re right about the loan debt, that is the only thing that will drive me away over the next few years. I mean who can afford 1.4m per month. Its ridiculous and shows how much trouble their in.

ryan lynch
ryan lynch
10 years ago

your some man darren

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  ryan lynch

Thanks Ryan, I enjoyed writing the post as a bit of fun and to offer a few tips.

bri h
bri h
10 years ago

when you released all those players did you not have to pay to release them?

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  bri h

Hi Bri H, I didn’t have to pay the released players any money as their contracts had run out anyway. Otherwise that would have been a very expensive window for me. :)

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