Welcome back to the 2nd of quick installments, this post will look at our transfer activity, our tactical approach and how we are doing domestically. I hope you enjoy. If you need to check out the first piece click here
Not an overly hectic transfer window considering it was my first window at the club, I was pretty happy with the squad after arriving in those 9 games at the end of last season. I knew that a few fresh faces would add competition and boost the squad so we can push on from what can only be described as an underperforming season last campaign. Let’s start with the players we bid farewell too. Firstly club captain, strong centre back Mitrovic on his leave to Norwich. Initially I didn’t want to part with this chap and rejected a bid, in doing so FM strung up the typical response, a heated conversation form the player demanding why I didn’t let him go. After trying to convince him to stay, here clearly didn’t want any of it, so fine then Sonny Jim off you go. Poor old Norwich weren’t the best in negotiation with money; in fact I didn’t even have to try hard at all. They came in first with a bin of €3m which I negotiated straight to what I thought he was worth, over 3 times that amount at €10m. Norwich came straight back with that figure, thank you very much, see you later Mitrovic, and don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you.
Alex Iwobi is someone that I really didn’t want to part with but everyone has a price and when West Ham came sniffing I could not resist, on the flip side I noticed last year that the club does lose a fair amount of money each month so this would come I handy trying to stabilise the books, alongside the new attendance at the new stadium.
Another departure was talented fullback Zimmer, who had been poached by Leverkusen on deadline day. This offer was intercepted by the board and accepted on their behalf, to be perfectly honest I would have liked him to stay around as he put in some great performances in those 9 games last year. However I probably would have accepted that offer anyway, so I’m not too concerned about that one.
We have been very fortunate with the guys arriving at the club with 3 of them coming in on a free transfer and 3 being those high profile players the board wanted. Let’s start with the marquee signing, released from Bayern in the summer after being transfer listed, World Cup winner Mario Gotze. A player who has lit up the Bundesliga with the two biggest clubs over the years is now at Mainz. He arrived later into the season as to start with he demanded ridiculously high wages at over €185k a week. So I played it cool and patiently waited, then swooped when he was desperate to play for someone and got him at a fraction of what he initially asked for €73k. Get in Mario, you little beauty.
Another big name signing was transfer listed by Dortmund, and at €6m young Angel Correa is a bargain, adding flair and pace to the side. Once he and Gotze start to blend together we should become a real attacking force in the league.
Young Val and Celismar were brought in as talented young players who could step in as cover this season. Although I mentioned earlier about my youth development plan, I couldn’t turn these guys away. These two should develop nicely and become first team players very shortly. Val has already made a few starts this season as I experiment with things, whereas Celismar has gone out on loan for the season ready to be fighting for a place next year.
To replace Mitrovic I pounced upon Marc-Oliver Kempf, a very talented centre back from Wolfsburg. I don’t really need to say much about him except a ball playing rock. I also piked up Zoltan Imrik a player who I am very familiar with from my time at Dusseldorf (I’m allowed to raid my old club right?). I snapped him up for them last season, but never really gave him the opportunity to shine. This time I have, putting him in contention to battle with Gotze for a spot in the side. His young skills make him a decent player and one who I hope will grow with first team football.
Our last signing was young centre midfielder Ivan Gallardo, coming in from Barcelona with a growing reputation coming up through the famous La Masia. He is a tireless midfielder with exceptional talent and the desire to grow. Barcelona’s loss is our gain. Working with Correa and Gotze, these 3 could be part of a deadly midfield force.
I have stuck with the flat 433 system that I introduced during the 9 games last season that worked pretty well. The system is influenced heavily on Klopp’s Dortmund team that was so successful during his period there. Playing a fluid, high tempo, aggressive pressing system that attacks space effectively. The reason behind the flat midfield 3 was it wasn’t so transparent to play against. In attacks it effectively blends into a 4231 with addition support from one of the midfielders and the fullbacks. When defending it can be a brick wall with the flat 3 or transition into a 4123 with the Centre Midfield (D) to drop into the hole protecting the back 4. Both wide men are set to different roles with the right side as an attacking Winger whose main purpose is the sprint to the byline and cross into our advanced forward. On the left hand side is something that Shrewnaldo mentioned in his latest post and something that attacks the space exactly how I imagined. The inside forward is direct and purely focused on cutting into the box, whereas the Advanced Playmaker drifts inside from a much deeper position, floating across the whole width of the pitch, making it very difficult for the opposition to pick up.
The left back is set as an supportive wing back so he can provide the width to the team when the AP drifts inside, whereas the right back is a supportive fullback adding as an option for the midfield or the right winger on the right hand side. The midfield trio are made up of a CM(D), a CM(A) and a box to box midfielder. The balance here seems to be working well with attacks and defence, I am inclined to change to box to box with a roaming playmaker but I am undecided on this. I don’t want it to disrupt the balance we have right now, sometimes a tweak too many can be detrimental to a good system and a flawed one.
I have also made a mirror image tactics for those occasions where we can’t break through a side, the same system but on opposite sides of the pitch can change the way our opponents are set up against us.
The story so far
We are currently sat in 7th position picking up some very impressive wins, quite a few too many draws and only a few losses. Overall I am very happy with our progress and I’m sure that once our players really gel together we can push on for a European place and chisel out some of those draws into victories.
Thank you again for reading and the continuous support for this blog. I hope you enjoy. Please like, subscribe and share. If you think of any improvements to the blog or any feedback at all please comment or send me a DM.