06|01 PRESEASON: PREPARING FOR LIFE IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!

seasonSix.episodeOne | Preseason

Whether it was the preseason clearout or that we just had a higher quality of players last season, something changed. We stepped up our game and we gave Juventus a very good run for their money.

However, I’m not nieve enough to think that we can repeat that feat this season. In fact, I will be surprised if we get Champions League football again next season. At odds of 40-1 to win the league, midtable is where we are expected to finish again.

Champions League has to be the aim though, right? The riches of Europe’s premier competition will help fund the development plans I have at Parma.

TRANSFER BUSINESS

Despite getting Champions League football, the budgets were fairly similar to last season. I didn’t change my Director of Football, so it was down to Daniele Faggiano to bring in the players I needed for the season ahead. Primarily defenders.

But, as with most of our transfer dealings, we didn’t get what we wanted.

Simone Scuffet | €3.9m from Udinese

I didn’t really plan on replacing Zommers in goal, however, Scuffet came on the market and I had to pounce. At 26 years old he STILL has the best years ahead. I’m hoping he can help us at the back where our defenders might fail me.

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Paul van Wegen | €775k from NEC Nijmegen

Paul is one for the future, but he can probably offer some cover for the first team if required. He still has a lot of development ahead, but my scouts thought it was worth taking a risk on him.

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Marco Friedl | Loan from Swansea

Marco offers an interesting option for us. He can play on the left or in central defence. He will add some much needed cover in the central areas if we happen to be short but also able to cover out wide should we need it.

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Ádám Hegedüs | Free Transfer

I was a little shocked to see Adam without a club. Very well suited to Serie A he is of a defensive build but should offer a good enough understudy to James as a left Wing-Back. Given the low wages and that he was free, I thought he was worth a gamble.

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Wendel | Free Transfer from Real Madrid

I didn’t think we could pull off this transfer, but Daniele has done well. I’m disappointed with the huge wage offered, but if he can plug the midfield gap we have after letting three central midfielders leave in the summer then he will be worth it.

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Jordi Mboula | Loan

Mboula had a great season with us last year, so I decided to sign him up on loan for another two seasons. This should give us some much-needed cover as we continue to play a demanding fixture list.

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THE PRESEASON RESULTS

I have changed the system a little bit to try to get the most out of Wendel. I am playing him as an Advanced Playmaker on Support (rather than Central Midfielder on Support) in a hope that the team will look to find him and use him more. It should also help reduce our reliance on the wings and crosses and offer a new dynamic to our play.

To help with this transition, I will also deploy an Advanced Forward in the striker rather than a poacher, to help build up through the central areas.

The results of preseason are as follows.

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All in all, a satisfactory set of results.

There will be no targets this season in terms of points or goals. A simple target of reentry to the Champions League is all I ask for. Because with our group; Real Madrid, Liverpool, and RB Leipzig, it’s going to be a short stay this season.

We have AC Milan, Real Madrid and Inter Milan back-to-back opening the season. A baptism of fire and a good test of the progress we are making.

Until next time, arrivederci.

O.Jensen

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