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[FM22] Parma, reviving the Gialloblu


KlaaZ
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After reaching what I feel was my limits in my Norwegian adventure, I was looking for something in a bigger league, more to the south. Italy has a lot of great clubs that have been financially mismanaged in recent years, and Parma is one of them. After enjoying a great spell between 1989 and 2004 with a runner up place in the league in 1997 under Ancelotti, three domestic cup wins and two European cups. Unfortunately, the club went into administration in 2004 and although it seemed rehabilitated at some point, went bankrupt in 2015. The situation was so bad that the administrators even had to put up some of the hard earned trophies for sale. 

Parma restarted in the Serie D in 2015 and after skyrocketing back to the Serie A, unfortunately got relegated in 2021. This makes them the favorites to become Serie B champions and take back their rightful place on the highest level.

The squad, after a first assessment, actually has an amazing mix of experience and young talent. With Buffon (born leader), Pandev (model professional) and Danilo (perfectionist), they have three very strong personalities in their ranks. At the other end of the age list, Botond Balogh, Vasilis Zagaritis, Simon Sohm and Lautaro Valenti are youngsters with a lot of potential.

I haven't managed in Italy since FM15 or 16, when I took over Roma in a journeyman save, so this will be a very new experience for me.

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Season 2021-2022: Transfer news

Parma have already done a boatload of transfers at the start of the game, for a wopping 23.5M in total, which left me with about 4M in transfer budget. Because of a very pessimistic forecast which would see us in the red before long, I decided to be very conservative with that money. We bring in one midfielder, Romain Amalfitano, on a free transfer after he was released by Al-Faisaly, as we are short on attacking profiles in the central midfield. And after the transfer market closed, we also arranged the future transfer of my former Bodo/Glimt favourite, Tomas Araujo, in a deal that can run up to 2.9M. 

 

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These kinds of games are really starting to annoy me, I dropped points at least six times in this fashion, and now it's an early cup exit. Might as well play without a goalkeeper, Buffon's been surprisingly embarassing so far and Colombi, his backup, isn't faring any better. 

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Season 2021-2022: Mid year review

Serie B

We're halfway, and after a shaky start things are looking up. The good news is that we were unbeaten in the first five games but the downside was that three of those games were draws. Indeed, we were not finishing off the games where we were the better team, dropping quite a few points in the process. To make things worse, we lost two out of the next four games, at home against Lecce (again dominating the game) and away against title contenders Benevento who scored the winner in the 91st minute. 

Things have picked up after that and we even managed to keep a clean sheet in our four last league games, grabbing 25 points from out last ten games before the break. This leaves us in third place, tied with Benevento for second and two points behind Brescia. 

The good news is that our new signing, Amalfitano, has been excellent as a Mezzala. Our youngsters are also doing very well and it's surprisingly a few older players (Pandev, Buffon) who are playing below expectations. Vazquez was in the same boat but is improving now that I've moved him to the right wing.

Coppa Italia

We narrowly beat Lecce 3-2 in the first round and then completely played Sampdoria off of their own pitch but didn't get the reward we deserved. 

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2021-2022: January transfer window

As confirmed earlier, Araujo joins the club. He replaces Danilo, who leaves for Pumas as he wasn't playing much. We also sign the son of an infamous defender, Daniel Maldini, with the prospect of making the move permanent for a fee of 5.25M. They do have the option to buy him back though. 

 

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2021-2022: January transfer window

Some more transfer news! Drissa Camara moves to Ulsan for 575k and a percentage on future sale, Sprocati moves to SPAL for 675k. We spend the money on one newcomer, a creative midfielder. Jaime Seoane is a 25-year old Spaniard who comes over from Huesca for 1.1M.

 

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2021-2022: Season review

Serie B

We had a very average start to the season. We narrowly won our opening game against Vicenza but then drew three out of the four next games (breaking this run with a great 3-1 victory over title rivals Brescia, which would prove crucial at the end of the season). We then went on to win three and lose two, leaving us in fifth position after ten games, already five points behind surprise leaders Cremonense.

