Aswijan Assignment: Part 14 – Welcome to Khaliza

Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.

In yesterday’s speciak Aswijan Assignment post, we saw Zagora Athletik manager Trebor Mahtal make the step up to the next level of Aswijani football by taking the reigns at Khaliza Unidi. Interestingly, Zagora replaced me with Maarten Stekelenburg!

Summer sales

I stamped my presence on Khaliza within three weeks of becoming manager, by breaking the club’s records for incoming transfer fees. And the folks of Khaliza would soon realise how much I hate average player aged between 27 and 30.

Backup midfielder Rashaad Picone joined Ukrainian side Jorya for £10.5 million and 29-year-old South Korean winger Lee Jae-Sung went to Berche 08 for a massive £16.5 million. Those two sales alone broke the club’s record income for a season.

One of my first actions upon becoming Khaliza manager was to transfer list 30-year-old Anthony Knockaert, and he joined Club Brugge for a decent £7 million. We also great a deal in selling 29-year-old Diego Laxalt, who was never going to get a game, to Al-Sadd for a cool £12.5 million, having joined for £4.4 million two years ago.

Backup striker Dorian Lundell joined our former club Zagora for £1.1 million and midfielder Mikael Utica, who we’d loaned at Zagora last season, went to Talat for £775k. While surplus left winger Nando Mattioli went to SCM for a very respectable £6 million.

The biggest sale of the summer came as 28-year-old midfielder Ole Kristian Selnaes, who didn’t look great despite some decent form, attracted interest from China. One team offered £20 million, which I entertained, then Shanghai Shenhua came in with £30 million, which was impossible to refuse. And that set a new club record sale.

Summer signings

Of course, this meant that incomings would be required to bolster the ranks. And we now had at least £150 million to play with should we want to.

The first major signing was 20-year-old Dutch midfielder Dirk Proper, who arrived for just £2.5 million from Napoli. I think he has what it takes to be a good player and provides solid backup in centre midfield.

Just as we’d broken the club’s record sale, we then also smashed its record purchase twice on the same day. Firstly, midfielder Gustavo Assuncao came in for £15 million from FC Famalicao in Portugal.

Then we made the £30 million signing of 23-year-old Dutch winger Calvin Stengs from AZ Alkmaar. I’ve seen this guy go for huge money on FM before but never signed him, so I’m hopeful we’ve got a great deal.

Attacking options were also bolstered with two loan signings in winger Francisco Trincao from Barcelona and attacking midfielder Óscar from Real Madrid. And another loan arrived in Eskopas Buccieri from Aswijan Siti.

A couple of young prospects also arrived, of which the pick is absolutely 18-year-old Italian striker Michele Mari, who only cost us £3.7 million from Milan, who signed him for £5 million from Napoli 12 months ago. This kid looks special – 17 finishing, flair and acceleration, 16 pace and work rate, 15 heading is my kind of striker.

In other news, Aswijan Malikiy snapped up Kai Havertz on a free transfer. We put in a bid for him after he left Bayer Leverkusen (not sure how he was able to do that) but he wanted £300k-a-week from us. Strangely, he’s accepted £205k-a-week at Malikiy. But he will rip this league apart.

Despite all of these signings we actually made a profit in the summer. We spent £61 million on new players but brought in £82 million of sales.

Getting started with Khaliza

Pre-season went pretty well, including beating Bayern Munich 1-0! But life wit Khaliza began with the most difficult task possible, playing Aswijan Malikiy away on the opening day. And that was made even more difficult by our first choice goalkeeper and centre-back getting injured in the week before the season opener.

However, we put in a really good effort against Malikiy, twice coming back to equalise wth goals from Silvan Hefti and Ryong Nieminen, only for Havertz – obviosuly – to nick it in the last minute. But there was a lot about this performance to be enthused about, particularly the performances of Sirajuddeen Christiansen and debutants Assuncao and Proper in midfield.

But we got our first win on the board in a dominant performance at home to FC Lakhra. Trincao scored his first goal for the club with a superb free-kick from 30 yards before we battered them with 18 shots to 1 but couldn’t add another goal, which was a slight concern.

Another tough away day followed as we went to Marrador FC, but our record signing picked the perfect time to step up. Stengs had done nothing in his first few games but, a goal down at Marrador after almost half an hour, he went on a mazy run down the right to lay on an equaliser for Nieminen. Then 10 minutes later he ran down the right, cut inside, jinked his way past two defenders and poked a cheeky chipped finish past the keeper. We held on through a quiet second half for a huge win.

Returning to Zagora

Our fourth league match with Khaliza once again took us on the road but this time it saw me return to former club Zagora, who had lost all of their four matches.

Things didn’t start well as Arkadios Gram lofted a cross to the back post for new signing Nevin Chapman to score with Zagora’s first shot – because of course. I sent us straight on the attack and we had 14 shots by half-time and scored… none – of course.

I threw on a second striker and Stengs again stepped up to draw us level with a powerful long-range shot after 68 minutes, then that sub striker Janik Haberer heading us ahead 11 minutes later. Our attacking efforts eventually paid off as Nieminen took his tally to 4 for the season with two goals in the last five minutes to seal a 4-1 win. It took a while to come, but the boys eventually put in a strong performance to defeat my former club.

We then welcomed top of the league Wabani to town and started well for a change as Proper bent a lovely effort into the top corner for his first Khaliza goal. But the visitors responded with a goal from Dutch winger Bobby Adekanye 11 minutes later. Not a lot else happened until Nieminen won a penalty and Trincao stepped up, only to miss, but we gained a 1-1 draw.

Next up was a trip to Berche 08, where of course I’d lost 5-0 with Zagora the previous season. I’d decided to drop Trincao and shift Nieminen to the left with Haberer coming in up front. A very dull first half was instantly forgotten, I asked the lads for a little more and our two main men delivered just before the hour mark. Stengs put in a great run down the right and crossed for Nieminen to head home his 5th goal of the season.

That moved us up to 2nd in the league thanks to five games unbeaten, although several teams have games in hand on us.

And on the back of our good form, Nieminen took home the Iuvento Libando di la Mes (young player of the month) and Adelan di la Mes (striker of the month) for September.

Join us next time as we push on into our first season with Khaliza Unidi in our fourth season in Aswijan.

I hope you’re enjoying this Aswijan save and it’d be great to hear your thoughts on our move from Zagora to Khaliza. If you want more info on specific players in the squad just let me know in the comments or get in touch on Twitter.

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