In the last game of the season, Leicester clinched promotion with a 3-0 win over Athletic Club. We move back to D4 with a much stronger squad than what we left with. However, that doesn’t mean that we are set with the team, and it has already been one of our most impressive “transfer windows” for a while with vast improvements across the squad, throughout the starting, cup and youth teams. So with that in mind, here is a round up of who is out and who is in…
Goalkeeper – First Team
Out – Koen Casteels – 29 – 89
After 2 and a half seasons of 87 rated keepers (Skorupski, Sepe, Mirante, Consigli, Silvestri and Blanco) the opportunity to bring in 89 rated Casteels was too much to turn down, so Blanco and Idrissi left with Casteels and Serdar joining. At 29, Casteels looked like he would be a good option for some time, especially with Wolfsburg impressing last season and gaining Champions League football. On top of that, Casteels averaged a 6.72 rating in his 32 league appearances, making him the 4th best performing keeper in the Bundesliga. If he is able to replicate this form, and Wolfsburg maintain their success from last season there is no reason Casteels can’t rise further. However, we then had the chance to bring in a younger option, which we will discuss shortly. As such we looked to sell Casteels and struck a deal with Athletic Club which sees Guillamon, Chust and Tyukavin arrive in exchange.
In – Emil Audero – 24 – 88
Despite being rated lower, Audero fits my build much better. Being nearly 5 years younger, Audero offers us serious longevity between the posts, while also having great potential. Last season his average rating was 6.81 for Sampdoria, making him the 2nd best keeper in Serie A. This has caught the attention of many top teams with Lazio, Roma, Inter and Juventus all interested in bringing him in. His rating is probably limited whilst he remains at Sampdoria, but a move up the league will surely unlock higher ratings, matching his actual ability. I was really pleased with bringing him in, but he did cost us one of our most promising youths, with Thiago Almada leaving in exchange (he’ll be looked at later).
Goalkeeper – Back Up
Out – Gautier Larsonneur – 24 – 86
Larsonneur is a solid back up option, and is high enough to be a starter in a few teams. He had a great 19/20 season earning a 7.02 average when breaking into the Brest 1st team. Last season, though, his form dropped as he registered a 6.55 in 35 starts, famously smashing the ball against his own post in what was nearly the ultimate own goal. Despite this, it looked a move was on the cards this summer, where he was an option for high spenders Marseille, but they ultimately opted for another option. That left Larsonneur with his role at Brest. This has been thrown into question though as Bizot has been signed and started all 3 league games this season. It’s an unfortunate situation for Larsonneur, who really has the ability to be a starter. Things might look up though as Bundesliga Greuther Furth are rumoured to be interested in the 24-year-old. We let him go pretty cheap, taking a big punt on 17-year-old Bilal Ceylan who recently joined Besiktas in real life.
In – Robert Sanchez – 23 – 85
It’s an odd position to be excited about, but this signing brought a smile to my face. In the 19/20 season he was on loan at League Ones 19th place Rochdale. Even 3 months into last season, fans had only seen him play once in all competitions as he played back up to Matt Ryan. However, in mid-December he won the starting spot and has held it since. Brighton would eventually finish the season 16th, but despite this they had the least goals conceded for teams outside of the traditional “Big 6” with only 46 throughout the season. Only 27 of these came from Sanchez’s 27 games, with the other 19 coming from the 11 he didn’t play. On top of this, Sanchez kept 10 clean sheets. After a fantastic season, he was rewarded with a call up to the Spain squad for the Euros. At Brighton, he should be able to hit 87 or so before having to move to continue his development. While there are no links yet, many bigger Premier League teams are, or will be, on the lookout for a new keeper in the near future, with both Tottenham and Leicester needing to think about replacements soon. While it’s early days, Sanchez has shown that he has the ability to make it at a top team, and at 23 has a long career ahead of him. He joins us in exchange for Luis Suarez, who is a player I like a lot, but fell down my pecking order.
