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Manchester United - Enough Mediocrity

  1. Manchester United - Enough Mediocrity

    As a Manchester United supporter in real life the last few years have been pretty frustrating obviously. And with things looking pretty exciting at the moment, I really got the urge to build over what is started after Sir Alex's retirement and reconquer the domestic and European scene.

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    I started with the latest transfer update from a few days ago. And with the latest changes the squad is looking really well balanced and solid - probably the best that's been in years.

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    Goalkeepers - Defenitely one of the strongest areas in our team. De Gea is among the best keepers in the world and Romero has tons of experience and quality to cover him. Unless David tries to force a transfer there probably won't be any changes for long years here.

    Defenders - Enough quality and more than enough cover here with Shaw and Blind in left, Valencia (although criminally underrated in the game) and Darmian in right and Smalling, Jones, Rojo, Bailly and Lindelof in the middle. Also, Tuanzebe and Fosu-Mensah are just waiting for their chance to shine.

    Midfielders - The only position where I thought that a new face would be needed. Among Pogba, Herrera, Fellaini and Carrick the first two are the obvious first choices but at least in the game I don't think they're a good option for midfield partnership as Ander doesn't have the defensive qualities he showed in real life that season to compliment Paul. Some muscle is defenitely needed as Fellaini wouldn't be my first choice either.

    Attackers - So we've got Martial and Rashford on the left, Mkhitaryan and Lingard on the right, Young as a cover for both wings, Mata behind the striker with Herrera as a possible alternative and Lukaku up front with Martial and Rashford as alternatives. Solid attack but I feel that what is missing is a real match winner. Martial and Rashford both have the potential to become such but they're still not quite there and Lukaku and Miki are top players that will be able to do wonders in the right formation with the right team mates but they are not really the type of player that will single-handedly win you points. We don't really have our version of Hazard/Sanchez/Aguero.

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    As I said when reviewing the squad, the only thing that I was looking to add to the team was a proper partner for Pogba. And I managed to find my man in Adrien Silva who joined from Sporting Lisboa for 34 million pounds. He was the only summer addition as I felt the squad I had at my disposal was more than enough to achieve what the board wanted.

    The first leaving was Young for no money as his wage was huge and was on the wrong side of 30s with ability of a league 1 player. Surprisingly, Monaco were in for him and even more surprisingly he was a key player for them during the season making 47 appearances with average rating of 7.0.
    Darmian followed as I had way too many options in defense and with other players capable to play as right back (Valencia, Lindelof, Fosu-Mensah) that I prefered over him and him wanting a lot of first team football, the choice was easy. He joined Leicester for 14,5 million, possibly rising to 15,75.
    The only other kinda big sale was Januzaj going on loan to Real Sociedad. My update hadn't covered his move to... Sociedad from real life and although he had some nice potential I didn't feel it was fair to use him when he had just left the club. But nobody wanted to pay anything for him so I decided to just loan him out.

    A few days before the opening of the winter transfer window Valencia decided that he needed a new challange. I decided not to stand in his way and sent him to China for only 3 million.
    Guilermo Varela and Sam Johnstone also left the club as they were at that age where need to get first team football for the sake of their careers and I decided to let them have that as they weren't going to make it here even if I had kept them and sent them on loan somewhere. We got a total of 5,5 million for these two.
    Obviously, Valencia's sale meant that I had to look for a new right back. And I went for an old servant of ours - Rafael. I overpaid for him (15,5 million) as there were better and cheaper choices but heart said go for it. So we welcomed back Rafa to the club.
    Gremio's Lincoln also joined for 5 million. That was one for the future, really.

    Finally, a little bit before the season finished New York came knocking for Carrick and I approved the deal. Let him play a little bit more first team football and make tons of money.

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    I guess it is kinda obvious because of the transfers but I've completed the first season already.
    Next post will be results, performance of key players and youngsters and plans for the future.
    Average Joe likes this.

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    Things started well when we managed to defeat Leicester with no difficulties. Jones and Rashford got their names on the score sheet and Lukaku missed a penalty in his official debut.

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    Finally got the crown back after a pretty tough season. Despite the heavy defeat we suffered against Bornemouth at the start we managed to recover quickly and actually kept the lead for the majority of the season. Towards the end series of questionable results let Spurs catch up and in the last day we had an equal amount of points - 79. We had a far better goal difference so a win here secured the title. We had to accept the already relegated Brighton side in home and dominated them but the ball just didn't want to get in in the first half. At that point the match totally looked like the ones where you miss chance after chance and then the opposition scores out of nowhere. Fortunately, the big man up front Romelu finally got us the lead in 67th minute. When Herrera added another one after a fabulous long range shot in 82th things were clear - the title was back at Old Trafford.
    After the match I found out that Tottenham even had lost their fixture against Arsenal so we would've won the title whatever result we had got. But I didn't watch their score during our match to make things more interesting.

