Wandering to Titles – Buying World-Class (Pre-Season) Episode 38

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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.

Season 4, Episode 38

Welcome back to Wandering to Titles as we approach my 4th season with Wolves.

Last season we secured a new point tally high with a total of 79 which landed us 4th spot. Champions League is back on the agenda.

We also lifted the Europa League trophy again with a victory over Spurs.

Another long and arduous summer is upon us, where I’m very keen to keep hold of our key players and try to strengthen as we go.

Our centre back position is a key area where I want to strengthen, so I will be on the lookout for players that could take us to the next step. World-class is what I’m looking for. Is there any value in the market?

I will continue to pursue young English talent (as always), but that will always be hard to come by with every team in the top flight doing the exact same.

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We have an £89m budget and I’m keen to start as we mean to go on. It’s always important to do business early, so we can get the best players and have them quickly integrated into the squad, so they are raring to go on the first match day.

BOUGHT: Presnel Kimpembe (CB) £36m – PSG

We’ve started strongly! A want-away Kimpembe was transfer listed for only £36m. An absolute steal in today’s market and I had to act quickly as there was interest from other teams.

I feel as though we’ve got a real gem of a player on our hands here and I hope Kimpembe can lead us to more glory.

Prior to Kimpembe’s deal, I had a £60m deal lined up for Jose Gimenez.

A fantastic player from Athletico, but I ultimately pulled the plug on the deal when it was confirmed that Kimpembe would be joining us.

SOLD: Meritan Shabani (AMC) £4m – Cardiff

Shabani has been with me since I joined Wolves, but he hasn’t had a look in. He’s a good player, but we have better options available.

It’s a good deal for Cardiff in all honesty, but it’s hard to sell players for a good amount who barely feature. I wish him all the best.

BOUGHT : Jerome Onguene (CB) £41.5m – PSG

Not too long after the Kimpembe deal, we raided PSG again for another one of their centre-backs.

Last summer we were in for Onguene when he was at Red Bull Salzburg, but he opted for PSG.

I wondered if he would regret his decision, and he seems like he might of. While we eventually got our man on a much heftier deal, I still glad we got it over the line. £41.5m is a lot of money, but he’s the good side of 25 and his partnership with Kimpembe could prove vital. Welcome Jerome!

BID FOR: Jude Bellingham (CM) £16m – Birmingham

We were in for young English talent, Jude Bellingham, and I thought I got our man until contract talks started.

The 18-year old who already has 99 league appearances under his belt seemed ready for his move as a bid of £16m from us was accepted.

Contract talks started, and they were swiftly declined as he wanted to be considered a “star player”. The audacity from his agent was on another level. He’s a good prospect, but to be considered equal with the likes of Neves and Haaland is beyond a joke.

He later moved to newly promoted West Brom for £19m and is considered an “important player”. Only time will tell if this move is for the best or not, but his agent is not someone I want to be dealing with again if I can help it.

SOLD: Pablo Maffeo (RWB) £17m – Schalke

Maffeo became a thorn in my side the moment Mbabu walked through the door. He didn’t have the desire to fight for his place and complained at every opportunity.

I found a buyer in Schalke who were happy to pay £17m for the young Spanish right-back – £1m more than we spent on him ourselves. Good luck to the lad. Hopefully he gets the game time he demands.

BOUGHT: Kalvin Phillips (CM) £27m – Leeds

We had a few deadline day deals happen – one of those being Kalvin Phillips from relegated Leeds.

£27m was enough to secure this transfer, and I glad to add another Englishman to the team. Hopefully his performances here will get himself back in the England squad.

SOLD: Andre Horta (AMC) £35m – Dynamo Kyiv

With the acquisition of Phillips, I had to make space within our midfield. Horta was subject of a huge £35m bid and I snatched off their hand to get this deal through the door.

Although I like Horta as a player, he was a bit-part member of the squad and for £35m, he had to go. We bought the lad for £15m two years ago so it’s great to see such a tidy profit made on a squad player.

The £35m for Horta surpasses our previous record sale which was £30m for Jimenez.

Sean Longstaff was also subject of an £18m bid from Derby, but he rejected their contract offer. I can’t see Sean playing much this season, especially with the likes of Phillips added.

Transfer Window Roundup

It’s been a very busy summer window, compounded by the fact we have Champions League football this year and it’s a must that we strengthen in our weaker areas.

£105m was out laid while we received £89m back. Not a bad return while we brought in two exceptional centre backs to help sure up our defence.

We received fairly good money for some dead wood, while squad players Mustafi and Horta left due to whom we brought in.

Elsewhere, there were some big names flying about.

Paul PogbaMan UtdPSG£103m
Calvin StengsInterMan Utd£91m
Joao FelixAthletico MadridLiverpool£89m
Julian BrandtDortmundChelsea£83m

Paul Pogba left for an incredible £103m to PSG at the age of 29. Man Utd are without Champions league football this year and no doubt that played a part in the transfer.

Liverpool are going from strengthen to strengthen with the acquisition of Joao Felix. They now have him and Kai Havertz on their books. They are one heck of a frightening team.

No bids came in for our star players which really surprised me. We do have most of them on long contracts and I’m sure the players are really up for helping us do well in the Champions League this year.

New Contract

With interest swimming around our star man Diogo Jota who had an £89m release clause, I thought it was high time we removed that with a bumper new deal for the man.

I’m so glad to tie Jota down for another 5 years, but we must be careful with our wages. This is the 3rd contract above £130k p/w this summer, and we have to make sure we’re not overpaying our means. This has to be sustainable – and to do that, we must continue pushing forward as a club.

Job Interview

It’s nice to see that my work at Wolves is being appreciated as Bayern Munich approached me for an interview after Niko Kovac was sacked due to a poor performance last season (4th in the Bundesliga).

The offer was swiftly declined to the delight of the Wolves board. I am committed to Wolves and I intend to take them as far as I can.

Not long after, Zinedine Zidane was given the job.

Moving Forward

We’ve had a productive summer, not just in the transfer window, but with our matches too.

A fairly routine pre-season but with a great result against Real Madrid.

I cannot wait to get the season started. We’ve bought and sold well and I hope the new boys respond with solid performances.

Diogo Jota is considered part of the “Media Dream Eleven”, and I’m expecting big things from him this season.

We are predicted to finish 5th, but of course we expect to be higher than that. We need to start properly challenging for the title soon. Is this season too soon to say? Possibly. But we will assess the situation as we progress through the year.

We have a busy schedule ahead of us, and our first chance of silverware as we take on Athletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

As always, thank you for reading. Please share with your friends, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates; @ExtraTimeFM. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.