Join me as we go to town on our squad, blow the load in the transfer window, peak too early in pre-season and go balls deep into our second year in La Liga Santander and our third season as manager of CD Tenerife.
When we last left off, we had just finished in a very respectable 8th position in our first season in La Liga and our second as Tenerife manager, narrowly missing out on a Europa League place even though we definitely aren’t ready for it. The squad that got us there consisted of 5 loan players, all of whom were first team regulars so definitely a major squad rebuild could be required.
Before we take out Senior Concepcion’s chequebook – let’s do a quick review of where we sit currently versus our original save objectives that we set over 2 FM years ago when we kickstarted our career at CD Tenerife:
1.Obtain Promotion to La Liga within first 2 seasons – Complete! ✅
2. Build a concentrated and extensive team of staff with a particular focus on Youth Coaching and Recruitment – Not going well❌
Admittedly I have probably dropped the ball on this one – I was so focused on getting promoted and then suddenly on the verge of Europa League qualification that I put youth recruitment and coaching on the back burner; thankfully beloved Chairman Senior Concepcion has deep pockets and totally gets me – he agrees to invest over €6m on upgrading both our Youth and Training Facilities, therefore I’m earmarking the 2022 Youth Intake to be a good one!
3. Try to sign as many Spanish speaking staff members as possible✅
4. Develop a strong affiliate network domestically and internationally, both for inbound loan benefits as well as youth development ❌
Initially the objective here was to find a strong parent club in order to benefit from loans without heavy wage costs – however now that we are quite established in La Liga, it’s time to look at identifying feeder clubs as we hope to build our Youth Recruitment and U-19 squads. Watch this space!
5. Minimum of 50% of all incoming transfers will be paid up front✅
6. Develop at least one youth prospect or uncapped player to obtain an International Cap for Spain within first 3 seasons❌
As it stands, it doesn’t look like we will meet this objective mainly as we havent developed any youth players following two mediocre youth intakes. Our latest hope is Pedro Luis Acosta, who has 4 star potential after coming through in our last youth intake. Within two months of him signing his new deal, Sevilla come in with a measly offer of €130,000 however we tell them where to stick that and the lad signs a new 3 year contract. Here’s hoping!!
7. Find our “Roy de los Rovers” – an absolute shithouse of a centre-forward the like of which Los Chicharreros have never seen before ❌
Hmmmmm…..see later for more info 🔥🔥
8. Get the Ireland job and manage both club & country, ensuring qualification for all major tournaments ❌
9. Sign and develop a young Irish player for the first team and also get him capped by the Republic of Ireland –Work in Progress 🛠️🏗️
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for……….
Pre-Season Cash Splashing
Unfortunately despite repeat offers, pleas and me even flying from Tenerife to Brazil to try and make the lad see sense – we fail to make last season’s top scorer Brenner a permanent signing after matching his minimum fee release clause of €13.25 million. For whatever reason FM deems necessary, he declines to even enter contract negotiations and ultimately forces us to start looking elsewhere.
For the first time in this save/blog adventure however, we do have some money to spend – an increase in sponsorship and TV revenue means we have a budget of €14 million which can be stretched to €18 million if we are smart with our wage budget. It’s time to go shopping!!
First in the door is the man we hope will become our Roy De Los Rovers shithouse goalscoring machine of a Centre Forward – Odsonne Edouard, who arrives after we agree a club record €22 million fee (€11 million up front) with Celtic. I came across Eduoard in real life a few months back when he first joined The Bhoys, where he came on as a sub against Aberdeen and basically won them the game single-handedly. I signed him previously in my beta save with Blackburn and he was scoring well in the Premier League, so hopefully he can become our star striker and score the goals that we missed desperately last season – he has scored 35 goals in 62 appearances during his last 3 seasons at Celtic .
Naturally this signing ate up the vast majority of our budget, so the rest of our signings are a combination of free and loan players in. First piece of good news is that we managed to extend the loans of both Carles Alena and Ademola Lookman, both of which for me are as good as two permanent signings as both were first team regulars last season. Alena will spend his 3rd season in a row with us (I’ll have to try nab him for a cut-price fee), while Lookman has been immense as an Inside Forward on that left hand side regularly contributing goals and assists.
