So, going into January, the aim was to consolidate our position, and try to finish as high up the table as possible.
First, we had to negotiate the January transfer window, something, which, we did pretty well, with only David Brooks and Jack Harrison coming in, for a total of £11m. The door didn’t stop there, with, nearly £85m of outgoing transfer fees coming in, the big one being £40m for Blas Sever, who departs for Tottenham.
Other key departures were Xadas, who hadn’t played a great deal this season, Bernardo Mosso, who fell out with me at the end of the August window, as no offers came in for him, and first choice keeper, David Raya.
Letting Raya go to Monaco was a tough decision, however, in Charlie Le Fondre and Stig Skjaeveland, there were 2 youngsters who had the potential to be long term standouts for us. 19 year old Le Fondre, an England U21 international, had been on loan at Ipswich in the Championship in the first half of the season, and returned.
The other issue was a replacement for Sever. We would lose a lot of dynamism with him leaving, however, the scouting network came up trumps, locating another South American potential superstar, plying his trade in Columbia at Atletico Nacional, and, for £600k, Victor Hugo De Alba comes to the club in June, meaning that Perdomo and Bauer would see out the season as first choices.
Comparisons with Sever are easy to make, and the young Columbian will fit his role well.
A second Columbian was also arriving in July, this one had been plying his trade in North America, at NYCFC, and was again, really highly rated on the scout reports.
Other than that, theres a couple of youngsters coming in just to top up the squads.
Back to League news, we confirmed Europa League qualification with a couple of games left, our form, naturally dropped off after the sale of Sever, who had been a massive part of the defence, but, we were overachieving on my plan by at least a season, so, the experience for a lot of the younger players would be quite good.
The U23s won their respective league, with Marcel Diabate top scoring , and the U18s winning their division, then losing the U18 Premier League final on penalties, as well as a defeat in the Youth Cup Final.
Young Spanish striker, Alvaro, a product of our 2021 youth intake, scoring over 30 goals in the season.
A 7th place finish was good, but, I felt we collapsed a fair bit in the 2nd half of the season.