After a bit of a mixed bag in early november, picking up two wins, a draw and a loss, we did a bit of tactical tinkering and won the last five games before the winter break, seeing us move up to third but still seven points behind Brescia who were on top.

January and the first half of Feburary started off terribly. In five games, we lost away at Vicenza and Brescia, and at home against Perugia, drew at home against Pordenone and only managed a narrow 1-0 win against Ascoli. And just when I thought direct promotion was out of the question, things clicked (also thanks to some solid advice from the tactics part of this forum). We moved Vazquez to the striker position and he thanked us by scoring eleven goals in the final thirteen games. 

Even more impressively, we went on an unbeaten run. Nine wins and a draw moved us to second place, one point behind Brescia. Our first chance to overtake them came four games before the end of the competition when they drew away at Monza, but we didn't hold our nerve and did the same thing in Cremonense. Ironically, Brescia dropped two points again two games later in the prelast game of the season against the same Cremonense and this time, we did our job away against Como, moving us into first place, one point ahead of Brescia with one game to go. 

In the final game of the season, Brescia went up 2-0 fairly quickly against Alessandria but it was once again Vazquez who put us ahead against Crotone and when Cassata scored a second goal in the 81st minute, we sealed the title on the final day of the season.

 

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At the start of the season it looked like Benevento would be our main opposition, but they complete collapsed in the second half of the season.

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Coppa Italia

We beat Lecce in the first round, 3-2, and then went out completely undeserved against Sampdoria, who were clinical. A screenshot of that defeat can be found a few posts back for those that are interested.

Player performances

A very mixed bag here. Buffon was appalling, losing his spot between the stakes to Colombi halfway through the season. Although he's a very important figure in the dressing room, I'll probably try to move him on as he's on a big contract. We already have a replacement that will join us during the summer. Pandev didn't fare much better. Luckily, his contract is running out and he'll be joining AEK next season. I was hoping to keep him around for another year to have him mentor some players but it is what it is. Roberto Inglese, our second choice up front, also performed below expectations, bagging only one goal in 8 starts and 14 off the bench games. 

On the other side, we have a few (younger) players who performed very well. Lautaro Valenti was the main man in this regard, becoming our rock at the back. The Argentinian will be very important next season if we want to stay up. Next to him, both Araujo and young Balogh did very well, so I'm happy with things in defense. With Zagaritis we have a great left back prospect that also showed glimpes of his quality. And finally, vice captain Schiatarella was a pivotal figure in the midfield. Turning 35 at the end of May, he'll be very important for us for at least one more season.

Youth intake

Not terrible, but not great either. There's one player, young striker Matteo Mele, who might be special in due time. He has some work to do on his physicals but the potential is there. In midfield, Rossano Ermini could perhaps become our main Mezzala one day, but I'm a bit worried about his personality. 

 

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Finances and facilities

Financially, we're not in the best spot, almost eleven mil in the red because of a very high wage bill for the Serie B. Because of this, we don't get a transfer budget and our wages are limited to 600k. Looks like we'll have to wheel and deal in our first season with the big boys and just pray that we can stay up. It's possible that we'll get something to work with at the start of the season though, fingers crossed.

To make matters worse, our training facilities got downgraded as well.

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9 hours ago, karanhsingh said:

Well done, good start to the save. 

Thanks! Had a very rough time during the first half of the season, really worried that I wasn't going to get promoted which would have made this save a whole lot harder because of big wage players returning from loan. Also means that I'll have to be very creative in my first season in the Serie A. 

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2022-2023: Summer transfer window

We're at the end of July and it has been a very interesting transfer window, to say the least. As mentioned earlier, I didn't get a transfer budget and my wage budget was limited to 600k. I figured I'd bring in some free players, maybe some loans, and cut some dead weight on the other side. What I didn't take into account, however, was the fact that I had a boatload of players returning from loan on very high wages. Once they did, I was spending a whopping 900k on player salaries which meant that from that point onwards, I couldn't bring anyone in. To make matters worse, my two main right backs left the club. Del Prato was on loan from Atalanta and I was planning on signing him permanently but I failed to notice his contract was running out so Sampdoria already picked him up instead. Andrea Rispoli, his backup, turned 33 and was already declining to a point where he would be useless.