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    In CL we got a relatively tough group with Barca, Porto and Kobenhavn. We started well with a comfortable win against Porto but then an embarrasing defeat followed at Camp Nou. Two 2-0 wins against Kobenhavn and a defeat against Porto got us to the final fixture where we had equal points with Barca, two more than Porto... and a match against the Spanish side. The possibility of us going out of the tournament were real. But for my surprise we dominated Barcelona and got the 3 points. Well, the win wasn't as impressive as theirs but I will still take it as it got us the first place. Porto on other hand got only a draw against Kobenhavn and were out. Had they won, Barca were going to be the ones disappointed.

    In the 1/8 final we faced PSG. Both ties were way easier than one would expect and after two pretty comfortable wins we drew At. Madrid in the 1/4 final. The first match was in Spain and sadly it was the one that almost completely crushed our hopes for continuing ahead after a harsh 4-1 loss. We won in home with a minimal 1-0 but it wasn't enough and that was everything for our European run that year.

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    For FA Cup we got Bolton in the fourth round. We were the better side even though we had to play with 10 men for over 30 minutes after TFM got sent out. We didn't score our chances, they scored a penalty and that was pretty much it.

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    In EFL Cup we didn't get too far either. After eliminating Wolverhampton and Chelsea, Bournemouth said nope and threw us out. Lukaku missed a penalty here. One of many.

    So, overall kinda disappointing performance in the cups but that gave us the chance to concentrate over the Premier League and in the end it paid off.

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    The new signings

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    Adrien Silva just did his job. Didn't shine but he had mainly defensive duties and did what was expected of him.

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    Lincoln is in the reserves since his arrival and I don't want to rush him into the first team. I'll let him learn the language, settle down in England and in the team, get more familliar with his new roles and maybe next season he'll start getting more game time.

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    Rafael did a good job replacing Valencia during the winter.

    Key players

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    The definition of the word dominance. Absolute monster.

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    Our best defender through the season.

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    I'm really happy for Shaw. He managed to stay away from injuries and had a solid season while also improving his game.

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    Our top goalscorer and second goalscorer in the Premier League after Aguero who got some retarded numbers. 36 goals and 12 assists is pretty impressive for a first season on the big stage. Let's hope for even more next year.


    Here's how some of the boys are growing. Rashford was probably my best wide player managing to get 15 goals and 6 assists on his name. Pretty much won his first 11 place in the team. Fosu-Mensah and Andreas Pereira were the ones who got the most game time other than Rashford. They featured in over 20 games each and are growing well so hopefully they will get even more chances in future. I had big plans for James Wilson but big injuries kept him out of the side for pretty much all the season. Gribblin and Tuanzebe didn't future as much in the first team as Pereira and TFM but they are progressing well and maybe next year they will break in. Borthick-Jackson had a pretty good season with Wolverhampton getting 46 games with 7.12 average rating. He's defenitely in my plans for next season.

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    Here are also some rewards we got at the end of the season.

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    So... A new season awaits. We'll be expected to defend our title and go further in the cups and Europe.

    I got 100 million pounds and 400k per week to spend. Which is a pretty respecable budget.
    I still don't have any definite transfer targets. I do have people that I would sell though. Hopefully Januzaj will be able to find a new club this time around. Fellaini wants first team football and I can't really guarantee him that. Same with Lingard who as much as I'd like to keep as he's an academy product, there's no way for him to break into the side with Martial, Rashford and Miki as other wide options.
    There may be others going out as I'm ready to put my trust in Pereira and Fosu-Mensah as squad options this season and they will give me the option to sell without having to look for replacements.
    Last edited by nyanza; 18/07/2017 at 04:58 PM.
    Average Joe and naterr like this.

  3. Departures

    Jesse Lingard - 21 million (Monaco)
    Jesse was the first one to leave. Like I already said, breaking into the first team with Martial, Rashford and Mkhitaryan around is mission impossible for him and he is looking for first team football. Monaco were happy to give him that and there he reunited with his old pal Ashley Young.

    Sergio Romero - 5 million (Benfica)
    For his new contract he wanted quite a big wage (over 100k per week) and I don't fancy giving so much money to a back up keeper. The interesting thing is, he is now on a lower wage in Benfica than he was here even before the increase he wanted. Good for him, I guess.

    Marouane Fellaini - 13,75 million (Celta)
    The big man was last choice for me in midfield and there are some youngsters dying to get his get time. So I decided that it would be best for everybody to ship him out.

    Adnan Januzaj - 5 million (Hannover)
    Nobody was ready to pay more for him and that's where he ended.

    Daley Blind - 30 million (Real Madrid)
    He got unhappy when Real showed interest in him because "they pay high wages". He was vice captain too so I wasn't going to tolerate that and happily sent him to them.

    Marcos Rojo - 24 million (Bayern)
    I had to ship out a defender as I had too many options and people like TFM and Tuanzebe were making good impressions too. So Rojo was the chosen one because he was probably the worst performing centre back last season and is the highest paid too. I was just waiting for him to recover from his broken ankle and got Bayern's interest.

    The new faces

    Eric Dier - 46,5 million (Tottenham)
    Top English player in good age and was available. Wasn't that hard of a choice to go for him. Also, weakening Spurs is a bonus as they were close to stealing the title last year.

