Summer 2016 Újpest mini-update

~~~ Before reading this update, make sure you’ve caught up on our 2015/16 season progress: ~~~ 

It’s only been a day since my last update but a lot’s happened in the FM world of Hungarian football. For a number of reasons, this has turned into probably my biggest off-season at the club and as such I reckon it deserves its own update.

Much of the tail-end of last season was spent around keeping Asmir Suljic happy for the season run in. Eventually, he came to me asking to leave. Following advice on Twitter, I told him he could leave and then buried my head in the sand, rejecting any and all transfer bids that came his way. Once the season finished and I was able to scout out potential replacements, I was far more happy to let him go.

Suljic had been so successful for us because he offered something very different to all our other excellent attacking midfielders. Originally a winger, he was too good to be sold, and converting him into an Advanced Playmaker – Attack worked wonders. He gave excellent contrast to the squad and against teams who were looking to dominate possession, he offered a far more direct threat than the likes of Kosovic, Coco and el Aissati. But a £1.8m and 50% of next sale clause was just too good to turn down. Particularly given I was able to find another quality young winger I could turn into his replacement:

A quick comparison between the two reinforces the opinion than Renfurm is just a younger Suljic (although, with more potential…):

The only real issue in the short-term is that Renfurm can’t actually play centrally at all, apparently. But we’ve got plenty of guys who can do that, whilst he’s learning. Namely, another fantastic addition to the club, Fernando Canesin Matos.

At the point of buying Fernando, I wasn’t looking to make another addition to the squad. However, with a few players away on international friendlies the squad felt even thinner than it actually was. And trawling the transfer market found me a guy who was valued at £2.9m but his club only wanted £875k for him. In terms of overall ability alone, he’s probably the best player in the squad. Unfortunately his main downside is that he doesn’t really fit into any particular role. His poor mental stats mean he isn’t ideal for the AP-A role and his finishing rules him out of playing any further forward. But with the 4-1-2-3-0 system taking a slightly bigger role this year, the addition of yet another attacking midfielder with so much class can’t be a bad thing.

But one guy it was a negative for is new signing Thibault Rosier. Those of you who regularly follow the blog will know how often I raid the French leagues for youngsters and this is no different. Finding 5* Potential Ability youngsters that are transfer listed is always a fantastic way to improve as a small club. Following strong interest from Paris St. Germain, Rosier chose Újpest (yep, I know, what an oddball). But at 4* Current Ability at the age of 17, I was more than excited to get Rosier in. Who know how good he could be? At the point of writing, he’s still yet to score. This is mainly because, despite his ability, the 4-1-2-3-0 has been fantastic throughout the early season. The emergence of Rosier and the adoption of the 4-1-2-3-0 as an alternative approach rather than a genuine plan B means that one of my favourite players, Jarmo Ahjupera, was sold to Dubai’s Al-Ahli. At 32, he was nearing the end of his career and it’s important Rosier gets as much game-time as possible. With this in mind, I also sent Adam Niame out on loan. And in his first game at Diosgyor, he was able to score more goals than in his entire time at Újpest, as he netted a hattrick. Lovely stuff.

One major unexpected bonus of the transfer window was the eventual sale of Belgian central defender Jonathan Heris. Following the sales of stalwarts Juanan and Chema Anton last year, Heris became a vital part of the defensive unit and managed to wrack up over 4000 minutes for the season. This inevitably drew interest in his talents from across the globe. I was never really convinced as the bids were just under the 100k mark — despite being valued at 90k by the game, he was worth far more than that to the club. In the end, I bumped up his asking price to 40m in order to dissuade any potential suitors. A few days later I was met by a bid from the same guys who had been bidding 90-odd-k over and over. Except this time, it was to the tune of £2million. Needless to say, I found a replacement and accepted the transfer. In came Almany Touré on another free transfer.

On the pitch, we’ve produced some wonderful results already. I don’t usually like to talk about early season results in this pre-season mini-update but the 4-1-2-3-0 appears to have re-invigorated the players and we’ve played some great football. The only place we decided we didn’t want to play was when Vaduz came to Újpest and beat us on penalties to knock us out of Europe in the qualifiers for the second year running. Urgh.

The two highlights of the early season for me, are below. The first was started by a wonderful save from want-away keeper Dmitrovic who then started a rapid counter-attack we were able to score from. The second is some Arsenal-esque passing around the edge of the box, also illustrating the impact of playing a winger in central areas.

Whilst I’m here, a few other interesting things happened:
• Kaposvar have been taken over by a tycoon. He’s splashed out over £10m on players thus far which is almost unthinkable for the Hungarian league. Not sure whether this is a good or bad thing. However, this shows the difficulty I’m likely to have; my title rivals are splashing the cash and I’m shipping out my best players.
• Balogh, Szabo and Molnar left the club on free transfers.
• We managed to get revenge on our fierce rivals and last year’s champions, Ferencvaros, with an outstanding 6-1 win. The fans were a little bit happy.

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