If I’m totally honest, it’s my fault. I should have given him a new contract with a bigger clause. He’d played so well.. I shoulda known better....
Release Clauses, the good and the bad...
Xavi Quintilla played so well last season that I felt like I had the LB position locked down tight for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, I didn’t reward that with a bumper new contract because I was trying to week wage bill space free for new additions. In comes Real Madrid, who doesn’t even need a left back... I mean, really, they don’t need one, and they ding his 8.5m Euro clause. So here I am, stuck. Off Quintilla goes to have his career ruined by a giant club monster, and I have Alberto Moreno as the only left back on my roster. Meanwhile, all my loanees have gone back to their clubs, and Ade Lookman, the one I wanted to sign permanently has a value of 66m assigned to him from RB Leipzig. That ain’t gonna happen.
The good news about release clauses is that when cheap super clubs, like Bayern Munich, come rolling in and offer me 12m for Chukwueze and 5m for Toko Ekambi, I can laugh in their face and demand sizable fees. But we’ll be in Europe this year, I want another strong Copa run, and the Board wants us in Champions League places so I have to figure out how to make a 30m (38 with the Quintilla money) work.
What we did.
I sold Demme to Portland in MLS. I lost about 7m from what we paid the year before, but he disappeared from the matchday 18 when we switched systems so there was nothing for it, that’s my bad. I brought Caseres back into the fold and even though he’s wary, I think this will work out. Manu Morlanes is a permanent first team fixture now, and Moi Gomez is back on his loan. Most of Moi’s time will be spent in midfield. I loaned in Fede Valverde from Real Madrid but little do they know he’s not going to get much playing time at all here. For one, he’s not good enough (on this game) to start for me and for another I kind of want to rot one of their young players as payback for them taking Quintilla.
To replace Quintilla, Dalbert from Inter. Dalbert spent last season on loan at Fiorentina and cost me about 12m. He’s about as good as Quintilla was so even though he’s a little older and it’s a net loss money wise that position is at least not any worse off than it was last year. His release clause is 28m but half that money would go back to Inter (it kept my initial cost down). Basically I structured the deal so that I couldn’t possibly lose money on a player that should be about the same level he is now for the whole length of the deal (he’s 26).
I replaced Demme/Anguissa with Alex Kral in a move the board let me know they didn’t like. Kral is 22 years old valued at 10.75m, and I paid about 15m. If you’re bothered by me paying over the value of these guys, I’ve noticed in this game that it’s basically impossible to get any player under the age of about 28 for the amount that he’s ‘valued’ at. I’m just working within the market.
Along the same vein, when I found out how much RB Leipzig wanted for Ade Lookman, I went to Genoa and signed Michael Kouame, who is the same quality player and same age as Lookman (probably not quite as much potential) for 20m. He can play all three forward spots. I also couldn’t find a buyer for Gerard Moreno, so we have him in tow until at least January. One final loanee in attacking spots is Antonio Marin, from Manchester City. Marin can play either winger position and is fine but won’t start.
I signed Christian Atsu on a free transfer and sent him down to the B team. With him and Funes Mori combining with young players like Ivan Martin and Akraf Afif, I’m hoping they can get promoted to Segunda this campaign. One final note, I signed goalkeepr Brandon Austin from Tottenham for 3m, giving me a solid, young backup for Asenjo should an injury arise. He has the potential to be a solid La Liga level player.
I’m gonna hide this deep down where hopefully no one is still reading but Santi Cazorla wanted over 130k a week to continue as a player and I just flat out refused to pay that so he’s no longer a player and just a coach now.
The Champions League and Roster strategy
A bit factor in my transfer strategy has been that I want enough bodies to throw around that I can get to the Champions League knockout stages without really having to risk my starters. We are in a group with Man City, Lokomotiv, and Fehervar.
Torres, Albiol, and Holding are so close in level that I’ll just cycle one of them in and out every game. As long as all three are healthy none will play more than two games in a row. Caseres, Toko, and Chukwueze aren’t ecstatic to be at the club right this second, I’m hoping they settle in by January. We have about 8m in transfer budget leftover if we need it in January, hopefully we won’t.