All Change At 1.FC Union Berlin.
New ‘Gaffer’ Alex McLean arrived at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei at the tail end of last season in TOP 120. He was pleasantly surprised at the quality of some of the ‘jewels’ at the club, but with an 89 rated First XI, and with changes on the horizon in terms of both squad depth and age of players, he quickly realised that wholesale change was required to keep the club competitive againt their peers.
Out went Pau Torres, Manuel Locatelli, Arnaud Kalimuendo, Sergio Gomez and Unai Simon and in came Ruben Dias, Alphonso Davies, Nicolo Barella and Mikel Oyarzabel!
Our stadium size means we have to husband resources with great care and delicacy. So the gaffer went on a ‘bargain hunt’, looking for players that were A) Extremely cheap and would fit straight into the first XI, and B) Had great resale value after the summer appraisal of all the top leagues.
With a tight recruitment policy in place McLean still managed to steal Kevin Trapp on a free for just £5M, Manchester City Icon, the Magician, David Silva on a free for £900k, Edin Dzeko for just £1.6M, Newcastle’s Dan Burn for just £5.1M, new villa signing Alex Moreno on a free for just £5.6M and Kieran Trippier for £7.4M.
Terrific business all in.
But even before all the major spending for the first team, McLean had already identified some of the very best youth talent in the world at 18 and under, with one, Ewan Ferguson of Brighton And Hove Albion, already receiving dividends with a +5!
Amongst the youths aquired, managers might be familiar with the likes of Wisdom Amey, Prince Aning, Kendry Paez, Rodrigo Mora, Lucas Lorran, Dean Huijsen, Santiago Hidalgo, Joel Roca, Ezechiel Banzuzi and Mark Gevorgyan ( Who was sensational in the RB Salzburg fightback against Young Boys Bern last week in the UEFA Youth League!).
McLean is buiding a blockbuster academy on meagre resources. The future of Union is looking very rosy!