Season 6 is upon us!! I’ve become very conscious that my last few posts have involved a lot of misfortune and negativity about our luck/progress at Greuther Fürth (obviously nothing to do with my management capability) so I’m determined to finish this one on a positive note…if the FM gods allow it 😄.
We finished 9th last season after consecutive 8th place finishes in the Bundesliga the two seasons before, one could argue we are getting worse however with our financial ability, club size and standard of facilities I am content that we have made great progress in making the Kleeblätter an established Bundesliga side since getting promoted after our second season at the helm of the mighty Fürth.
Speaking of financial capabilities – I’ve mentioned it before but we continue to be among the lowest spenders and earners in this competition; shortly something is about to happen that could change all of that, but for now this is where we stand in comparison to the rest of our Bundesliga rivals:
We aren’t complete peasants of the league, and we have managed to smash our transfer record each season with our current record signings being Ferran Torres and Luca Connell, on both of whom we spent €22 million respectively albeit with only 50% paid up front for each. This is a costly model of business in that our balance suffers year on year having to pay installments for these, however if we can continue to finish in the Top 10 and work our way towards Europe then the prize money alone justifies this type of transfer system. We received €56 million in prize money for last season’s 9th place finish which is great for our bank balance, however Chairman Niall Quinn only gives us €12 million to spend on players this season – with our squad needing strengthening/cover in Centre Midfield and also in the Attacking Midfield/Inside Forward positions, I fear we may need to sell some players for the first time in this save (aside from offloading dead wood etc) in order to improve going into the new season.
I’m not sure if it was streaming this save for the only the second time live, or just standard Football Manager ineptitude by yours truly – either way, while hunting for a creative CM and a backup AM we managed to do this:
Our existing Number 1 had been Irishman Kieran O’Hara whom we signed on a free transfer way back before our second season in Bundesliga 2 – since then he has proven to be more than good enough for Bundesliga level and outstanding value for a free agent when we look on four years later. Everyone has a price however, and while meandering through the transfer market for midfielders we suddenly receive a €10 million bid from Swansea for his services.
The offer is of course too good to refuse so we immediately set off to find a replacement – with the board giving us 80% of incoming Transfer Revenue and my rarely mentioned affinity for signing Irish players, we don’t need to look too far before agreeing a fee for O’Hara’s competition for the Ireland #1 jersey who is 6 years younger – Gavin Bazunu. Man City accept a €16 million bid, with us paying the expected €8m from the O’Hara deal up front and the rest spread over the next three seasons. A no brainer right?
The icing on the cake is that Bazunu is a graduate from the Shamrock Rovers academy who are our Irish affiliate club as we look to develop Irish youth candidates here in Fürth – as part of the deal they will receive €2.3 million from Man City, perhaps this will be invested in their own youth facilities and recruitment? 👀
It is at this point (of course) that Kieran O’Hara decides to completely screw our plans and reject the contract offer from Swansea, and suddenly we have blown at least half our budget and now have two first team Goalkeepers on our books…
We now find ourselves in a frantic bid to offload O’Hara in the hope that we can tempt another club into paying the same fee for his signature – you know as well as I do that the chances of doing this in Football Manager are slim to none….
Two million down the swanny however we are left with little or no choice but to accept Watford’s bid of €8m – thankfully he decides that Vicarage Road is the place for him and we can now get back to our midfield shopping spree albeit with a slightly slimmer transfer budget than planned!! Our main priority is a creative Central Midfielder – so far to date we have deployed Pol Lozano in this position however after 5 years with us I feel he has reached his potential and is unlikely to improve any further; if we are to move on to the next level we need to sign a player with real star quality, and a combination of recent IRL Champions League exploits combined with some creative search filtering bring us to our new Top Target for this save:
It’s at this point something beautiful happens. We can see Caqueret’s contract is up at the end of next season, and inspired by Tottenham’s relatively cut-price deal to sign Matt Doherty in real life due to his contract expiring within 1 year – we decide to test the water by popping in a €7m bid which matches his current value exactly, just to gauge whether the lad is even within range of our transfer budget..
Lyon clearly know that Caqueret’s heart lies in Fürth and are happy to cash in before he can contemplate running down his contract, all we have to do is agree terms and he’ll be wearing a Kleeblätter shirt next season…
Two quality signings added to our squad which pretty much depletes our budget – our squad is still thin however. We have managed to come this far without selling any of our key players, and haven’t yet sold a single player that we ourselves brought in since taking over 5 long seasons ago – unfortunately that has to change if we are to further strengthen with zero transfer or wage budget remaining.
The fact that BMG are in the division below and were the only club willing to pay that much for Lozano tells me it’s the right decision, and 80% of his fee can be put to very good use as we look to add a couple more faces to our thin squad.
Very happy with our business this summer transfer window – Kosovan Edon Zhegrova joins to provide cover across all of our Attacking positions, while Zinho Vanheusden is a steal on a free transfer as his contract expires at Liege.
Greuther Fürth 2024/2025 Squad List 🟢⚪
Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu, Sascha Burchert
Defenders: Ryan Porteous, Nicolo Armini, Scott McKenna, Marko Djira, Lee O’Connor, Zinho Vanheusden, Alexander Lungwitz
Midfielders: Ferran Torres, Paul Seguin, Luca Connell, Josh Cullen, Maxence Caqueret, Alex Blesa, Edon Zhegrova, David Raum, Ronan Curtis
Forwards: Josh Sargent, Noel Bilic, Jonathan Afolabi
New Season, New Us?
This is the season where we hope it will all come together. As mentioned in my last post, Noel Bilic is looking like he will be a bagsman of a Striker and with the quality of Torres, Caqueret, O’Connell, Armini, Djira and Bazunu – can we finally take the leap towards European football in Fürth? (Writer’s note: well done on the positive thinking 😄).
The season starts pretty well especially as we were live on stream when it happened! A 3-1 opening day victory over Dortmund is complimented by a 1-1 draw away to RBL, which saw them grab an 86th minute equaliser with 10 men (#heartbreaking), and from there we picked up 3 wins in our next 4 games with Bilic and Alex Blesa scoring 9 goals between them. The freshness of our squad then seemed to creep through when we lost 3 in a row (#standard), however a strong run up to the winter break including back-to-back 4 goal wins over HSV and Dresden means that Christmas has come early as we sit in 5th place in the league just 4 points off RBL in second.
Chairman Niall Quinn advises us how happy he is with our performance, and after a few pints down at the Irish pub he is already talking about Champions League football…DON’T F*CKING JINX IT NIALL!!!!
A decent start to Season 6, our best so far at Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer and hopefully we can build on this as we enter the second half of the season – only way to find out will be to tune in next week, and if January’s events are anything to go by it’s going to be a good one 👀.