The Football Factory |Part Five | It Begins

Football Factory Header

You’ve probably opened this post wondering “when are we getting some actual football” which is fair comment, given the four posts of build up you’ve had so far. Good news; we’re diving into the season right now (well, once we’ve walked through our transfer business)

Transfers

The first aspect of our pre-season that I want to talk about is our transfer business. We’ve brought in a number of players, many of whom fit the tactics that I used during pre-season this year. Of course, as always, I tried to focus on the five attributes which i’ve made a priority for the squad this season when choosing players.

Quentin N’Gakoutou – Free TransferQuentin.png

Initially brought in as cover across our ‘front 3’, Quentin is a former AS Monaco player, but was released in summer after multiple loan moves still failed to get him a first-team place. Across the 5 attributes he scores solidly, with 12 Determination, 12 Strength, 8 Decisions, 12 Technique and 11 Composure. He’s not setting the world alight but he’s a big improvement on the players we already had in his position. Realistically, he’s not going to be a long-term option, but with some development he might just reach the heights we need from him.

Justin Gru – Loan – Stade RennaisGru.png

I decided that we needed additional cover in defence, and Justin Gru brings us that with his arrival on loan from Stade Rennais. He’s not an immediate starter, however I do think he’s got the quality to be a backup option in the defence. With 13 Determination, 12 Strength, 10 Decisions, 11 Technique and 11 Composure, he also has decent scores across our 5 desired attributes, however if this season goes well its unlikely we’d extend his loan, especially if we can find better options out there.

Seydou Koita – £120k – Amiens SC

Koita

Brought in  to offer more attacking options, Seydou has only scored once in 2 years for Amiens, making just eight first-team appearances. However I think his attributes suggest he is a better player than that, and with 13 Determination, 12 Strength, 12 Decisions, 9 Technique and 14 Composure, he is a good example of the kind of player we want to bring in. His technique may be his only drawback, but I feel like we can train that to improve with time. For me, Koita is a bit of a ‘project’ player, as his mentals and physicals are good, however he needs work on the more technical side of his game – at 24 i’m wondering if its too late, but only time will tell.

Jhon Arango – Free Transfer

Arango

Last but not least, one of my favourite FM Wonderkids, Jhon Arango, has been brought in on a free transfer, having been released from Vallencano despite a 4-goal haul last season. With solid scores across the board (13 Determination, 10 Strength, 12 Decisions, 13 Technique and 12 Composure), and still only 20 years old, I feel that Arango could go on to be a key part of our squad for a long time to come. Almost the ideal Attacking Midfielder, we’re working on his physicality in order to really get the best from him.


Overall, I am pleased with our transfer business, and, unusually for me, we haven’t wasted the full budget on ‘wonderkids’ who’ll probably never get near the first team. We headed for pre-season full of optimism and with the grand plan of playing a fast, attacking 4-2-3-1, which turned out to produce a mixed bag of results.Pre-Season.png

Overall, there are some solid results in there, but I was definitely struggling with the 4-2-3-1, as we looked relatively wide-open at the back, so some tinkering was required throughout the start of the league campaign.

Despite a mixed bag of results, there were a couple of standout performances – one especially was trialist striker Lee Jae-Gun, a 21-year old South Korean who we had on trial for 3 weeks over pre-season, and who caused some real problems for opposition defences, but who then refused to sign a contract at the end of it all. For me, he is kind of ‘one that got away’, however I do still believe that the squad is in a good place going forward.


We open our league Campaign with a home game against Niort, and while I’m sticking with a 4-2-3-1, I don’t want to go into too much detail on it, because I don’t think it will be a long-term style, given the difficulties it ran into against bigger teams during pre-season.

In terms of our season expectations, the bookies have us as 100-1 shots for the title, and we’ve got a predicted finish of 16th. For me, keeping this in mind throughout the season will be important, as I usually play with ‘bigger’ teams who are expected to land around the top half of a league, and it’ll be important to be pragmatic with my expectations throughout the season.

My next instalment will look at the first half of the season, and how we’ve fared in the league, along with how our tactics are developing and whether or not I think there’s improvements to be made in the January transfer window in terms of personnel, and whether I think my tactical approach needs further development.


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