Hello folks and thanks for joining me for another episode of the Vauxhall Motors FM 2011 story! Yes, we have won the Premier League title last season, we have celebrated the historic achievement, but now it’s time to look at the future and make this club even stronger. We want to prove that our title-winning campaign was not just an accident, we have to show the whole world that the Motormen are as strong as anybody!
Before moving on to our pre-season let’s analyze what went on last season, player by player, role by role.
Luis Guilherme was one of our top assets, he saved quite a few certain goals and his average rating of 7.14 shows that he was a reliable goalie throughout the season. Jack Butland, our backup goalie, was given seven starts and he did a decent job so he will remain at the club.
This is where we had some problems: Julian Marino had a poor season compared to the previous one and his backup, Kwabena Quartey was sold in January. However, I still believe in Marino‘s potential so I will try to bring in another right back that could compete with him for a place in the starting eleven.
We’re pretty well covered here, both Hans Larsson and Pierre Touya had a very good season and I believe they can do even better (especially Touya).
We do have some problems here despite the high average ratings. Mervin Simon is a legend but he did make quite a few costly mistakes while Louis Laing and Javier Godoy were fairly reliable throughout the season. Julian Bazzi was a disappointment though, his campaign was hindered by several injuries and that makes him the most likely candidate for a transfer out.
Things are looking good here, Leandro Velasco had a fabulous season while Abdallah Yaisien did a good job when called upon. Ravel Morrison was not nearly as good as the other two but he had two long-term injuries to deal with.
Young Tiago is slowly adapting to the Premier League and his performances were on a constant way up. He’s only 19 years old and I believe that he will become one of the club’s most valuable players soon. Backup Javier Garcia did a decent job but he will be sold if a good offer comes in.
Tinga and Graham Howson were the most reliable CMs, they did all the hard work there. A special note about Radek Vecera, his average rating is not very good but I believe that those numbers are quite harsh on the lad, he was a reliable performer and probably the player who did most of the dirty work in midfield. Denís, Shyamdew Weibolt and Mark Brown failed to impress, they had to deal with a few nasty injuries but they might not be good enough at this level.
No complaints there, Zé Carlos is the club’s very best player while Parana also is a great talent and I will not sell him despite the injury problems. Backups Wellington Paulista and Ibrahima MBow did a very good job when needed so they will remain at the club as well.
Alright, after that quick look back now let’s set our eyes on the future. The club secured a new sponsorship deal, quite an improvement on the last one but it still leaves us at the bottom of the sponsorship table… We’re ages behind the top clubs when it comes to money, that’s quite obvious.
I was hoping for a wealthy transfer budget but that wasn’t the case, the board offered just 29 mil for an Europa League qualification! I promised them another title challenge and they “generously” offered 38 million pounds for transfers and 800K per week for wages. I admit that that is not nearly enough to bring in the players that I would have wanted…
The bookmakers are not very optimistic about our chances and the media predict that we would finish 8th! Are you sure? :)
Now comes the juicy part, the transfers! As you can see we managed to raise no less than 48 million pounds from player sales and loan fees, I guess that’s a good return. Most of the movement was in midfield as Mark Brown, Denís, Shyamdew Weibolt and… Tinga left the club. The first three were sold without hesitation but I had to think about the Tinga move for a while. FC Bayern offered 12.25 mil, which is 5 million less than what I paid for him last season, but I decided to cash in. The player is 28 years old now and I guess I would have gotten even less after another season, especially since I was quite sure that he wasn’t going to get as much first team football anymore. The other important first team player that left the club was centre back Julian Bazzi, Zenit paid 9.75 million for him and I was more than happy to cash in. Last but not least left winger Javier Garcia was sold for 5.5 million as I found a replacement for free.
And now the incoming lads, 18 new players joined the club for a total of 61 million pounds! However, only seven of these players will be wearing the first team shirt in the coming season while the others will play for the reserves or go out on loan.
Let’s see who the new first team players are. We start with the new right back, Italian youngster Emanuele Santoni. With not enough money in the transfer budget I was forced to abandon my two main targets (Dennis Appiah and Sime Vrsaljko) and I decided to go for the cheap but good option: a season-long loan for 1.5 million. This lad is as good as Julian Marino at the moment and if the club will give me some money in January I will try to push for a permanent deal.
Finding a new centre back was my main concern and I have to tell you that I had lots of problems with that. My main target was Blackburn‘s Phil Jones but his club wanted no less than 30 million for him so I had to say no. Then I tried to bring in a high-profile defender like Galeano, Musacchio or Kjaer but they were not interested in a move to our small club. With all those roads closed I went for another option, Russian regen Marat Bykov from Schalke. I paid 10 million for him and I guess he’s worth it although I wish he was a bit quicker. He will compete for a place in the first eleven with Javier Godoy, Louis Laing and Mervin Simon.
My central midfield suffered a major reshuffling, only two of my former CMs remained at the club: Radek Vecera and Graham Howson. The two lads will have some fierce competition this time though as I brought in three top notch midfielders. First there is Indio, a 19-year old Brazilian that I had chased unsuccessfully last season. This time I got him, I paid 12.25 million to Anderlecht for him but he seems to be worth every penny.
Next up, 22-year old Argentinian Marcos Fernandez who joined us for 7.5 mil from Boca Juniors. This lad is tall, strong, hard working and creative as well, a natural born leader that could really make a big difference in the middle of the park.
Last but not least, our most expensive transfer of the summer: Robert Ackermann from Palermo. I paid no less than 15 million for him, maybe slightly too much, but I really wanted this lad because he is quick, hard working and also a gifted player when it comes to picking a pass.
The flanks were reinforced with two free signings. First there is 21-year old Frenchman Walid Mechergui, his contract with Real Madrid was expiring and I made my move. He is very quick and a good dribbler too, the perfect backup for Tiago and also a good choice for the last 20 – 30 minutes of some games when we might need fast players for counter attacks.
The last new face is one that might be known to you: Scottish number 10 John Fleck. He decided to leave the Rangers as his contract expired and I decided to snap him up because he can be an universal backup in midfield and he can also provide some cover as a striker. And if he doesn’t do well I can always sell him for a nice profit in January.
Our 25-man squad looks a bit stronger than it was last season, I’m particularly excited about our revamped midfield :)
We started the friendlies on the wrong foot as we got beaten by Porto but then things went smoothly, apart from some pesky injuries.
But the most important news of the summer was that our brand new stadium was finally completed! Our facilities look more appropriate for a title-winning club now but there still is a lot of work to do.
Our season will start with the Community Shield, I’m looking forward to getting revenge on Arsenal after that FA Cup exit last season!
So, we’ll be fighting to defend our title and I had to check what the closest rivals did during the summer. Well, no good news there… Manchester City spent no less than 76 million on new players and Tottenham splashed a staggering 95 million!!! Well, I guess the bookmakers knew what they were talking about…
The most exciting transfer seems to be a hot Argentine winger named Juan Pablo Yavar, Man City spent no less than 32 mil to bring him in from Real Madrid! The good news is that I will be coaching this lad! What? No, I didn’t replace Mourinho at Man City. And no, I won’t be leaving Vauxhall…
I’ll have a great job on the side! Yes, Argentina wanted me as their new manager and I just couldn’t say no! They sacked their previous manager after crashing out of the World Cup at the end of the group stage (they got beaten by South Korea and USA!).
Before you ask, Lionel Messi is 31 years old so he might not be there for the next World Cup but I will surely enjoy having him in the team for a while. That’s how our summer went folks, what do you think? Thanks a lot for reading and don’t forget to vote for the Goal of the Month, less than two days left before announcing this month’s winner!
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