Our loan spree continues with the arrival of not one but two full backs, who arrive in the form of Fagner and Mykola Matvienko from Liverpool and Benfica respectively. Fagner will take up the RB spot recently vacated by Felix Passlack who returns to Dortmund from a season-long loan, while Matvienko will replace Marco Friedl who also returns to Bayern after spending a year with us last season.
As if that wasn’t enough – our stature as a La Liga club must be growing fast as we secure the signings of two world class central midfielders, both of whom featured heavily in my “DMC or not DMC” article that I wrote for WeSteamFM.com. Wonderkid Sandro Tonali arrives from Juventus on a season long loan having only just joined them from Brescia for a fee of €12 million, followed by Portuguese international Danilo Pereira who joins us on loan from Liverpool fresh after winning the Premier League last season.
Aside from that – we pick up a pretty decent squad player in the fantastically named Lorenzo Dickmann who joins on a free transfer, while the rest of our signings are mainly ones for the future in the form of Cole Palmer (Man City), Harvey Neville (Man Utd – son of our first team coach Phil), Steve Bremner (Coventry) and Lee O’Connor on loan from Man Utd. All in all, a pretty busy and successful transfer window that saw only Jose Naranjo moving the other direction in a €1.5 million move to Alaves.
Sadly our transfer activity is still only a drop in the ocean compared to Real Madrid and Barcelona – the gap is still widely prevalent and our mission to dethrone these Spanish giants from the top of Spanish football is most certainly now a marathon and not a sprint.
“I love it when a plan comes together” ?
After an abundance of chopping, changing, ins and outs we are almost ready for our first game of the season (*spoiler – against Real Madrid, highlights below). I always feel that it is not a good idea to bring in so many new faces and implement that amount of change before the new season, as I believe the game determines that your squad needs time to gel when there is an influx of new players. Unfortunately however, we have no choice and as it stands our squad looks as follows:
It might be fair to say that pre-season went too well. I take the lads on a tour of the Emerald Isle during which we score 15 goals that include two hat-tricks for new signing Odsonne Eduoard, and we go unbeaten in 8 games which is always a dangerous game in pre-season – if it’s too good to be true then it usually is!
Thankfully we go pretty much injury free and as preparations begin for our first league game away to Real Madrid, we are given a quick reality check in the form of the league odds / media predictions which reaffirm Madrid’s superiority and seemingly condemn us to a mediocre 13th place finish…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
CD Tenerife vs Real Madrid
We are live at The Bernabeu for the opening game of the 2020/2021 La Liga season. CD Tenerife have it all to do if they are to overcome defending champions Real Madrid who have added Christian Eriksen, Moussa Dembele and Patrick Schick to their ranks following the high profile departures of Isco and Casemiro to Man Utd and AC Milan respectively.
Here is how the teams line out today – Real Madrid hand debuts to Schick and Eriksen while there are also first appearances for Fagner, Matvienko, Danilo Pereira and Odsonne Edouard for Los Chicharreros:
The game kicks off and Real Madrid’s dominance is clearly evident, with Gareth Bale opening the scoring on 6 minutes. Tenerife begin to settle in and defend well despite Real Madrid dominating possession and pushing to get a second. The score remains 1-0 at half-time, with Tenerife introducing both Sandro Tonali and Antonio Marin however this more attacking approach exposes the defence and it’s Bale who makes it 2-0 on 65 mins followed by Mateo Kovacic on 67 mins to make it 3-0 to the home side. Not the start manager MaddFM will have had in mind. There is a glimmer of hope as Xadas makes it 3-1 on 72 mins, but that is all Tenerife have in their locker and the game finishes with a victory for Real Madrid.
And so begins life in Season 3!! We won’t be too disheartened by an opening day defeat away to the defending champions, and hopefully in my next post we will see what we can do with our newly assembled squad and more importantly whether Odsonne Eduoard will start to show signs that he can be our new Roy De Los Rovers here at CD Tenerife; we also play my 100th game as CD Tenerife Manager and return for the first La Liga Canary islands derby since 2002 now that Las Palmas have joined us in the top tier having gained promotion last season. For now I will leave you with this gem of a news update – love it when FM produces a good’un ❤️
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