Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
A summer of major rebuilding was looking necessary if Zagora Athletik were to stand a fighting chance in their second season in Liga Regale. That was, if we stayed with Zagora for another year.
The summer began with Aswijan Siti unsurprisingly disregarding my application for their vacant manager role. However, I then we got offered an interview with Khaliza Undidi, who just fired Marcelo Bielsa for finishing 8th, for which I hadn’t applied. The interview seemed to go fairly well, other than them picking out the sour atmosphere that’s developed at Zagora. And they came back to me with my staff changes request exactly 24 hours later.
Then another day later they came back with an offer. And it was huge!! Remember, Zagora have a bank balance of £10 million, transfer budget of £5 million, a monthly wage budget of £140k, and just dropped our transfer revenue retain ratio to just 10%. And I was earning £5k-per-week.
Khaliza offered us a transfer budget of £107 million – a more than 21-fold increase – and a wage budget of £1.9 million – more than 13 times what Zagora had. It was a no brainer. I signed a deal worth £9k-a-week, and I don’t care who you are, you don’t turn down an offer to double your wages.
To put our achievements with Zagora in context, the reputation rankings had Zagora Athletik listed as the 40th most reputable club in the country – below 4 Liga Dukh sides! But now we were moving onwards and upwards.
Who are Khaliza Undidi?
Khaliza Undidi play in the major city of Khaliza, which is on the north-west coast of the nation in the Aswijan State and is home to around 500,000 people. The club was founded in 1897 but, as yet, has no major honours to its name. It is fierce rivals with Liga Dukh side Sporting Club Khaliza Konin (SCKK) and has three derby matches: the Khaliza Derby with SCKK, La Fogo Derby with Liga Regale side Hamjar and La Mukho Derby with ACAT in Liga Principale.
So far in this save they have finished 7th, 7th, 8th and are looking to push onto the next level to play European football.
The club play at the 59,508 capacity Ard di Magia, which was built in 2010, have state-of-the-art training facilities and excellent youth facilities but only adequate academy coaching, average youth recruitment and basic data analysis facilities.
The club has £218 million in the bank but strangely had zero up until a year into the save, so I’m guessing they had some kind of takeover in the second summer. And the good news is that, unlike Zagora, they are fully debt-free.
Meet the Khaliza squad
Khaliza seem to have a decent squad with plenty of new names and a few you will recognise. So let’s briefly break it down by position.
Our first-choice goalkeeper is Nuhad Hu, who looks… alright. His backup Kuga Ithhobbal is 31 and not very good. I’ve already asked for a scout report on our Zagora stopper Rune Azevedo as a potential replacement.
First choice is someone you’ll likely be aware of, former Spurs player Kyle Walker-Peters. He looks decent and played well last season. His backup is Swiss player Silvan Hefti, so I might go looking for a new young right-back.
Current first-choice is Dutchman Thomas Ouwejan, who looks decent enough, but I’m excited about the potential of 19-year-old Wilfred Ganim.
This looks like a position of strength led by Mawdood Ranta, whose name I love and he can also play at left-back. He’s supported by a cast of 3-star players in Mladen Lebeau, Marcos Maloof and 22-year-old Adam Hemmingsen, who for some reason is the club’s only member of favoured personnel and looks decent.
Our best midfield talent is Sirajuddeen Christensen, who can play in the middle of the park, behind the striker or on the wing. Ouwejan can also play in midfield then there’s Norwegian Ole Kristian Selnaes, who averaged 7.41, got 8 assists and 6 player of the match awards from just 19 matches last season despite not looking that amazing. Then there’s not too much else to work with, so this is an area I’m looking to strengthen.
This is where things get a bit more interesting, as Khaliza have signed Erik Lamela and Anthony Knockaert. A big issue with this is that I dislike both of these players, so they may find themselves moving on!
Another name you’ll recognise is Diego Laxalt, who can play anywhere down the left flank. Nando Mattioli is also a decent option who can play on the left or right.
This nicely brings us to what I think is our best player, Ryong Nieminen. He can play on the left or up front naturally and is a 20-year-old wonderkid. Other options include German Janik Haberer, who looks relatively average, and not a lot else.
Here’s the full squad rated on ability:
First team aside, there is a wealth of exciting talent coming through the ranks at Khaliza with 6 players that have 5-star potential. The pick of the bunch is 14-year-old striker Teo Bruno, as well as 15-year-old winger D’Ambrosio Balkan, who champions Aswijan Malikiy are already sniffing around.
Nearly as good as this pair are brilliantly named 16-year-old striker Fukutsuchi Timsit, 15-year-old strikers Priamo Bourdon and Liborio Magnier and right winger Adalardo Ariztia. Strangely, all our hot prospects are attackers! However, players under 16 cannot play in the first-team, which is good to remember.
Join us next time to find out how we go about settling into our second club in Aswijan and how our first transfer window with Khaliza Unidi.