Since the last update I did, everything has changed now. We brought in a large amount of new players and are playing some really good football. Using Sheffield United has it’s plus points, especially the chairman, who is a rich sugar daddy who provides cash to the club. On promotion to the Premiership he gave me £44 million to spend and then invested another £24 million for the January transfer window. This is also helped by the TV deals and prize money on offer, just for being involved in the Premiership from 2017 onwards. I guess a good place to start is with the ins and outs.
It’s a large turnover of players and all the players signed, none of them with the exceptions or Romero and Kelechi are idea or long-term. Now I have to be realistic about the players I sign and I am fully aware that most signings at this stage are not long-term but the fact is, I need to strengthen the squad and stay competitive. All of this, while trying to build and create a specific style and brand of football. This means that in the short-term some sacrifices might have to be made until;
- A – I have the finances to be able to bring in the players who fulfill the specific criteria I set out in the long-term article.
- B – I have to identify long-term targets who could possibly someday fill the roles I need and have the required attribute set.
Realistically this takes time, even if I have endless amounts of money (which I actually don’t because the chairman has just decided he won’t be pumping money into the club as often due to our success #ouch) some of the roles I need to fill, the players I need, either don’t exist yet or I’ve not found them. I have scouts searching and I’ve been doing manual searches myself. But only a handful of players meet the criteria so far. This is why I always had the intention of it being long-term and aiming for younger players, so one day in the near future, I could potentially have a squad like I outlined at the very start of this project. If I signed older players then the chances are they’d be too old or on the decline when the squad was complete. However I’m trying to build something that allows me to have this squad while most are still peaking or in their prime. I’m not sure why, but I feel I need to mention this constantly because with a small minority of people, they seem to be missing this point and it’s a major point to be missing.
So back to the transfers, here is a little about why I signed the players I did and what I expect from them.
Todd Kane – He has the wrong kind of PPM’s needed for a start but he was a massive improvement on who I already had, John Brayford. Not ideal but a cheap improvement that adds depth.
Danny Wright – A newgen that my scouts identified. He’s a striker that I signed on a whim just for possible extra numbers in the future or to sell on for a profit. Either way he doesn’t fit any of the criteria for the roles I highlighted at the start of the project and he can’t really be developed how I like.
Marco Van Ginkel – I’ve bought him in the hope I can sell him for a profit next season. Although he is a physical type of player he lacks both creativity and tackling to fulfill the Vieira role. He is easily the best player at the club currently though, it’s just he doesn’t fit what I want. None the less, he was an invaluable player.
Jordan Darlington – He’s a left footed creative regen at 16 years of age. I don’t think I’ll be using him at all due to his footedness. However I bought him with the option of selling him on at a later date. But for now he’ll bolster my youth side who lack numbers.
Florian Thauvin – I did originally buy him to play in the Pires role but after buying, I decided against doing this. I instead used him for the Ljungberg role on the right of midfield. However I’m not sure how long I will keep him if I don’t play him on the left side, because he has the runs with ball often PPM and that’s something Ljungberg never did.
Matias Suarez – An ageing free agent and due to selling both the strikers I used in The Championship, was brought in just for extra bodies and wasn’t someone I was looking to use unless I had to.
Chad Lonsdale – Another youth to bolster the youth squad, nothing less or nothing more. He was bought by my Head of Youth Development.
Charalabos Stavrianos – My scouts told me about him on the back-end of last season. And after winning the Championship with games left to spare, the board gave me the Premiership budget for the next season (this current season) so I splashed the cash. At the time of buying him he had no PPM’s yet when he arrived he had the plays with back to goal PPM. I was gutted and spent the entire season trying to get him to unlearn it, which has been unsuccessful. Which is a shame as he could have filled the Kanu type of role. He still might yet, but I’ve not thought much about the backup players yet and if I’m going to use those that resemble the Invincibles or stick with just the main eleven.
That’s him. I had planned on him just being a rotational player with no resemblance of Bergkamp or Henry. Long-term though no real clue whether to keep him or move him on. Maybe he would be ideal for the Kanu type of role? It’s something I need to work out.
Maximiliano Romero – Now this player is very much long-term. He is the one I am moulding into the Bergkamp role. I do have an issue though but before we get onto that, I’ll post a screenshot of him.
This will sound crazy as it’s a great issue to have but he scored too many goals. It was more Bergkamp in 1997-98 season when he scored 22 goals in 40 appearances. He also grabbed 11 assists in the league that season. Based on those numbers and those alone, he would have nailed it. Sadly the season he had with the Invincibles he only scored 5 goals in 29 games and only got 7 assists in 28 league games. So based on that we are way out. It’s a good issue to have though but I might need to tone this down. I’ll not ramble on too much though as there is a full article dedicated to Romero vs Bergkamp.
