Wandering to Titles – Productive Start (Pre-Season) Episode 2

Missed the squad report in our first episode? Head over to “The Dawn of a New Story – Squad Report” to catch up

Season 1, Episode 2

So I headed into the Pre-Season and summer transfer window with a general idea of what I wanted. A left-back was a must for me. Although Jonny is a great player, I just prefer my left-backs to be left footed.

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Initial Tactics

So this is how I intended to shape up like based on my analysis of the current sqaud. We have a fine first XI with Jonny being the only stand out that could be replaced as I mentioned before.

Moutinho and Neves are a core part of my team and I will be resting a lot of weight on their shoulders to help carry us this season.

Team instruction wise, I wanted to focus on what we were doing with the ball, not what the opposition were doing. With a 5-3-2 formation, I hope to control possession of the ball while allowing my wing-backs to bomb forward to provide an attacking avenue with our two main strikers.

While chosing my best XI, I realised Wolves had very very little depth in the squad, and not much room to maneuver in the Under 23s or the Under 18s. This has become quite a worry for me, especially with the amount of games we will be playing this year due to the Europa League. Morgan Gibbs-White is an exciting young English talent who is currently operating at a Championship level, but may have to do more than his fair share in the Premier League because of our depth.

Transfer Dealings

Like I mentioned, my first port of call was to look for a Left Back. We didn’t spend a huge amount (£9.75m to be precise), but I feel we’ve got a fantastic player on our hands.

Welcome current Swedish International, Ludwig Augustinsson, from Werder Bremen.

Ludwig looks like a fantastic player, boasting great Crossing abilities (16) and solid mentals that should make him a main stay within the team. At £48k p/w, I couldn’t be happier with the purchase.

Next up, we sold a couple players. Ghanian right back Phil Ofosu-Ayeh went off to RC Lens for £1.8m. He had some great physical attributes, but at 27 years of age he just didn’t have the technical ability to play in the Premier League. Good luck to him.

Adama Traore was next out the door. In similar fashion, Traore had incredible physical ability, but his technical and mental abilities were basically none exsistant (without counting his 16 dribbling). With the added fact that we were not playing wingers this season and although he could play RWB, he had a measly offering of only 4 tackling. As soon as Crystal Palace came in with an offer of £15m, he was out the door.

That transfer also saw us break the sale record, which was previously held by Steven Fletcher who went for £12m.

I wasn’t sure where to go next in the transfer market. I had a few players in mind, but a scout recommended we take a look at Champions League Semi-Finalist, Donny Van de Beek. At 22 and in the current Dutch national team, I really wasn’t sure he would have been interested in ‘yet to qualify’ Europa League, Wolves.

I took a punt, with that punt being a £25m fee and hoped for the best.

To my surprise, Donny was on board. He seemed excited to play for us, but not before signing a big deal that took a huge portion of our wage budget (£95k p/w to be exact). But I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to have a midfield trio that consisted of Neves, Moutinho and van de Beek. Incredible. I was giddy with excitment.

It should be said that van de Beek insisted on a buyout clause. But I was more than happy to oblige as we settled on a fee of £75m. Not bad at all.

With van de Beek through the door, I was still concerned with our lack of depth in midfield. We had an unbelievable trio, but if any got injured, we didn’t have much to fall back on. Dendoncker is not a bad player, and he is going to be extremely useful this campaign as he can also play as a capable CB.

I scouted around for a few weeks until a little Spaniard from Barcelona caught my eye. With 17 La Liga appearances under his belt last years for Barcelona I was surprised I was able to nab him on a season long loan, but we got our man. Welcome, Carles Alena.

A fantastic little prospect who boasts great flair (18), passing (16) and first touch (17) – ideal for any advanced playmaker. It’s just a shame his buyout clause is so much (£67m).

And with that (and a couple other young players that headed out on loan), we are done with our summer transfer window. van de Beek took a massive dent into our wage budget, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get him in. I’m eager to get the season started – but not before we have a quick look at our pre-seaon friendlies (and a couple European Qualifiers).

No Need To Get Carried Away

As any experienced Football Manager knows, you should never get carried away with pre-season fixture results. But it doesn’t mean I can’t be happy right?

With Jimenez on holiday for the majority of our fixtures, it gave the likes of new boy Cutrone to get his feet wet. While he only managed 1 goal (in the 7-0 qualifier drubbing), his link up play was a joy to see. Augustinsson also saw a debut goal while we hosted the mighty Buducnost Podgorica from Montenegro. Okay fine, they aren’t the best side in the world, but I’m happy the game managed to lift everyone’s morale and allow the players to become acquainted with each other.

What Does August Have In Store?

We have 5 matches in August (possibly more) with the 4th Qualifiying round yet to be drawn. This Europa League business is insanity.

A semi-rotated side will be played against Yeni Malatyaspor I’m sure as we open the Premier League campaign against none other tham Manchester United at Old Trafford. Not a game I wish to start off the campaign with, but beggers can’t be choosers.

Until next time. Remember to follow me on Twitter: @ExtraTimeFM