So, after spending £49m in the summer, how would the season treat us?
Well, for the first 3 and a half months, fine. We shocked people, only lost 2 games, and found ourselves in 2nd place in the league. The highlights being a great victory against Manchester United, sealed by Josh Tymons 1st goal for the club, and a victory against Liverpool, also at home.
There were a few things I was unhappy with, mainly the situation on the left wing.
Cody Gakpo had started the season well, but, trailed off, and after half a dozen games, he made a couple of mistakes in the match against Crystal Palace which saw the hosts come from 4-2 down to draw in the last 5 minutes.
This made my mind up on him, and Nacho Gil, despite being a natural right winger, became the first choice winger. The Spaniard eventually contributing 9 goals and 3 assists in the first half of the season.
We didn’t advertise it, but, we looked for a deal for Gakpo, and when Monaco came in and offered £15m for the Dutchman, it would see us make a £9m profit in a season (paying £3m to PSV in sell ons).
Also departing, without playing a game, was Toni Martinez.
The 23 year old Spaniard had been sent on loan to Chaves, playing a few games, and caught the eye of Celta, who offered £3m. This saw a £3m profit in less than 6 months on him.
The last outgoing agreed, was Ruben Pena, who would depart on a free transfer to Young Boys.
With a weakness on the left side identified, and Gakpo leaving, we needed reinforcements.
This came in the shape of 19 year old Croatian wonderkid, Antonio Marin.
Having spent a spell at Napoli on loan from his own club, NK Dinamo in 2019/20, there were clubs sniffing around, ready to make a move. A fee of £10m (£5m up front, and £5m in installments) was agreed, as were personal terms, and he joins at the start of January.
The next target to come up was German attacking midfielder/winger, Ellas Abouchabaka. The 20 year old comes in from RBL, having spent 2 seasons at Greuther Furth. At just over £4m, and with 2 Bundesliga appearances (60+ at Bundeliga 2 and 3 Liga), hes a risk, but, the scout reports came back positive on him.
The last ‘main’ signing of the window, was 18 year old Serb, Lazar Sokolov.
I see a bit of an Ivan Rakitic character here, and if he is half as good as the Croat, he’ll be great. 🙂
There are other signings, but, they’ll be to supplement the youth setup, and will go out on loan or be developed until the end of the season.
I feel that a proper finisher is needed, and all being well, we’ll get one by the end of the window.