3.3. Winter Came ⚔️
Contents: Enhancing our Artillery; Stretching our Resources; a new King in Town; Future Generations; Undefeated in Battle; Experience in Youth; Overseas Interest and the Art of War
🎵 Suggested Tune: “Game of Thrones Theme – Barcelona Guitar Trio” 🎵
A hero Returns
In my last post, we had just entered the year 2021 holding on to 4th place in La Liga, despite the fact that our much hoped for goal-machine and saviour Odsonne “Eddy” Eduoard had so far only managed to rack up 3 goals in 15 games for Los Chicharrerors since his club record €22 million transfer from Celtic back in August. Not quite the Roy De Los Rovers shithouse Striker we have been hoping for even though it is still early days in his Tenerife Career. Our esteemed Chairman has just left my office after a positive meeting in which he confirmed our transfer budget has been increased to €7.25m, so the question is – do we wait and hope that Eduoard can kick on and give us the goals we will need to maintain our hopes of a Champions League qualification spot, or do we bite the bullet and bring in reinforcements?
We go with the latter; last season (our first in La Liga following promotion from SD2), we had Brazilian Wonderkid Brenner in on loan from Sao Paulo and the boy notched up 12 goals to help us finish in a very respectable 8th place – however when we tried to resign him back in August, he indicated he wasn’t interested in signing permanently. Now that the January transfer window is open I return to have a look at him and see that he still has a Foreign Club Release Fee of €13.75 million, therefore it’s time to perform some transfer window heroics to see if we can bump up our transfer budget in an effort to seal his signature and provide Eddy with some much needed competition and support to lead the line for Los Chicharreros.
Stretching the Budget
Years of FM have taught me that it’s always possible to squeeze every last penny by carefully balancing and stretching the wage/transfer budget. If we are to afford Brenner’s release fee, we will need to not only drive in some transfer revenue but also reduce our wage expenses in order to maximise how much we can allocate towards our overall Transfer Budget. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I can only give three recommendations:
- Take a risk – sometimes in order to catch the big fish, you have to ignore the smaller ones and stay focused on the big prize; this might mean selling some first team players who are strong enough to make your starting XI in order to bring in that extra level of star quality that can be the difference between success and failure; a gamble, yes – but if it pays off, worth it
- No time for sentiment – it’s easy to stay attached to players that have been with you since the start of a save, especially in cases like mine where they have helped you gain promotion and progress up the leagues; sadly in order to progress, we will have to cash in on some of these guys and hope there is no bad blood or karma if and when we face them again 😀
- Don’t panic – January is a long month; rather than accepting lower bids early in the month don’t be afraid to hold out for a good offer; remember, other clubs will be equally keen to complete signings before the window closes!
Based on this, we spend the month of January touting a few players around and end up taking a huge gamble by selling 3 of our first team squad in order to scrape together the funds to afford Brenner’s transfer fee and wages:
We make €4m of pure profit for the wonderfully named Lorenzo Dickmann, who we had signed on a free transfer back in the summer and hasn’t quite managed to break in to the first team. Regretfully it is also time to say goodbye to what was basically our core midfield during our successful promotion to La Liga; Borja Lasso and Luis Milla leave for Espanyol and Malaga respectfully for a combined fee of €6.1 million – with both players approaching 30 and now that we have the likes of Danilo Pereira, Carles Alena and Sandro Tonali (even through all are on loan!), the time is right to cash in and with the board still giving us 85% of Transfer Revenue, we manage to get the funds needed and Brenner arrives at the club to hopefully give us the goals we will need to have a chance at Champions League qualification.
The Next Generation
Who else remembers that Spice Girls TV ad? 🔥
I recently wrote an article for WeStreamFM.com which looked at a selection of the more memorable FM Media Comparisons over the last 10 years as well as pinpointing some of the top FM19 prospects that have already been compared to previous footballing legends (click here to have a read of it later 🤘). During our January Transfer Window adventures, I came across what can only be described as the future generation of superstars within this save as we encounter 5 incredible prospects/newgens that have all been Dubbed/Touted as the next (Insert Football Legend Here) and therefore make it straight on to the Los Chicharreros shortlist for next season (assuming we have any cash left 😆):
To Battle ⚔️
Our first two games in January clearly proved why we needed to bring in reinforcements and most importantly some goalscoring prowess as we lost 0-1 to Levante and struggle to a scoreless draw at Home against Athletic Bilbao. We pick up our first win of 2021 against Granada and follow up with a spirited 2-2 draw versus Real Madrid, and then cap off the month with another scoreless draw at Espanyol.
