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Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers Story.
Season 5, Episode 60
It’s been a long season and the boys look emotionally drained. Our form tailed off completely during the last month and a half of the season. We did muster late drama in our Champions League Semi-final 2nd leg against Arsenal, but it was the FA Cup Final against the Gunners where we really showed what we were about.
My quest for more home-grown talent is still ongoing. We have a few young lads coming in already which I’m very excited about. £100m is still left over from this years transfer budget so I’m eager to find out how much of a war chest we have going into next season.
It’s Tottenham who miss out on any sort of European Football next season. Could we attempt to raid their team? Possibly. I will be keeping a close eye on any transfer movements out of Spurs.
With our continuing progress on the field, the board have decided to enlarge our stadium by a whopping 15,426 seats. A huge investment of £55.8m is needed to complete the project and it will take 13 months to complete. We’re going in the right direction but the only down-side (and it’s quite a big one), is that we will now be ground-sharing with Aston Villa at Villa Park. We won’t be stepping inside our own stadium for an entire season. It’s a completely different change of pace and I hope the boys and the supporters can rally together and make it a temporary fortress.
Sandro Goncalves has rightly earned his spot in our ‘best eleven’. It won’t be long before Emil Aduero gets into the first XI also. Willy Boly maintains his position at CB and it just goes to show how much of a great player he was during his time with us.
Jerome Onguene will surely feature next season should he have a solid 24/25 season with us. I’m excited for the future.
It was a close race for the Fans’ Player of the Season but Tonali just edged it in front of Goncalves. Tonali has been a mainstay in our midfield and his new contract is fully deserved. Vinagre continues to shine but his injury proneness is worrying – which was the reason I bought Cristian from Arsenal. However, in hindsight, that may have been a mistake. I’m not sure he’s good enough.
I’m very happy with my first eleven apart from Cutrone. We need a proper strike partner for Goncalves.
My meeting with the board regarding the club’s vision went smoothly as usual. No changes were needed to be made and I’m happy with what they expect from me.
Despite challenging for the title until the end, the board aren’t requiring me to win the league until 2026/27 season. Our goal for next season is continue our run of getting into the Champions League. It’s a good thing that the board aren’t putting too much pressure on me or the players to deliver. We are still a new ‘big club’ and these things take time. The Premier League is incredibly competitive and the 5 year plan should always reflect that.
Each year I go over the squad with my staff to try and plug any holes we may have and also look to see if there’s any deadwood we can get rid of.
Each of these tables are sorted by ‘most appearances’ from the season just finished.
I’m delighted with Emil Aduero’s performances this season. Winner of the golden glove for a 2nd year running, he’s a star player. 29 clean sheets in 54 appearances. He’s yet to increase his caps for Italy from a lonely 1, but he has the ability to do so. He’s always been in the squad since his debut for his country, but Donnarumma is always the most trusted out of all of them.
Keith Dudley is my current backup, although he’s not the most gifted. Should another young keeper come available, I may move for him. But as things stand, I’m happy with my goalkeeper choices.
Our back-three have been outstanding this season, and they will continue together next season. Jose Lima and Vinagre out on the wings are both fantastic and it’s just about bringing in depth should I delve into the transfer market.
Augustinsson is 30 with one year left on his deal. I doubt a new contract will be made available. Cristian was a panic-buy for all the injuries Vinagre gets and too much money (£45m) was spent on the young 20-year-old. I hope Cristian can have a better season with us next year.
Jack Scott is still a talent and showing signs of improvement. I doubt he will ever oust Jose Lima from his position, but he’s a good rotation option and I’m sure will fulfil Mbabu’s roll in the squad once he gets too old.
Tonali and Neves are the engine of this team. They make us tick. Without either of them and we tend to crumble a little. Worrying? Yes. But I’m glad to have them nonetheless.
Phil Foden had a tough-ish start to life at Wolves. He moved from Manchester City with high expectations and it took a while for him to settle in. Next year I expect him to kick on with Mason Mount providing a nice rotation option.
Jeronimo Fiezzi will be carted out the door in the summer should a bid come in for him. He hasn’t shown the level of desire needed to be here. While he has the potential, it’s his attitude that let’s him down. Currently, Atletico Madrid are interested so we’ll see if they come in with a bid. We bought him for £11.5m so a hefty profit could be made.
The biggest thorn in my side is my forwards. Goncalves is world-class while the others aren’t putting a shift in. I’ve tried so hard to get Jota and Cutrone firing but I think their time is up. Ideally I’d like to sell both Jota and Cutrone and buy a world-class striker to partner Goncalves.
Pellegri is young and has only been with us a year. I expect more, but he has time on his side. Gnonto who was bought for £6m before sending him on loan to Empoli for a year will come back and play a role in the club should Jota and/or Cutrone leave. He’s a good striker and is just 21 years old.
The only issue is Jota is considered a Team Leader. A much liked character around the camp, so I will have to be careful about any sort of sale.
As I’ve just mentioned, a top striker is of upmost importance for our squad next season. Goncalves did far too much of the heavy lifting up front, netting 36 goals in all competitions while his team-mates (Jota, Cutrone and Pellegri) could only muster 28 goals between all three of them.
A lot is riding on being able to shift one or two of them to make room for a new body to sit alongside Goncalves.
Preferably I would like to move Cutrone on. He’s less of an important figure in the squad and his sale would probably deemed suitable amongst his team-mates.
Gil Reis has recently been brought to my attention following a discussion with my scouts. Although he only posseses an attribute stat of 12 for finishing, he makes up for it with a plethora of other attributes that make him look very dangerous. He’s also something of a set-piece specialist which could prove very handy.
He’s left-footed which would suit our formation well as he would be playing alongside a right-footed Goncalves. The only issue is he’s a natural advanced forward and may be too similar to Goncalves to make the partnership work.
While taking a closer look at Gil Reis, I noticed his club partner, Joaquim Neves. He’s of the same age and nationality of Reis but they play football much totally different. While he’s not the pacy’ist player you’ll ever see, his ability to link-up play looks fantastic. Could he be the key to unlocking more opportunities for our forward line? His passing and vision is exceptional and the more I gloss over old footage of the lad, the more excited I become.
The problem I have is Porto do not want to sell (which is of course understood) so it’s too soon to say whether we can strike a deal.
It’s going to be a fun summer with the Euros taking place, as well as looking for new bodies to join our ranks.
Next season I will be experimenting with a new format for the save. Instead of reporting on a match-by-match basis, I will be reporting on a few months in a single post to speed the game along. I will still intend to try to share with you as much as I can and try to explain my decisions as I go ahead. With this format you will be able to see progress of the club and it’s players much quicker without (hopefully) jeopardizing the fun of the blog.
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.