Hello Top 100, this is “Hasan Lika” manager of Malaga since 12th of December. I’ve been at the club for 7 matchdays already. During our short tenure we achieved 2 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses. Unfortunately it was too late for the season to be saved and Malaga will finish Div 5 at the bottom of the table. As communicated by the admin team, I will return as the Spanish side’s manager in the next season and hopefully the team manages to do better this time around. In this article I’ve made a summary of the situation at Malaga, highlighting some key points about my team. Malaga surely isn’t among the most interesting sides in Top 100 but nonetheless I hope you find the article interesting.
So far we have done around 20 transfers, mostly unloading some deadwood we found in the team, buying some band aid solution so we can be competitive during our rebuild and acquiring some young players which can turn out to be important assets in the future. Here are two of our most notable deals:
- Tsimikas+Zima for Gray+Mudryk: This is a bit of a gamble from my side. Gray already got his 88 this morning and I expect Tsimikas to follow suit shortly. However, in my judgement, Tsimikas as a player won’t make it past the 88 rating mark, while I think Gray has potential to reach 89/90. He has been Everton’s best player this season and if he keeps it up, certainly he will eventually get there. At 25 he is pretty young too and without doubt our star player at Malaga. The price I paid for having such a player was letting Zima go, the young Czech CB. Sad to see such a player go and I hope I don’t regret it. Anyway, on top of all that we acquired Mudryk, Ukrainian talent who has been linked with a move to Brentford this window. I’m really curious to see how this trade with play out in the future, but I think that taking such a risk was justified. We won’t get out of the slum with someone like Tsimikas, while Gray gives us hope of having a real top player.
- Geiger for cash: I was surprised to see Ajax let Dennis go for cash. I do understand that there may have been some squad cap issues, but I don’t think Geiger is a player who should be released like that. However, I am not complaining. Barring any injuries or sudden drops in form, Geiger might be a starter for us in around 1-2 reviews time. On top of that he’s pretty young at 23, so quite happy with this deal.
Main issues at “La Rosaleda”:
- Lack of trading chips: We simply don’t have enough good players to trade with other teams. There are like 4-5 players (mostly Arana+ few youngsters) which are of interest to other teams, but the other players aren’t among the most exciting ones, to say the least. Now, that’s not to say that there’s nothing to be done with them. They can still give their best on the field and they can always be exchanged with other teams, even if the deals themselves won’t be so sensational.
- Expecting rises from non-top-5 leagues players. I feel like we don’t talk about this a lot. Now, I’m pretty sure literally everyone in Top 100 deals with this problem, but I guess it is felt more at a small team like Malaga. To illustrate the issue: Anthony Ralston (23 years old, 78 rated) has played 16/20 games this season for Celtic as a fullback, 4 goals and 5 assists. Pretty amazing numbers for a fullback. Now, Scotland as a non top-5 league gets reviewed roughly once a year. And we all know that SM likes to give raises in bunches, for example a 78-rated player with these numbers will once be raised to around 82, then he’ll probably get a rise to probably 85. Assuming Scotland gets reviewed after approximately 6 months, it would take such a player 1.5 years to reach an 85 level. Meanwhile if he played in a top 5 league, it would only take half a year. And not to mention what will happen if during these 1.5 years Ralston has a drop in form or a long term injury. Then I will have waited for nothing and I would have taken up a squad place which would have been better used on a young talent. We have a few of these players, such as Sugawara, Mudryk, Vertessen, Reis etc. Because of this, the process of dragging out Malaga out of the mess it is in right now will be a long and painful one.
- High average age of our starting 11 – not much to comment on here, pretty obvious what the issue is with that.
What the future holds
I’d like to have a long tenure at Malaga. Obviously, this is dependent on if I will manage to fulfill my contracts in the upcoming seasons or not, that remains to be seen. But given that I won’t get sacked, I don’t plan on jumping teams for a very long time. I don’t see Malaga as a stepping stone, I see it as my project and a hard challenge, which makes it very interesting, even if it can get a bit frustrating at times. I don’t want to be the manager who trades his young talents for older higher rated players, just so I could get better results and apply for a better job. I genuinely want to make Malaga one of the more attractive sides in Div 5 and beyond.
One point I’d like to address: I won’t make deals for the sake of making deals. I assume a lot of new managers in Top 100 might feel pressured to engage in a lot of internal deals to show that they are active, but that is a trap I’d like to avoid. We can’t afford many mistakes here at Malaga and I will try to be conservative with my trades. That is not to say that I won’t be active in the market. All Malaga players are available for the right offer. It’s just that with the little resources that I have, I must tread very carefully.
The process surely won’t be easy, it’s gonna take a long time. As a plus, our lineup is composed of 86-87 rated players. This means that it isn’t the hardest thing in the world to find band aid solutions for our lineup. Beyond this group of players who will play on the field week in and week out, the other part of our squad will consist of promising players and our gateway to getting Malaga out of the hole that they’re in. I wouldn’t mind some luck here and there, winning a player lottery or two, but even without that I am confident that slowly but surely Malaga will rise. I just hope I’m there to see it all.