Enter Brenner…not only does he score on his debut during a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture of the Canary Islands derby, he picks up 3 goals in his first 5 games (during which we also manage a 2-1 victory over Barcelona), and this in turn is the catalyst for a rejuvenated Tenerife side that proceeds to go on a 5 game winning streak. By the end of March we are looking confident in 3rd place just 5 points off the lead and somehow 3 points clear of Barcelona in 5th position; 8 games away from securing Champions League qualification in just our 3rd season as Manager of CD Tenerife! By this point Brenner has already notched up 6 goals in 9 appearances while Odsonne Eduoard manages just one solitary goal in the same period and has to make do with the substitutes bench throughout (remember, we spent €22 million on him 😩).
Brenner‘s fine form is a testament not only of his quality but that Alex Ferguson was of course right: you can win with kids. With an average age of 23 (versus La Liga average of 27), some of these lads are far beyond their years and the performances of the likes of Bisseck (20), Xadas (23), Tonali (19), Lookman (23) and Brenner (21) have been pivotal in our surge to those critical European spots, and our 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid clearly illustrates the same so much so that FM even acknowledges the effort of Los Chicharreros youthful but equally talented squad.
the aRT OF WAR – dominactics
My last post talked a lot about our Counter Attacking strategy, and how we attempt to overcome opponents away from home or opponents that are potentially stronger and more likely to have more possessions against us. During this spell of dominance however, we began to take more control of games and exert a more aggressive and dominating tactic which focuses on retaining the ball, playing rapid quick-fire football and controlling the game by carrying the ball forward as a unit and being patient until we find a gap in our opponent’s defences which can be exposed.
- Positive Mentality – this is essential in order to approach the game as the stronger team and move the ball around the pitch both quickly and confidently
- Short passing to feet – to ensure ball retention and implement a pass & move strategy, allowing us to ferry the ball up the field and take advantage of players such as Alena, Xadas and Tonali who have exceptional First Touch and Technique attributes
- Work Ball Into Box – using Brenner as our main outlet leading the line and channeling the ball through our midfield and via a Shadow Striker just behind Brenner, this complements our Positive mentality enabling us to probe the opposition defence and play intelligent balls into Brenner whose Off the Ball and Work Rate get him into regular goal-scoring positions
- Higher Tempo – goes without saying; with the pace and flair we have in this young team, in order to dominate our opponents we start the game at a very high tempo when moving the ball forward and catching teams on the break
Using a 4-4-1-1 formation, this facilitates a more possession based strategy that allows us to quickly move the ball forward linking midfield to attack and control the game with a fairly structured and airtight formation. Playing short balls to feet and using short kick-outs whereby we play the ball out of defence ensures we don’t give away too much possession and enables us to get men behind the ball for a quick build via fast intelligent passing and movement (or at least that’s plan anyway :D).
We enter April full of high hopes and dreams of Champions League qualification. I am almost thankful that we are held to a 2-2 draw at Home to Real Vallecano, which in some ways might be a blessing to help prevent us from getting too carried away at this vital stage of the season. This reality check leads to 4 straight victories in a row making us 12 games unbeaten, and with Atletico Madrid picking up 4 draws in the same month (possibly due to the fact that they had two Champions League Quarter Final ties in between) – we suddenly find ourselves beyond our wildest dreams occupying 2nd position in La Liga Santander and potentially just 5 games away from automatic Champions League qualification!! Real Madrid have been the standout team this year and almost have the league wrapped up being 5 points clear, while our squad of talented youngsters are unbelievably 1 point clear of A.Madrid in 3rd and 4 points clear of Barcelona in 4th. Can we hold on and finish the season on a high?!
You’ve Got Mail
This fine spell of form seems to be getting noticed overseas as well, as we receive an approach from Liverpool regarding the Manager role recently vacated by Jurgen Klopp who was sacked due to their poor league position.
It’s tempting but I am keen to finish what I have started here (we haven’t yet found our Roy De Los Rovers!) so I decline the interview; funnily enough, the job is given to Diego Simeone, and he is replaced at Atletico Madrid by none other than Jurgen Klopp who doesn’t enjoy much of a break unemployed :D.
So, after 33 games we are clinging on to 2nd place and Champions League football beckons as we enter the final month of the season. Technically we can still win the league of course however that would rely on a complete self-destruction by Real Madrid which is highly unlikely! My next post will capture the Season Finale where all will be revealed; can we really finish 2nd in the League in just our third season as CD Tenerife Manager?? Hit the follow button below to find out later this week, you can also keep posted on Twitter for updates where feedback and retweets are greatly appreciated. Forca Tenerife!! MaddFM.