Goalkeeper – Youth back up
Out – Ersin Destanoglu – 20 – 83
This was a really tough one to let go. At 20, Destanoglu is already the Besiktas starting keeper and helped them to win the league last season. He has already made 44 league appearances, conceding only 43 goals and keeping 18 clean sheets. During the sale to Juventus, both DP and I agreed that he would likely hit 85 in the Turkish review. In typical SM fashion, though, the starting keeper of the league champions only got a +1 to 83, which was disappointing to see, even after I had sold him. Throughout the summer he was linked with a move to France, with OGC Nice very keen to bring him in. Lyon were also reported suitors, but it now looks like he will stay in Turkey, which is probably the best scenario as it guarantees him game time at a respectable club. He should already be higher rated, but will certainly keep rising in the future. In exchange, we received Sebastian Walukiewicz and Nehuen Perez, who will both boost our youth defence.
In – Dogan Alemdar – 18 -80
I remember looking at Alemdar when he was external and being limited by the squad cap. Now I am thrilled to be able to add him. He hasn’t joined yet, but will next season and will play back up to Majecki in the youth team. However, at 18 he will be our youth keeper for several seasons to come. He started last season as the back up at Kayserispor, making his league debut in week 12, before becoming the number 1 option in game-week 16. In his 29 senior games last season, he kept 10 clean sheets, which was very impressive considering Kayserispor finished only 1 point above the relegation zone. His strong displays earned him a 6.76 average rating, making him the 3rd best keeper by performance in the league. Many bigger teams took notice of this and he has now completed a move to Stade Rennes, who are well renowned for their scouting and player development. Hopefully he can win the starting spot there and continue his development. We gave Yunus Musah in exchange for Alemdar plus Jack Harrison.
Centre Back – Back Up
Out – Filippo Romagna – 24 – 86
Romagna is a player I like a lot. As a graduate of the Juventus youth academy, there was a lot of expectation from his career. And it looked to be panning out well with 82 senior appearances in all competitions by the age of 22, 59 of which came in Serie A. However, a major injury in March 2020 kept him out for over a year, with his return expected to come early this season. Despite this injury, Sassuolo opted to exercise their option to buy in his loan, showing their faith in him. At 24 he still has time to reignite his career, and is well positioned at Sassuolo where he could rise if he gains a staring spot over the clubs older options of Ferrari and Chiriches. We gave Romagna and youth defender Pelmard for Friedrich.
In – Marvin Friedrich – 25 -87
Friedrich had been a target of mine for a long time. Partially because he is a player I like, and partially because he had been sat on concerns for a long time, hitting Level 4 just before we signed him. After doing well for Union Berlin in the 2.Bundesliga, he adapted well to the top division, earning 6.65 and then 6.93 average rating in his first two seasons. He was instrumental for the team last season as part of a defence which conceded only 43 league goals, this was less than both Bayern and Dortmund. His impressive performances made him the 8th highest ranked centre back in the league last season and he was one of only 3 outfield players to play every minute of every match last season too. Union Berlin also stunned many as they finished 7th, qualifying for the new UEFA Conference League. While he is technically my 3rd choice, he will compete with Mingueza and did start the last 2 games of the season where he scored 2 goals. He was loosely linked to Lille, Monchengladbach and Leverkusen in the Summer, but no formal moves were made. If Union Berlin can fight to another 7th place finish there is no reason he can’t rise further. If they return to lower in the league, though, he may need a move to keep developing. As stated before, we payed Romagna and Pelmard for his services. As further depth options we have also added Walukiewicz and Guillamon.
Right Back – Back Up
Out – None
In – Mert Muldur – 22 – 86
We’ve been “back up-less” at right back this season. Mingueza has been deployed out wide when needed but I have been after a natural option for some time. I’m also very happy with Centonze as a started, but was hoping to bring in a younger option too. At 22, Muldur fill both my needs well. At Sassuolo he has settled well and developed a good competition with Toljan for the starting role. I’m confident that in the mid-long term Muldur will come out on top and continue rising. He also brings us versatility as he can play centre back if needed. He brings a lot of positive attributes, and bringing in a solid young right back proved to be a very tough task, so I’m very pleased to have this one done. Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham have been linked with him this summer, but I wouldn’t expect a move. While I like the move, we did pay big. Guilherme Pedro and Jacob Ramsey will head to Barca in exchange, but I’m hopeful that long term it will be a smart swap.
