Girona FC – S3,0: New signings and Season 3 preview

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

Improving Girona

Naturally, we want to go into each new season wanting to improve on the team and strive to beat the previous season’s achievements. Whether we can do that is dependant on either selling existing players, or how generous our board is in giving us a nice budget to spend.

As I don’t have many players who other teams are desperate to pry from our grasps, I was hoping for a good transfer kitty… but was disappointed.

Initially.

It’s going to be tough to buy players who will help us push for our dreams of the Euro places with just £5.6m to spend, especially when we had 3 loan players who’d done well last season and we’d arranged purchasing options for, totalling just under £10m.

After looking at the budgeted amounts again I realised they’d nearly doubled the wage budget and it was way more than I’d need as there wasn’t really any free agents I was desperate to sign… so with a bit of adjusting….

That’s more like it!

Now we had more money to play with I turned to the three aforementioned loanees:

Kalimuendo – we had a £3.4m option on the PSG loanee which I was eager to take advantage of… however when it came to agreeing a contract he wanted nearly £50k a week, which I’m not going to pay, so I loaned him for another season on his existing £16k per week salary but this time the option is £4.2m

Thuram – After a good season on loan from OGC Nice I was initially considering signing Thuram. Over 30 games, he put up an average rating of 6.97 and was way above average in passing stats in the Data Hub. However, after more digging I realised he hadn’t improved attributes-wise over the season, which for a 21 year old isn’t a good sign.. so I passed on the £3.2m option. Thanks for your service Kephram.

Araujo – The left wingback on loan from Benfica is a good, promising player who didn’t let us down. But, he’s not good enough to splash £4m on when he’d still be a backup.

One out of three ain’t bad.

Actual signings

The first position I wanted to improve upon was the attacking midfielder. Over the last 2 seasons, the main starter in this role has been Samu Saiz. He’s a good player, but for me he’s not dynamic enough in the role. Over the last 2 seasons he’s scored 3 goals and 18 assists. However, 14 of those assists have come from corners or free kicks. There’s also the issue of Saiz breaking a leg at the end of last season and at 32 years of age, there’s no knowing how he’ll come back..

As mentioned, I wanted someone more dynamic. Quick, skilful, creative with the ability to make something out of nothing.

Welcome to Girona, Calvin Stengs.

I’d scouted Stengs and had him in my shortlist, and got the alert that he’d been transfer listed for £8.25 million. Immediately, some big teams from across Europe were interested so I moved in quickly. Not wanting to spend most of my budget in one go, I got him on loan for the season with a mandatory fee of the asking price.

After deciding I was happy with my defence, I moved onto the midfield. I needed a replacement for Thuram.

I had three players in my transfer target list for the Deep Lying Playmaker role, and luckily DoF, Quique Carcel, came back having securing the services of my #1 target: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane. Purchased from ES Tunis for £6.5m he can fill any of the roles I might need him for in the centre of the field.

The 23 year-old Tunisian international will initially start in the DLP role, but may also move aside into the Box to Box or Ball Winning Midfielder position.

I made another addition to our stable of midfielders. To help our plan of being more aggressive in midfield, I wanted someone who is a bit of a b*stard. Someone who’ll just run around like a lunatic and tackle people. I wasn’t precious about this though as we already have Ibrahim Kebe, but sometimes a player becomes available who looks fun and you just roll the dice.

Standing proud at 5’6″, Jonathan Gonzalez, a 24-year-old Mexican is a tackling machine with the pace to cover lots of ground to achieve his mission. He still needs to work on the other half of his game and become more comfortable on the ball, but we can work on that. Costing just £350k, it was a gamble worth taking.

My final signing is one I wasn’t planning on making.

After extending the loan deals of both Bustos and Kalimuendo, I was happy going into the season with them as my starting strikers. I mean, Bustos is a bit hit and miss, but he’s on loan so it’s not a big issue. I also have Stuani and Gallar as back ups who are both decent players despite being the wrong side of 30.

The striker I signed had a very impressive season in Ligue 1 but I thought I’d not be able to afford him, however after he refused to sign a new contract with RC Lens, they put him on the transfer list for just £1.8m.

Surely, I can’t pass up 21 goal contributions in Ligue 1 for under £2 million!

Ignatius Ganago, the 24-year-old Cameroonian joins us and I’m obviously hoping his 17 goal season can be replicated in La Liga. He’s still got half a stars worth of improvement to do too.

Finally, with a need to sign a back up left back, I picked up Melvin Bard on loan from OGC Nice. There’s a £8m option to buy but I highly doubt I’ll be picking it up.

The Squad

Here’s the squad which’ll take us into the 2023/24 season. The board just want to avoid relegation, but my aim is securing European football.

The Two Gates

As you’ll know, we have two “ethos gates” which players have to pass through to be true Gironistas – these comprise of a Physical Profile gate and then a Mostly Mentals gate.

Here’s what they all are for the current La Liga season. We do this separately for each group of players, as whilst using the same criteria, as each position has its own requirements they do chance. I.e Pace is higher for strikers than for defenders.

Defenders:

As you can see, we’re struggling massively in the physical profile. Martinez is still young, but I don’t think he’ll improve that much. We’ll have to see what mentoring and game time can do for him. Bernardo and Juanpe both fall down when it comes to quickness, but their mentals are fine.

Fuentes is mainly a midfielder who can play in the centre of defence.

Midfield:

Concentrating first on the new signings, Romdhane is a great fit, and with some technical training should get this 13 up to a 14. Gonzalez is lacking on strength and determination but they’re too low to worry about. His job is to tackle people so as long as he’s going that ok I’ll be happy.

Stengs lacks in bravery, concentration and positioning, but as he’s an attacking midfielder I’m not worried.

Strikers:

Ganogo is a good fit in terms of our two gates. I’ve got him on training to improve his technique and I’ll work on strength after that. Bustos still lacks in work rate, determination and his off the ball skills, which aren’t good for a striker. Apart from having low bravery, Kalimuendo is an excellent fit and hopefully I can make his switch permanent if he has another good season.

That’s all the individual position groups looked at, but what about our team overall? How do we stack up as a whole against the La Liga averages?

We’re pretty average really. We aren’t above average in anything and we’re 1 below average when it comes to bravery and determination, working together as a team and being in the right positions.

Around the league

It’ll come as no surprise that last season’s champions, Real Madrid, are favourites to retain their title, and Barcelona, who finished 5th, are backed to finish in second place.

We’re predicted to finish in 14th, whilst newly promoted Cadiz, Real Sporting and Tenerife are in for a tough season.

Atletico Madrid have been boosted by getting a new manager this season, who is one I’m excited to go up against:

Real Madrid topped the spending charts, and I imagine these totals will rise rapidly before the transfer window slams shut in a few weeks time:

So there we have it, we’re ready to start our 3rd season with Girona FC.

I’ve made a few changes to the tactic so in the next blog I’ll be revisiting the player roles for the 3-4-1-2 and also going through how the tactic works.

One thought on “Girona FC – S3,0: New signings and Season 3 preview”

  1. I think these ones might be my favourite type of posts in the series. Transfers are obviously always exciting and I thoroughly enjoy your approach with it. Good find on the wage budget especially when it allowed you to pick up Stengs. I have high hopes for the lad!

    Like

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