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    Javier Ontiveros - 8,5 million (Malaga)
    The kid has the potential to become a big player, we will see if he'll manage to fulfill it.

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    Patrice Evra - 3 million (Marseille)
    It was hard not to bring uncle paddy back after losing two left back options in Blind and Rojo. He could help with Shaw and Borthwick Jackson's development too.

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    Richard Strebinger - 2,3 million (Rapid Wien)
    New backup goalie after Romero going away.

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    We started well by winning the CS once again. Our opponents and0 holders of the FA cup were interesting though - Fulham who will play in Europe from Championship this season.

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    In PL the start was just as good - 4 wins in our first 4 fixtures.

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    It wasn't a hard run of games by any means but it gives us more confidence and a small lead up top early in the season which is always good.
    As you can see, Romelu is not playing around so far.

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    The CL draw wasn't that fortunate for us though. We got Real Madrid, Monaco and Celtic. Arguably one of the hardest gruoups around so it will be interesting how things will go there.

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  4. Rivals' summer business

    So we saw how things changed in our squad. But what about the other possible contenders for the Premier League?

    Manchester City

    The neighbours are serious. Their biggest signing was Griezmann and for a pretty good price I should say. I was even thinking about going in for him as we lack that match winner up front (Hazard, Sanchez, Aguero) that is going to win you points on his own. But in the end I decided against it. Goretzka and Wilshere are not bad midfield options either.

    They sold only Silva and Kolarov for almost no money and Silva is enjoying life with Chelsea at the moment. He's doing far better than Griezmann with City so far.

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    Again some serious spending here. They've given Inter total of 156 million for Icardi and Joao Mario. Alex Sandro is the other big money signing costing them 60 million. They've also gotten two experienced players in Silva and Lichtsteiner for a small amount and both are doing great so far.

    They've sold Azpilicueta for almost 50 million to Bayern. Well, to be honest I would accept that for him too. Other players they've lost are Moses (18 million to PSG) and Cahill (2 million for Southampton). The last one is most surprising for me and he is another player I would've loved to add to my squad if I didn't have that many options in his position.

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    They finished right behind us last season and it looks like they've decided to spend that Dier money we gave them on their attack bringing Marko Pjaca, Paco Alcacer and Miguel Borja for a total of over 90 million. I'm not fan of their business here. They threw tons of money and got people that are not really and improvement over Lamela, Eriksen, Felipe Anderson (who they got last summer) and Kane.

    The only players, other than obviously Dier, they lost are Bentaleb and Janssen.

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    It looks like they're looking for the future. They've spent about 80 million on Ward-Prowse, Daniel Podence and Ante Coric. I personally like all of them. Not bad.

    They've covered their spendings by sending Coutinho to Madrid.

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    Wenger not spending. I can't believe it. He decided to bet his money on mainly youngsters and some rotation (I would guess) options for his squad.

    They also lost Kolasinac and Wilshere.

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    Other interesting deals around the world

    Barcelona have gotten Shaqiri and Bernardeschi.

    Real have been a little more impressive with Coutinho, Gelson Martins, Kolasinac and Blind while on other hand losing Isco and Coentrao relatively cheaply - for 30 and 8 million respectivelly.

    Bayern have been improving their defense with Rojo and Azpilicueta.

    Juventus brought Rafinha and Di Maria while losing Pjaca, Mandzukic, Zaza and Alex Sandro.

    PSG got Isco, Grimaldo, Andre Silva, Kenny Tete, Moses and Milik and are probably the biggest spenders of the summer. They sold Di Maria and Pastore mainly.

    Monaco are going strong on that front. After bringing only Ashley Young last summer, now they've bought Jesse Lingard, Mario Balotelli, and Felipe Caicedo. If that happened in real life and I was fan of theirs I would've thought it was some kind of a joke. They've kept all of their important players though.
    Last edited by nyanza; 20/07/2017 at 12:19 AM.
    Average Joe, naterr and kolas79 like this.

  5. I would be worried with those signings too if I was a Monaco fan especially with Yound and Balotelli!!!
    chapman7 likes this.

  6. nice posts

  7. You going to continue with this mate, only just seen it and it's a well written piece, I like the reviews of rival spending.

    What business did AC Milan do?

  8. The story is still active. I'm close to the end of 2020/21 and I'll be doing a big update when I find some time.
    As for Milan's state at the time, I'm a little bit ahead so unfortunately I can't tell but I'll be doing a review of some teams again when I catch up.

  9. Oof, seeing you pick up Dier gave me mixed emotions. Obviously, I want to see you succeed but he's such a class player and Tottenham are my favourite club. You need to sign Dele next -- they're best friends.
    nyanza likes this.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Owens View Post
    Oof, seeing you pick up Dier gave me mixed emotions. Obviously, I want to see you succeed but he's such a class player and Tottenham are my favourite club. You need to sign Dele next -- they're best friends.
    You're in for a big surprise then.
    Ryan Owens likes this.

  11. I’m excited at the prospect of someone else using Ontiveros. He became one of my best wingers in my Man Utd save. How is he doing now?

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