Following a text-less update for the 2018-19 season, I’m somewhat re-invigorated and so you’re back to having to read words. Unlucky. I’ve still got some pretty pictures though.
A domestic quadruple was always going to be the most we could hope for as we’re still some way off making a dent in Europe. I consider us to be firmly in the ‘Continental Consolidation’ phase of the club’s development — winning every single domestic trophy suggests we’ve gone past the ‘Domestic Dominance’ phase. But this progression has been a bit of a bitch in terms of keeping player wages down. Several key players had contracts expiring at the end of the 2019-20 season meaning we either had to negotiate a new deal or risk losing them on a free transfer. The three main men were Nassir el Aissati, Kadú and Fernando Canesin Matos; all signed new deals worth £6k, £6.5k and £4.2k p/w. As manager I’ve spent very little on transfer fees, meaning our finances are excellent and we’ve got a massive wage budget; following the end of the 2019-20 season, we were spending £77k p/w on wages with a total budget of over £300k p/w. But giving those wages to guys who were happily accepting ~£1.5k p/w only a few seasons ago grates me slightly.
Those guys were able to contribute to another really successful season though. Unfortunately we weren’t able to replicate the quadruple after being eliminated in the Hungarian Cup, but we won everything else.
Our time in the Champions League was also short-lived. But that was expected — the goal is just to make it to the group stage every year whilst building the club and squad to be able to eventually reach the quarter-finals or so by 2026. We were drawn in the group of death, only managing three points, but it came from what was probably my biggest win as Újpest manager, with a 2-1 upset in Marseille’s backyard.
Under the Spotlight: Fernando Canesin Matos
During my time at Wolves on FM13, one of the major squad development rules I went by was to sell a player once they reached the age of 28. There were very few exceptions to this rule; Wolves’ academy products, goalkeepers, and players with no immediate replacement available. It worked extremely well and as a result it’s something I’m looking to bring in now, with Újpest. Obviously we’re a much smaller club than when I was at Wolves, but the principle remains the same. Selling at the age of 28 means you get a year or two of the player’s peak, but are also able to regain a large amount of profit on him before his value begins to plummet.
The reason I’m telling you all this is because one of my more important players over the past few years, Fernando Canesin Matos, has turned 28. Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that Fernando has been a revelation since he was signed for £875k in 2016. The season he joined, we went on to win the league, and haven’t looked back since. But now, I’ve decided to sell him. And here’s why.
Above is a radar showing his stats as they progress from 2016-17 all the way to the most recent season, 2019-20.
note: as far as I can see, FM doesn’t actually have ‘through-ball’ or ‘dispossessed’ stats, so I’ve left them at the mid-level for each time.
note 2: this idea came from @mixedknuts on Twitter, who uses a similar graphical representation of real life football performances. Well worth checking out.
The main thing this gif shows me is that he’s having less and less of a creative influence as the seasons have gone on. Every year, he had been maxing out the ‘Assist’ stat, with a value over 0.4 — however, last season he dropped down to 0.19. And this was probably one I could see coming, from the gradual season-on-season drop in his ‘Key Passes’ stat. Whilst he’s become more of a goal-threat each year, this just isn’t what I’m looking for. Before we found Thibault Rosier, I was considering using a strikerless 4-1-2-3-0 where Canesin Matos would be the team’s primary goal-threat. However, as Rosier has developed, and Máté Halgas has come through the youth teams, we’ve moved more and more away from that system. As a result, the most important thing to come from the attacking midfield strata is creativity; something Canesin Matos has been lacking in recent seasons. In comparison, Márió Németh, Aristote Ndongala and Nassir el Aissati all had Assist per 90 values of over 0.40.
Canesin Matos had been a valuable asset, but it’s a cut-throat world is the Hungarian football league.
Transfers and Change in Wage Structure
As I briefly alluded to earlier, we’ve had to massive increase the wages of some of our players and it’s been no different with new recruits. They all seem to know that the Champions League cash is lining our pockets and the best players all seem to want a lot more now. Bloody agents.
Despite that, we were able to make some really handy signings, as well as a couple of loan deals to pad out the squad & keep the finances in check.
Breaking the club’s record transfer fee, with £1.6m, was Filip Jech. Hefty wages and transfer fee, but I fell in love as soon as I saw him. We needed a box-to-box midfielder to replace departing captain Bojan Sankovic and Jech was the man for the job. And at only 19 (18 at time of purchase), he’s got lots of growing to do. Will be a key man for years to come, and probably the first purchase I’ve made where I’m confident the player could immediately come in and do a job at the Champions League level.
Another key signing for the first-team was Emmanuel Adebayo. Mainly because he’s a wonderful CWB on the right hand-side, but also partly because of his great name. I like to think the fans sing “fuck Adebayor, fuck Adebayoooor, we’ve got Adebayo, fuck Adebayor”, but I don’t know how well that translates into Hungarian…
And last but not least is January signing Márió Németh. The club had been courting him for a while, but the time had never been right to buy him. But to see a Hungarian talent with his much potential going to waste at Debrecen was hurting me inside so I decided to take him on as Fernando Canesin Matos’ replacement. Ever since then, he’s done remarkably well and it’s been difficult to leave him out of the team. 0.80 A P90 and 1.17 NPG+A P 90 are just too nice.
It’s been a while since I’ve shown anything on how the club’s infrastructure is progressing so check this out.
Top training facilities, and we should have top youth facilities by the end of the calendar year. Not bad.