Centre Midfield – Back Up
Out – Sander Berge – 23 – 87
Berge was one of my first signings at Leicester, and one that I had great hope for. But he made a poor choice moving to Sheffield United and failed to really get going. While the club looked good when he arrived midway through the 19/20 season, their form dropped off and never came back with the team losing their last 3 games of the season, and failing to win in their opening 17 games of the 20/21 campaign. Berge himself had a tough time, earning a 6.43 average from his 15 total league games. He would also miss the other 23 through injury. With the club now in the Championship, they are yet to win any of their opening 4, however, Berge is strongly linked with a move away with Napoli said to be very keen on him. He had bags of potential upon his arrival at Sheffield, so much so that Man United fans were excited when they thought they had signed him (but it actually turned out to be a 15-year-old keeper), but it just hasn’t panned out correctly for him with the clubs fortunes changing and him picking up injuries. A move to Napoli would certainly be a boost to him and should help him get closer to what was expected of him. Berge was involved in a big deal which saw him move to Cologne in exchange for Yusuf Demir, with Arribas and Martins also due to head to Germany next season.
In – Ibrahima Diallo – 22 – 85
This one seems like a clear downgrade when looking at the names. Berge is a big name on paper, while Diallo was a bit more under the radar when he joined Southampton. Despite being eased in slowly, he has featured in all but one of the last 12 games. While he didn’t turn in any eye catching appearances, he was solid and gained good game time in a new league. This year he will hope to build on that, and look to establish himself as a solid league player, as many at Southampton do. He has already featured in both games off the bench. While it’s hard to judge his potential at the moment, if he is able to push into the Southampton team then he could quite easily reach 87 by next summer. At 22 there is no rush for him, and I trust the scouting of the Saints to be right on this one. With Diallo I also received Pelmard, with Benrahma and Gunther moving in exchange.
Winger – Back Up
Out – None
In – Jack Harrison – 24 – 87
Staring last season we had a complete lack of width. Since then we have added Dudu, Balde, Serdar and Eze. On paper our back ups were Faivre and Sinisterra, who am very happy with, but Harrison brings a more immediate option, with the ability to challenge for a starting spot immediately. Harrison had a great season last year for Leeds, scoring 8 and assisting 8 in his first premier league season, earning a 7.05 average rating when playing from the left. If he is able to replicate this sort of form again this season then he will be on for another solid rise taking him further into starting contention for us. At 24, he is young enough to be considered in our long term plans, and will likely have a big role to play down the line. He came in with Alemdar for Musah.
Winger – Youth
Out – Thiago Almada – 20 – 85
When we signed Almada he was one of our top prospects and I hoped he would be with us for a long time. There were doubts from the start though. Some legal issues in Argentina cast big questions in my head before we confirmed the move. A move to Marseille then looked likely as the French team underwent a major rebuild. This fell through though, and he then looked likely to join Atalanta United, which also fell through, due to visa issues. He is set to join them in January though, leaving me unsure about my confidence in him. He is absolutely a promising player, but I don’t know whether the MLS is the correct place for his development. From Velez, the most comparable player is Matias Vargas, who had a similar style of play and similar stats during his time at the club. He has failed to live up to his expectations in Europe, struggling at Espanyol. In terms of Atalanta, Barco was also a promising young Argentine, who hasn’t panned out as expected. In the MLS, Almada could certainly rise, but he will need a move to Europe to really develop. He was sensational in game for us, scoring 5 goals and assisting 11 on the way to winning the Youth Shield (was very surprised to see him not make the top players list recently). He was swapped for Emil Audero.
In – Yusuf Demir – 18 – 82
We had been chasing Demir for some time, and the clubs change in management facilitated the move. After an impressive debut senior season in Austria last season, Demir has completed a loan move to Barcelona where he was due to join the B team. But after just a few weeks he had already impressed enough to be included in the first team, featuring regularly in pre-season and making his first league appearance off the bench against Athletic Bilbao. While he is only on loan, Barcelona have the option to make the move permanent, an option which already looks likely to be taken up. If he is able to keep a regular role in the team he should quite easily reach 87 by next summer and then onwards from there. He cost us a lot, with Berge, Arribas and Martin all going to Cologne in exchange.
We have a few other youths or lower rated senior players also joining, and will continue to look to improve the team at every opportunity. The team is looking great at the moment with depth that I am very happy with. We also have a “future” option at every position with either the current or potential ability to be a long term regular for us.
With the current squad, here is how our 1st team, Cup team and Youth team will line up next season.