Last year was an incredible year, not just for me but for the fans, the club and Portuguese Football as well. We know that repeating the unbeaten season will be almost impossible, but with the right investment we’ll at the very least be able to retain our title. Russia has recently moved above Portugal in the co-efficients table meaning only the top placed side now qualify for the group stage automatically, and that’s where we need to be, so investment in the squad is needed to ward off the other sides.
Although I’ve already played a couple of league matches in the season, I’m going to try and highlight all of the transfers made so far without spoiling how things have began for us.
First of all, who has left the club?
Some mega money deals completed here but a staggering €112m has been made from the sales of six first-team players.
First of all, Jonathan Calleri; the Argentine joined us from Brazilian side Sao Paulo last season for a fee of €9m and was relatively impressive throughout the campaign scoring 21 goals and setting up 13. However, when Bayern came sniffing around I managed to negotiate their interest to a €50m bid, a massive amount of money for a player we signed only 12 months ago. €41m profit in a year, how’s that for business?
Next up is the transfers of Talisca and Andreas Samaris to Italian side Napoli for a combined €40m. Talisca had an impressive season and was a consistent started throughout the league campaign, but a bid of €30m seemed well in excess of his value and so I took the decision to move him on, while Samaris left at the same time in search of first-team Football.
Bryan Cristante returns to Milan for a fee of €10m. The Italian has lately been feeling homesick and so he has been allowed to return to Italy for what I deemed to be a suitable fee, just over €3m more than what Benfica originally paid for his services.
Next up, both Jardel and Hugo Basto complete moves to the Barclays Premier League. Despite starting well for the club, Basto had found himself on the fringe and spent the last part of last season out on loan and a small profit on what we originally paid for him was enough to prize him away. Jardel on the other hand, an excellent player and a true leader, but he’s almost 32 years old now and with his contract expiring at the end of the season I chose to cash in on him while I had the chance, so he moves to 2015/16 BPL winners Leicester City for €7.5m.
This left us with a transfer budget just shy of €200m which is…WOW. But how much of this did we invest in the squad, and on who?
First up, Mexican midfielder Orbelin Pineda joins us from Mexican side Chivas for a fee of €9.5m. Orbelin is somebody I’ve had my eye on since the start of the save and with his price-tag dropping from 18m down to 9m I decided to make my move. He joins us with a small injury to his hamstring, but ultimately he’ll serve as a replacement for Cristante, he’s incredibly balanced in his attributes. If you listen to the Deep-Lying Podcast, you’d recognise the name! (Give it a listen)
The Director of Football has been a busy man this Summer and his first deal was to bring in Serbian forward Miroslav Arsic from Red Star Belgrade for a fee of €250k. We have plenty of Serbians already at the club with Saponjic, Jovic and Zivkovic to nam a few and I have no doubts that if nurtured well, Miroslav can meet the grade to be a top player for us. A relatively low risk move in the grand scheme of things.
Next up, Roberto Rosales joins from Spanish side Malaga for a fee of €6.5m. I know what you’re thinking. “What about Nelson Semedo?” and don’t worry, he’s still a Benfica player but you see…He’s injured for 9 months with a ligament injury…Something you’d have seen if you follow my Twitter account! (WerrettFM). Rosales had a great season in Spain last year and the Venezuelan has some brilliant attributes for that wide-attacking option meaning he should be able to slot right in behind Salvio, while competing alongside Andre Almeida.
It wouldn’t be a Werrett save without another big loan signing. Former fan favourite Andre Gomes joins on a 6 month deal having been left on the sidelines in Barcelona. His home-grown status and ability on and off the field make him a valuable asset to our squad with a €25.5m future fee included, just in case I decide I want him back in Lisbon for good.
Remember I mentioned the Director of Football? He’s only bloody gone and done it again. The initial bid of €2.6m was enough to prize away Romanian youngster Ianis Hagi from Fiorentina with a possibility of being a €6.5m deal. Son of Romanian’s best ever player this lad has some expectations to live up to but he looks like a good little player, and someone we’ll certainly keep an eye on.
The final transfer of the Summer window is a player I agreed to sign back in April last season. Julio Palomeque joins from Colombian side Medellin for €1m and you have to say, he’s incredible! Originally the plan was to send him out on loan but having seen his quality, he’s staying put. Definitely my player to watch this season and someone that could prove to be the bargain of the century.
I mentioned we had almost €200m and we’ve only spent €21.5m…What’s up with that? We haven’t even broken our record fee of Guerreiro for €11.5m!…Wenger, is that you? In all seriousness, this season is one in which I want to promote a lot of the youth from inside the club. Andrija Zivkovic, Luka Jovic, Joao Filipe, Pedro Rodrigues, Nuno Gomes, Ze Gomes and Andre Horta are some of the names of the talent who will be featuring in the starting XI this season. They’v spent the last few years developing inside, and outside of the club and I firmly believe that it’s time that they get their chance to prove themselves in the famous red shirt. It’s going to be an exciting year.
Since my arrival we’ve raised just over €100m profit from player sales in just over two seasons. The team itself is still incredibly strong and I feel that we’re still in a good position to compete. The club value has now surpassed €1b and the finances of the club look incredibly healthy with a balance of €150m available. Facilities are currently being upgraded and we’re looking to use the money sensibly to sustain the club in the years to come.
So…You’ve seen the arrivals, but how did pre-season actually go?
Yeah…We pretty much battered everyone we played bar the challenge faced away in Germany at the hands of Schalke 04. While we didn’t play any outstanding teams, I did rotate the squad a lot with many of the promoted youngsters starting over the mainstream players. An excellent pre-season and a lot of confidence ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
My young squad also managed to see off newly promoted, and Taca de Portugal finalists Portimonense 2-0 in the Supertaca as we lift our first of hopefully many pieces of silverware this season, an excellent way to round off the pre-season ahead of the competitive fixtures. Delighted.
A lot of you will be wondering why I’ve got a new blog page, or why things may seem a bit different to what they were before. To best explain this to you I’m going to create a TwitLonger post over on my Twitter to explain everything, hopefully you will all understand. Any RT’s, re-blogs and feedback is appreciated as always.