Before we start, have you read the previous posts with RB Magaluf? Have a read here
Following on from a good first half of the season, we pick back up at the turn of the year and what better way to start by delving straight in with the transfer dealings.
Transfers – Inbound
Despite the club being a mere 6 month old and initially signings all the players I thought I needed, I did have to head to Julios Money Transfer Shop to get the best exchange rate (I’m almost certain this was a real place when I was there about 7 year ago).
With the aim to sign young players with potential, I crossed off a number of suggested targets and narrowed down my shortlist a fair bit before setting about my business. The first two deals come from Norway, a nation I know well from a previous save.
First up is winger Jens Petter Hauge arriving from Bodo/Glimt for £275k. My scouts rated him as just one and a half stars but reckoned he is destined for La Liga. I over paid but I know his quality and in a few seasons will be worth a lot more! Plus once he signed, my coaches rated him much more highly.
The next arrival from Norway is Tobias Christensen from IK Start for £190k. An attacking midfielder with potential to get better. Also someone to fill the void from Julio Baptisita for when I switch up my formation. Again I over paid, but I blame my DoF as he was in charge of this deal.
The next purchase comes from mainland Spain. Oihan Sancet from Athletic Bilbao. A young centre mid who has plenty of potential. Originally supposed to join at the end of the season on a free but for a fee of £16.75k we brought him in early.
Three deals done early, all arriving as the transfer window opened. The next deal was the loan signing of Borja Galan. A winger who can also play up top. A quick deal with minimal research due to an outgoing, I took a punt on him. Would I regret not having a future transfer fee negotiated in the loan?
So as we now from my last post Julio Bautista left us for JUV back in his native Brazil. He didn’t exactly set the world alight for us and he wasn’t tied down to the club. 0 goals, 0 assists, we won’t miss him, maybe his physical appearance
As some of you may have saw from my Twitter, two key players handed in transfer requests.
First of all Timothy Tillman. Our German/American left winger has bags of potential but was struggling for form for us. Didn’t help matters Dortmund declared an interest in him as the window opened. To force a move he handed in a request. I weighed up the pros and cons and reluctantly accepted, but set the asking price at £7.5million. This price tag is steep for any player in our division but for a player with his potential it’s a fair price in my eyes.
This deal rumbled on all month, Dortmund offered an acceptable £6million upfront with a few clauses on the 6th January. They didn’t complete the deal for nearly three weeks! In the mean time I recruited the previously mentioned Galan, who I could have done a bit more scouting on, not that it would have changed my mind. So Tillman moved back to Germany and I got £6million transferred into the kitty.
The other key player to hand in a request was Fernando Torres. My main striker, the marquee player, top goal scorer wanted to move on. He wished to move onto Porto. Club captain Iker Casillas couldn’t change his mind, but I stood firm and reject his first transfer request. Porto offered a shockingly low £1million bid, which was spread over 12 month. I rejected it of course! The following day Fernando and his agent phoned up with another demand to allow him to leave.
At this point I was getting sick so agreed. Everton came in for him this time, offering a mere £100k more than Porto but with it all upfront. It wasn’t a negotiable offer so I knocked it back. I probably would have settled for £1.5million at this stage.
As the month went on, no one else came in for El Niño but he remained pissed off. He did miss a days training which resulted in him being removed as the vice captain which was then given to Jesus Gamez.
With one player away, another wanting away I thought the squad was going to revolt. I was wrong. All the squad bar one agreed with my treatment of Torres.
That one player? Former Barca academy graduate Gai Assulin.
‘Twas a mild Tuesday afternoon, I’m sat in my office, feet up on the desk listening to Guillem Balague spout some crap on SkySports whilst finalising a new training plan and there’s a knock on the door.
Assulin struts in, and reveals he’s upset that I won’t let his new bezzy mate Fernando move on. I muted Guillem, stood up, readjusted my tie and assertively told the Israeli winger to be a professional and get on with his football. He wasn’t best pleased but as he didn’t want to blow this cushty little number, he apologised and headed out to training. I think he knew if he kicked up more of a fuss I would have sent him to the Brazilian branch of the RB football family, who are in the 4th division.
So quick recap, Torres tried to force a move and failed. Baptista and Tillman did move on though.
(Sorry/not sorry for rambling)
4 wins from 4, 11 goals scored and 4 clean sheets, January was a good month on the pitch. Even more pleasing was that two of the new boys slid straight into the team and hit the ground running.
- Galan played in 3 games, getting an assist in his first, scoring twice in his second, and scoring and assisting in the third.
- Hauge played an extra game to Galan, finishing the month with 2 goals and 2 assists.
- Christensen and Sancet went into the youth team for now.
With the ongoing saga with Torres, he was frozen out of the squad for the last two games of January.
What a mixed bag of performances this month. First match Hauge, Christensen and Barja got on the score sheet against Ebro. We then eased up against Badalona and threw away a 2 goal lead to draw 2-2. Following this match we got beat off Alcoyano 3-2. How I do not know. We dominated the match, the shots came pouring in and somehow we lost! Due to that defeat, Elche were able to capitalise and go top of the league, despite being level on points. They went top seemingly on alphabetical status because we had far superior goal difference.