Predrag Rajkovic – This keeper was also on my long-term radar but that might have changed now I’ve signed him. The reason being is he wanted £71k a week which I can afford but he also wanted match highest earner clause which I agreed to. Hopefully I can remove that at a later stage but for now, he is an awesome keeper and provides me with all the attributes I need.
He’s got all the required attributes. My only issue is the match highest earner clause I mentioned before. But in the short-term it was worth that because of his attributes and the fact he is the highest earner. As I progress though and bring more quality players in, I’m not sure if he’ll justify the wages those players will have. We will have to see.
Karol Linetty – I needed a defensive minded central midfielder and Karol fit that description. He has good attributes, is still 23-years-old and he was cheap. I don’t see him being at the club for more than two seasons though.
Marcel Halstenberg – Just a short-term measure and a direct replacement for Bob Harris who wasn’t Championship standard let alone Premiership standard.
Jakob Abrahamsen – He was purchased by my Head of Youth Development and looks like he could have a bit of potential. I’m unsure if he matches the Arsenal fit at this time because he is still very young and raw. If he was to fit any type of role it would be the Gilberto role I’d presume as he lacks creativity for any of the others. I’m not even 100% he could do the Gilberto role though as I believe he is too small and can’t head the ball. So long-term he is a big no.
Andreas Pereira – He seemed like an ideal fit for the Pires role. He is right footed, very creative and was cheap. It was a no brainer for me.
He had no positional rating on the left when I for him but he’s currently been training it all season and as you can see on the position widget, he now does have a rating for it. I’ve also taught him he gets forward when possible PPM and I am in the middle of teaching him the tries killer balls often one. These will add to his game and enhance the style I want. Andreas is very much a long-term project.
Henrik Gulden – This player was bought to bulk up the squad and offer me numbers so I could rotate or cope with injuries and suspensions. I was very light down the left side. He hasn’t played much but I don’t see him being here at the club for more than two seasons.
Sebastian Dilling – Another young prospect picked up my Head of Youth Development. If he was a bit taller I’d have moulded him for the Gilberto role because he has great mental attributes for 17 years of age. He’s dubbed the new Christian Poulsen. It’s just a shame he doesn’t have much development in regards to his height, jumping and heading attributes. This is a long-term deal breaker. On the plus though, if I develop him I’m sure I can sell him for decent money in a few seasons time.
Kelechi Iheanacho – For those of you who follow me on Twitter you will have seen me raving about this guy for the past few weeks. I’ve had him on loan at the club for the best part of two and a half years. This has allowed me to begin to shape him how I want and teach him the PPM’s needed. So before buying him I had already had a head start.
He was one of the long-term targets that I always had in mind. So the price paid for him reflected this as does his wage. It might seem a bit steep for a few of you but it’s all about the context and the demand for the player. I needed him even if he isn’t the best player in the world because midterm to long-term he is a solution for the Henry role until I can find someone different who fulfills the role better and has the correct footedness needed. But for now, he is definitely the player I needed and wanted the most.
That’s it on the transfer front and as you can see, some things are starting to take shape now, in terms of the players brought in who can enhance our style and offer us certain things. We are one step closer to playing the Invincible way but it’s still some time away.
I’ve had a fantastic first season in the Premiership and really overachieved.
We held our own all until the final months then we let a 7 point lead at the top slip away as my side collapsed. Which is expected really as we are a newly promoted side who isn’t quite complete yet in terms of the players needed. I still have a fair few of the original squad left and they played a big part here. Most people would be over the moon with finishing second and scoring the amounts of goals I did. But I’m not……………
I don’t want to get into the tactical stuff just yet as that will come in the next article. But the results side of the game are almost secondary to me now. I need to perfect the style I’m creating and even though I am over achieving, I can’t really be happy or count it because it doesn’t fully reflect the style we are going for. The manner in which we win and play far outweighs the results for me. Many people would probably stop at this point and say job done and I could easily do that now. However I would be lying to you all because the overall style still isn’t finished and is still some time away from me achieving it. We have made progress though in the last three years and it’s a lot closer than it was and we are showing more and more signs that we are on the right track for the end goal.
I’m highly critical of myself when trying to replicate real life formations and I think that’s easy to do. The Invincible side is well documented on the t’internet so you have lots of stats to cross reference, videos to watch etc. You can compare every aspect of real life and how they played and match it to how it compares in-game terms. Some probably think this is overkill and it probably is but I enjoy it and that’s all that matters right?!