Post by Nick on Jun 26, 2020 17:30:37 GMT
2021 Season Preview
I have to say, I'm loving this save so far. Still early days, but there's plenty of potential and so much room for growth. The shorter seasons make it quick to process through and I actually get a chance to train the players rather than just play endless games. It's good to get an eight week pre-season under our belts every year rather than the three weeks I was used to in Argentina.
The transfer window was the most enjoyable period of the save so far. The first thing I should note is the board dropped this little bomb shell into my inbox. It's neither ideal or a long term fix, but it takes the pressure off in the immediate future and I only have to pay back £30k per month which is obviously manageable.
Shenzhen, following their promotion last season, showed some interest in Wang Chao, who was still 'devastated' at not being able to leave on loan last season and played first team football here instead. An offer of £1m upfront, £3m paid in two instalments plus 50% of next sale was enough for me to wave him goodbye. Li Zhongdi, fresh from last year's youth intake, comes into the squad to replace him.
With the Wang Chao money in my pocket and room in the wage budget from the departure of Sun Ke, I actually managed to bring some players into the club. I was priced out of a few moves both in terms of loans and full transfers, but I'm well chuffed with who I have managed to bring in and super excited that we're actually improving the squad.
Jin Jingdao was set to be released by Shandong so I moved to bring him in on a pre-contract agreement. He may not look like much from the outside, but to me he's ridiculous step up in quality in a midfield that desperately needed the upgrade. His tackling ability, work rate and, most importantly, determination is going to be a big boost to us. Joining him in the middle of the park, having arrived on a free after his release from Guangzhou, is Liao Lisheng. Determined, brave and aggressive, he'll offer us a bit of steel in the middle and ensure we're not such a soft touch. He can also take a free kick which is something we've lacked, outside of Leonardo. The final deal is the £160k transfer of Ryota Suzuki from Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan. Not the greatest of personalities, but he has plenty of composure, bravery, good decision making, positioning and team work and really boosts our quality in defence. He can also play at right back which is a bonus.
Buzzing to get going this season. The media still have us finishing bottom, which I think will be par for the course for a little while, given the financial power of the teams around us. My aim is to avoid relegation still and, while it might sound a little defeatest, I think it'd be unwise to expect anything more. I think we'll be fine, but we have to be realistic. Hopefully we can hit 30 points as quickly as possible and then relax a little. There'll be a few bumps along the way but the squad is definitely better than last season. The problem is, we're not the only ones improving.
It was another eye-opening window in China. Guangzhou Evergrande, not happy at losing out on the title to Beijing Guoan, paid £55m (FIFTY FIVE MILLION!) to Watford for Abdoulaye Doucoure. Shenzhen (just promoted remember) spent £33m on Ruslan Malinovskyi from Atalanta while Shanghai Shenhua spent £10.75m on Matheus Fernandes from Barcelona. February was even worse. Jiangsu spent £33m on Mateusz Bogusz from Leeds, Shenzhen spent another £22.5m on Felipe Carballo from Sevilla and Beijing spent £20m on Rodrigo Caio from Flamengo. I was also wondering when one of the other Super League clubs were going to back up my claim that home grown players are over priced and cost a premium. Changchun did in this window, spending £18.75m on Guo Tianyu from Shandong. Hopefully we can milk these rich fuckers for all their worth in later years.
That's me just about up to date. I had to reject offers of an interview with both Shandong and Jiangsu over the past few months and signed a new deal myself. We have another tough start to the season with Guangzhou up in game two (again) and Shanghai SIPG up first. I don't fancy any points from either of those two, but they're not who we get points from. I think I'll follow the same update schedule as last season with one at the break and the end of the season.
Also worth noting that we get Kwon Kyung-Won back from military service in January so he'll be available for action in the second half of the season. Like a new signing.