We wrapped the month off with a piss poor performance but 2-0 win over Sta Eulalia. Like I said mixed performances this month.
A lack of quality also starting to show upfront. With Torres frozen out, Sargent back in the States because of being homesick that left just Carlton Cole and Toni Martinez as my only recognised strikers. Galan and Thomas can play up top but are better suited on the wings. Cole done well but struggled for fitness.
We carried on our poor performance at home against Llagostera but still somehow won 3-0. Not complaining!
Next up was Elche. A must win match!
The day before the match Fernando Torres announced he no longer wanted to leave the club since Porto were no longer interested. He withdrew his transfer request and at that, he was reinstated to the squad. I was desperate for some quality up top, he wasn’t match fit but a risk worth taking.
We absolutely bossed the first half, El Niño was like a man possessed, he was all over the shop! Back defending their corners (only 2), he was out on the wings, dropping deep for the ball and he finally broke the deadlock! A typical Torres finish rounding the keeper put us ahead on 16 minutes. He then went on to set up Galan for his two goals on the 18th and 44th minute.
Half time I was keen for the lads not to get complacent so after a stern word from myself they headed back out onto the pitch. We controlled possession and were pushing for a fourth. Unfortunately for us Elche hit us on the counter as we committed too many players to attack the set piece. We saw the game out 3-1. Advantage Maga!
April had barely begun and Brendan Rodgers was already telling the media that he wanted to sign Iker Casillas. Iker wasn’t so sure on a move, don’t think he fancied the rain nor the prospect of haggis, neeps and tatties every other Sunday at Brendan’s.
Anyway I move on from the rumour mill. 4 games this month, including a derby match against Mallorca. A solid 4-1 and then 3-0 wins in the build up the the derby was the perfect build up to it.
We went into the derby match favourites and with the only one absentee in Borja Galan. I opted to rotate the squad back to almost full strength having rested a few players against Cornella in the previous match.
We dominated the first half but barely threatened Manolo Reina in the Mallorca goal! Just as I thought we were going to go in level, we stepped up a gear. Fernando Torres popped up and scored on the 40th minute, getting on the end of an exquisite cross from Hauge on the left wing.
The second half became more sloppy on our behalf, committing 12 fouls. We seemed to be settled at 1-0 so passed it about, retained possession and frustrated the hosts until disaster struck on the 90th minute.
Riki Mangana got caught dwelling on the ball and Prats capitalised and punished us. With just the 1 minute added on, there was no time to push for the winner. We had to settle for the draw.
In the following match against Ontinyent, George Saunders let the side down. We were 1 up approaching half time and what does he do? He goes in hard on Rober Sierra, receiving his second yellow card. Down to 10 with 45minutes still to play. Great! Nevertheless the lads stepped up a gear and looked more threatening going forward, as we ran out the match 3-0 winners.
We signed the season off with a trip to Athletic Saguntino. We raced to a 3-0 and then seemingly forgot how to defend. We signed off the season with a 3-2 win. Onto the playoff’s.
Heading into the playoffs we drew Racing Santander, a side I consider a La Liga side. How have they slumped this low down??
First leg, like against Mallorca, we controlled the game but didn’t threaten much in the first half. A Fernando Torres penalty on 35 minutes saw us go in at half time 1-0 up. The second half we bombarded their goal with shots raining in from all over. Ivan Crespo stood firm until Galan lobbed him on 73 minutes. Then things got interesting. They had a sending off, we fell asleep and they began to attack. They did have the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for offside. Phew!
Second leg we had a 2 goal lead to defend. I made a couple of alterations to the side with Casillas returning between the sticks for Martin, and the wingers dropping back, Galan was shattered so he dropped to the bench and Saunders taking his place at left mid.
We had plenty of shots but Ivan Crespo was in inspired form. Torres even had a penalty saved on 57 minutes. The deadlock was broken by Franco Acosta on 79 minutes giving Santander some hope. They threatened a little more in the dying embers of the game but we hung on. We lost on the night but won on aggregate.
Promotion wrapped up, just the small matter of a two legged final to decide the overall winner of the Second Division B. For that we played Cartagena. Over the two legs we coasted through with 3-1 and 1-0 victories, barely breaking a sweat with Torres getting a double, Brandon Thomas and George Saunders getting on the score sheet across the two matches.
Well that’s the season wrapped up. First season, first title, first promotion!
Elche pushed us all the way and they ultimately fell at the final hurdle in the play offs as rivals Mallorca joined us in escaping the league.
We are on schedule to reach La Liga within 5 year, I’m anticipating a few seasons in this division to set a more solid foundation before making the step up.
I will be doing an overview of the season, looking at the plans for next season and will be looking at my long awaited youth intake in the next few days once the copious amounts of double vodka red bulls have wore off!