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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.
Season 3, Episode 37
Season 3 is finally wrapped up after an enthralling end which saw us pip Man Utd to 4th in the Premier League and lift the Europa League for the 2nd time in three seasons.
It was our form from March onwards that gave us a fighting chance to take 4th spot. I didn’t want to end up 5th for a 3rd time in a row in the league so 4th was quite a big priority for me personally.
This sequence of results saw us break our “Most Matches Won in a Row” record with 15, and we almost broke our “Most Matches Without Losing” record which stands at 22 – but as we saw, we lost to Liverpool on the final game week of the Premier League.
There were only a couple of changes from last years ‘best eleven’. Jota came in for Jimenez while Tonali replaced Moutinho.
Pablo Maffeo still appears in our ‘best eleven’ despite sitting on only 39 appearances. I think this highlights quite well just how poorly we’ve been on the right side of defence in regard to consistency.
Mbabu has done well enough for his first season but I expect him to kick on in year two with us, while Jose Lima has been nothing short of a revelation, and he will be fighting tooth and nail to be our number one choice right wing-back next season.
Ruben Neves was once again our Fans’ Player of the Season with a whopping 65% of the vote. He made us tick, dictating the tempo of our play and delivering 15 assists in total.
Erling Haaland picked up Signing of the Season as he easily took over the job from Jimenez and dispatched 27 goals in all competitions. A superb athlete and a great guy to boot.
I was very happy to see Ruben Vinagre win the Young Player of the Season award. He has been fantastic at times this season. Incredibly attack minded, which is evident by his 8 goals and 10 assists from left wing-back. A star in the making at just 23 years old.
Once again the board and I held a meeting at the end of the season to discuss the plans moving forward.
There wasn’t too much to discuss as I am generally happy with what they presented. I did again try to drop the “Sign Portuguese Players” desire but they are not willing to budge.
Their requirement of having the best youth system in the country is in the works already as we are currently improving the youth facilities. With Brexit playing a big role in the league requirements, it’s imperative we produce our own youth.
The biggest goal of the plan is to challenge for the league title in the 2024/25 season. A huge task, but something we must strive for if we are to grow as a club.
We’ve had an exceptional season so let’s take a look at the players who made it possible.
Each of these tables are sorted by most appearances.
We quickly moved for Emil Audero in January as finding a top-level number 1 keeper can be very tricky. With Patricio’s contract expiring in the summer, being 34 years old and on £100k p/w, I thought it was the correct time to get a new number 1.
Audero has been fantastic since coming in, especially with his 17 rated ability of “Command of Area”. At just 25, I see a bright future for him at this club. John Ruddy is well past his prime and has 1 year left on his contract. I may be on the lookout for another back-up in the summer.
Defenders is the weakest area of our squad. The centre back positions will be a huge focus for the summer as I will be looking for an exceptional talent to help partner Mepham and Boly.
We have a couple young lads (Djalo and Bella-Kotchap), but I don’t think they’re ready to play week in week our for me, especially in the Champions League. We need a ready-made winner.
Maffeo’s transfer is already sealed, and he will be heading to Schalke for £17m on the 1st of July.
I’m very happy with the talent of midfielders we have right now. Neves and Fernandes are world-class while Tonali and van de Beek provide exceptional partners for them.
A good amount of assists are shared throughout the midfield. My biggest concern is keeping hold of the likes of Neves and Fernandes. We need them if we are to do anything remotely positive in the Champions League next season.
My forwards have been sensational this season. They all have a great bond with each other. A total of 79 goals between the four and I will be very lucky to keep hold of all of them.
Jota is currently wanted by no less than 8 teams, with the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Dortmund and Inter Milan sniffing around. He currently has a £89m release clause in his contract, and I can see any of them triggering that.
We do however have an exceptional talent coming through the ranks in the form of Portuguese under-21 star, Sandro Goncalves.
I bought Goncalves in the 20/21 season for £1.5m and this season he has been on loan at Italian side Lecce where he scored 10 goals in 18 appearances for a side that got relegated.
He looks like the real deal and has the potential to replace any of our forwards if they leave this summer.
Success on the pitch leads to success off it as our commercial side continues to improve.
The only dip was our competition prize money, but that is just a result of not playing in the Champions League.
Haaland is the biggest surprise in regards to shirt sales, with Neves no where to be seen. Perhaps they already have Neves’ name from previous years.
It’s of course very early in the summer window so any targets mentioned here are just quick thoughts and looks into the market.
Gimenez is an exceptional talent with 81 caps for Uruguay.
Is it possible to take him off Athletico Madrid’s hands? Maybe. It’s too soon to say, but he is the type of player I want this window. At 27 years old, he’s in his prime and he could take us to new levels.
While my scout may not think much of Kenneh, I believe he’s a great prospect. He can play in multiple positions, and he’s English. We need more English talent in our squad.
Leeds have just been relegated from the Premier League which triggers a £42m clause in his contract. That is far too much, but could we get him for less?
I always have to be on the lookout for Portuguese talent at the request of the board, so Florentino Luis has captured my eye. Regarded as a model citizen, Luis has fantastic defensive capabilities but I’m unsure how much he would cost at this present time.
A great season all round, and now we have another season ahead of us with Champions League football – the pinnacle of club football.
My biggest task this summer is keeping hold of our star players. Last summer we received huge bids for some of our players. If any more come in, I hope they don’t kick up a fuss.
Transfer wise, my main focus will be on a world centre-back while also keeping an eye out for young English talent.
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