Luckily, I already had a few transfers arranged before everyone got back from their loan deals. Pietro Beruatto joins on a free from Juve and will cover for Zagaritis in the left back position. Frederik Jäkel is a young German central defender who was released by Leipzig, and Javier Belman will provide some cover for Colombi between the stakes. We also loan Lennard Hartjes from Feyenoord, with the idea to sign him on a free in 2023 if he makes sufficient progress.

As I'm supposed to sign players under 23 for the first team, this also pleases the board as a side effect.

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On the outgoing side, I tried to cut as much deadwood as possible to reduce the wage bill. Twelve players leave the club, for various fees. Usually less than what I could have gotten, but I really needed to lose some salaries. Among them are Pandev, Juric, Sepe, Karamoh, Brugman and Osorio. This way, I managed to cut our wages back to 677k per week, which is still a bit overkill but it may be possible to do a deal or two in January now.

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2022-2023: July

We're off for a special start on our return to the highest level as we open the league against reigning champions Juventus, in a sold out Ennio Tardini. Because of our transfer issues youngster Busi will start in the right back position after an unsuccessful loan spell at Reims last year. On the other end of the pitch, we'll be counting on Vazquez to continue his good form from the end of last season. On the left, Brunetta will be replacing Maldini as we can't get him to join us because of the wage limits. 

I'm not sure if it's because they underestimate us, but the Old Lady doesn't start off too well and we're easily able to keep pace. To make matters worse for them, Chiesa is forced off with an injury after only ten minutes. In the last quarter of the first half, they start pushing forward a little more, but we manage to go to the dressing room with a 0-0 score.

Only two minutes into the second half, it happens. Vazquez gets into a one on one position against Chiellini, with Man coming up on the right side.

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He plays the ball square to the latter, putting him against Sandro. Instead of turning to his left foot as everyone would expect, he swings in a right footed cross to the back post, reaching an unmarked Brunetta because Cuadrado moved inside to cover the central area against the infiltration Cyprien.

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Brunetta pulls off a great control, takes a touch to reach the byline and plays a square cross to the center where Vazquez is present to tap it in. 1-0!

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In the 65th minute, Schiattarella takes a corner from the right hand side. He curls it to the penalty point, where Vazquez attacks the ball from deep to head it high into the net, making it 2-0.

We run into one more scare when Vlahovic hits the bar, but apart from that easily protect our lead. The fact that Juve doesn't manage a single shot on target is very telling. 

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We're on a high and on the last day of the month, we comfortably dispatch of Sassuolo on their own turf with 1-3. Brunetta scores a brace, and after they draw one back, Cyprien scores his first of the season to bring home the three points. Two games, two wins, what a start to the season!

Edited by KlaaZ
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2022-2023: August

Transfers

One more new guy! Samuele Mulattieri joins us on loan from Inter, as we don't need to pay his wage.

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Serie A

We only pick up one out of six in two home games against Bologna and Empoli. In the former, they score a penalty to win the game and against Empoli, we drop two points through silly own goal, as they didn't manage to hit the target even once.

We pick ourselves up again afterwards, first with a very important win away at Brescia, with Vazquez scoring another brace. We then go on to completely demolish struggling Sampdoria in their own home 0-4 in what was actually a very even game. Another brace from Vazquez, and two beauties (from Brunetta and Cyprien) secure a very important result.

This moves us into a very satisfying third place in the league, ten points off a relegation spot. We won't get ahead of ourselves though.

 

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Coppa Italia

I rotated a bit in the first round against Ternana and it almost cost us as they were surprisingly good but a brace from Mulattieri on his debut and a goal from Mihaila are enough to see us through to the second round where we'll face Verona. 

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