Having wrapped up a sixth-placed finish in Serie A in season one, a busy summer was now ahead with a mass of players returning from loans and several players becoming unsettled.
The second summer of transfer activity saw no fewer than 54 players leave the club, and just 14 come into the club.
First up, Bryan Cristante and Franck Kessie completed their arranged transfers to AS Roma and AC Milan respectively, then we received an offer of £15 million for holding midfielder Marten De Roon from Fulham, which was too much to turn down.
10 players left on free transfers, then I started selling off ageing backup players and players that were nowhere near having the potential to make it, such as Gabriel Lunetta and Patrick Asmah, for minimal fees.
I even managed to get decent money out of some really average players. For example, Bryan Cabezas moved to Galatasaray for £4.3 million, bang average striker Andrea Patagna went to Fiorentina for £4.9 million, 27-year-old goalkeeper Marco Sportiello moved to Fulham for £2.9 million, and we got £2.1 million for both Andreas Cornelius and Nicholas Haas.
Then a whole host of young players went out on loan, including exciting talents like Dejan Kulusevski, Luca Valzania, Raul Zuballiga and Davide Bettella.
There was plenty of work to do to replace some of the outgoing players, particularly the right-back area, centre-back and holding midfield.
Our first signing was 21-year-old centre-back Marco Varnier from Cittadella, then young winger/striker Johannes Eggestein joined on a free transfer.
I retained an eye on young talent, with Cosimo Marca De Graca signing for just £1 million from Palermo then going out on loan for a season, Nicholas Dyhr signing from FC Midtjylland, alongside two 18-year-olds in defender Anthony Rouault from Toulouse and midfielder Filippo Renocchia from Perugia.
Two players arrived from Borussia Dortmund, with young centre-back Dan-Axel Zagadou costing just £3.5 million and the loan signing of Dzenis Burnic providing support in midfield.
The right-back gap was filled by the club record £12.5 million signing of Josha Vagnoman, and a loan deal for Chelsea’s Reece James. Then another loan deal saw the holding midfield position strengthened as Frenkie De Jong arrived from Tottenham Hotspur for the season.
And the signings were completed by two further loan deals for Monaco attacking midfielder Boschilia and another Chelsea youngster in midfielder Mason Mount.
These transfer dealings saw us bring in £69 million, while we spent just £25 million – meaning a profit of £44 million and a massive reduction in wage spending.
I’m expecting a tough season as we’re still waiting on plenty of young players to reach their potential but they will be getting a chance in the first team. However, plenty of big players in Serie A have moved on – such as Sergej Milinkovic Savic (to Man City), Suso (Man United), Alessandro Florenzi (Barcelona) – and hardly any of the other teams have spent much money.
Join us next time as we begin our second campaign in Bergamo.
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