Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
I don’t normally write dedicated transfer special blog posts but when you have a transfer window this mad, it absolutely deserves one. In the summer of 2023, Khaliza Unidi have spent £165 million on no less than 19 new players! And they’ve brought in £37 million by selling 7 players.
One thing to be aware of is that, similar to in England, we need work permits for non-EU players so we can’t go and snap up all the 17-year-old wonderkids from Brazil (unless they have dual nationality).
Let’s start with the boring stuff on the players who will no longer be part of this exciting Khaliza Unidi project. I moved on a few players that hadn’t delivered the previous season, including backup striker Janik Haberer moving to PSV for £5.5 million. The biggest sale was centre-back Mawdood Ranta joining league champions Aldaia for a cool £18 million, which was decent considering he wasn’t great last season.
If you read the season finale article last time out (if not, it’s pretty exciting so go read here!), you’ll know I was lamenting our lack of midfield creativity. So I decided on a bit of a whim to flog both of our previous starters. Sirajuddeen Christiansen (at least I don’t have to spell that anymore) went to Al-Jazira for £6 million and Dirk Proper joined Jeonbuk for £5.25 million.
To find out why… read on below…
14 new signings arrive on the same day!
On the day that the summer transfer window opened we confirmed the signings of 14 players for a combined total of £160 million! That’s easily the most players I’ve ever signed in one fell swoop at the beginning of a transfer window.
So… deep breath. Here goes.
As mentioned above, I’d bemoaned a lack of craft, assists and goals from central midfield last season. To address that, we’ve brought in two players that could be very special for us.
The first is Barcelona midfielder Ilaix Moriba, who was transfer listed for just £34.5 million. I’ve seen this guy go truly world-class for Barca on other saves and he’s still only 20, so I’m hoping this is a great deal.
The other big midfield signing is a player I’m less aware of but have seen do good things on FM. Yacine Adli arrives for £20 million with more money after 50 games from Bordeaux. I don’t know if these guys can play together yet, but if so they could be very special indeed.
Another area I prioritised was centre-back. To fill that I hole I went for a player I know well from previous FMs in Dan-Axel Zagadou, who captained my team early on in the Atalanta Avventura FM19 save. He arrives for a hefty £34.5 million from Hadria, but I think he’s worth it.
The next area of concern was the wings. Calvin Stengs had been good last season but he needed support and our left wing had been really weak. To address that, we tried to keep things Aswijani by bringing in Malikiy left winger Thaaqib Solar. And he has competition from 18-year-old Spaniard Jonathan, who joins for an admittedly very expensive £17.25 million from Celta. However, he’s already worth £44 million.
The player I’m potentially the most excited about is 18-year-old Belgian attacking midfielder Ulrich Awono. We spent £25 million to bring him in from Club Brugge and I think we’ve got ourselves an absolute bargain. He looks absolutely brilliant and he’s already valued at £46 million. We also brought in another option up front in 18-year-old Argentinian striker Gustavo Collado, who cost just £4.9 million from River Plate.
These big money signings have been bolstered by some important loan deals that strengthen the side and add a bit of depth as we look to tackle the Champions League. The pick of these is Brazilian attacking midfielder Reinier from Real Madrid, about whom my coaches seem a bit confused of his actual current potential but I think should provide solid support in midfield.
We also have a star loanee in Spanish centre-back Pascual Rondó from Atletico Madrid, who my coaches rate as our best centre-back – and you’ve gotta love that mohawk. And another Brazilian arrives to provide support for the midfield in Juventus’ Fernando.
We also signed a bunch of exciting young prospects to go straight into the youth team but will be monitored as we progress.
The pick of the bunch is probably 15-year-old holding midfielder Leo Menouar, who arrives for £1.5 million from Qatnis. Rivalling him for position is 16-year-old Bahri Pahrlak, who comes in for £1.2 million from Sejabla Malikiy.
Then there’s exciting 17-year-old Italian centre-back Carlo Vernamonte, who cost £1.8 million from SPAL and has gone on loan to Zaan in Liga Dukh. Speaking of exciting centre-backs brings us to 17-year-old Nicolas Verdier, who arrives for £3 million from Saint Etienne. And the biggest bargain of the lot is 17-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Matheusao, who cost just £245k from Granada.
We also took a risk on a few released Aswijan youngsters, which probably haven’t worked out but were worth a gamble. 17-year-old midfielder Alby Zand and left-back Arthur Rousselle were released by Malikiy and 6’5″ 22-year-old bewitching goalkeeper Julien Salem was released by Siti. We’ll also be signing Argentinian right winger Cristian Lopez from Boca for £245k in January.
These transfers saw us spend the third highest amount of money in Europe, only behind Bayern and PSG. While the Aswijan Liga Regale was the highest spending league in Europe.
I’m intrigued to hear what you make of this transfer activity. I’m well aware that we’ve probably signed too many players and they will need time to bed in. But I’m really excited about some of the young talent we have brought to the club and believe such spending was absolutely necessary to move to the next level.
Let me know your thoughts on our summer signings and, as always, if you have any questions about the save or want more info on specific players at Khaliza Unidi, just let me know in the comments or get in touch on Twitter.