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Tee2

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  1. For some reason I struggled to get rid of many of my unwanted players but Jozefzoon was a must-have and went for £5m. Perhaps it's the novelty of owning your own Surinamese footballer... In my game we re-signed Will, and it was an additional treat to recoup some of our own transfer fee because of that clause. Good luck in League One, I expect you to stroll it, hopefully not a Derby edition of Sunderland 'Til I Die for you! I love Chirivella. He improves very quickly and once he's in your side ahead of Rooney - who declines as quickly as Pedro develops - you won't look back, I'm sure.
  2. In my experience you can never go wrong with a decent centre-back, especially as you have just been promoted. Ideally someone young and with the potential to improve to the level you're playing at. That's kind of my management 101, to try to make sure I have defenders and a goalkeeper I can trust completely. It's well worth checking personality types to try and get a player who will fit in quickly. I went for Scott McKenna as he was (i) already an international footballer (ii) level-headed (iii) a bit of an improvement on what we had (iv) only 23, so he will develop (v) expensive for us at £11.5 million, but not bank-breaking, nor did he expect stellar wages. Had we not got promoted I would probably have tried to pay the optional release fee (part of his loan contract with us) for on-loan Perr Schuurs, which was £6 million, but to me he just wasn't Premier-ready. Incidentally McKenna came to my attention after his exploits at the 2020 European Championships - always worth keeping a keen eye on international tournaments! Personally I've always found Lee to be worth the effort. Unfortunately in my game he forced through a move to Leicester, because the prospect of festering in their reserved was far more appealing than playing in my first team...
  3. Yikes, what was he on before that? Given that you're a couple of years further along in the game than I am I would see that request as steep but not absolutely outlandish. Obviously it depends on the level of interest in him elsewhere and what his peers at Derby are earning, however for a player our coaches rate as having 4.5 stars of potential it looks as though he could develop into a regular Premier League starting defender and they normally command a decent whack. I raised his wages when we were promoted and we are now paying him £25k per week (in early 20/21), however if I was negotiating his contract now I would expect him to be demanding close to double that amount. I would see his peak earnings as being around the £90k mark personally...
  4. Hello all, just dropping in to see how everyone's getting along, and stealing some tips doing some extra-curricular scouting along the way. I thought I'd done a hell of a job in getting Derby promoted. Looks as though many of you found it to be pretty straightforward. In my save we were consistently hitting playoff form for most of the season and then maintained it towards the end as our rivals began to fall away. It made me smile, I'll admit, to see Leeds perform their usual collapse, albeit in my save it happened after Bielsa left for Wolves (who then were relegated with him in charge), and Sam Allardyce brought his magical touch to Elland Road. Who's for a pint of red wine... For me, Derby have a pretty decent squad from the start. The right wing was an issue (I signed Bakery Jatta from Hamburger SV), and we absolutely needed a better goalkeeper than either Hamer or Roos. My choice was Lorenzo Montipo, the Novara keeper who joined for £3.6 million. That might sound like a lot, but as far as I'm concerned you're snookered from the start if you have a rotten netminder, and 'Enzo' has developed to the extent that he's good enough for the Premier League team that I now manage. I struggle to have the same level of faith in Jack Marriott that a lot of you have shown. In 19/20 he ended up supplanting Troy Parrott (brought in from Spurs on loan, started brightly but vanished from the action far too often), and while he didn't score many his hold-up play was top notch. To my mind he just doesn't seem to be good enough for the top flight. He's currently out on loan at Legia Warsaw in 20/21 - I'd have happily sold him but could only get a loan deal, and at least this way I get to see if he comes back better for his adventures. Some interesting signings you guys have mentioned... I can heartily recommend Stuniverse's bumping of Will Hughes. The guy doesn't come cheap, but he sweats Derby and always puts in a big effort. A better midfield general would be hard to find. It helped that in my save Watford were relegated at the same time as we went up so it was a natural move, and now Mr Will gets to live his Premier League dream at a team he loves playing for and that loves him in return. It doesn't get much better than that. Wayne Rooney is more problematic. I'll admit I didn't realise his wages were paid by sponsors, as the £63,000 he now earns weekly has had me howling at the moon. More importantly, someone who was Mr Massive for me in my early days is now in steep decline and my preference for his role at DM is Pedro Chirivella, signed very cheaply from Liverpool after a great half-season on loan with us. Pedders is improving all the time, almost as though he's sucking all the ability out of Rooney while doing so, and I'm conscious that an ageing England legend and Derby team leader is someone who I wouldn't normally pick for the team. My second season has started much more brightly than I imagined. We're sixth after eight matches, taking in a heroic 4-2 home win over Chelsea along the way, but each time it feels like the margin between winning and cocking it up is frightfully thin. To those who don't know, I have a blog about all this - http://greyhairedgamer.co.uk/wp/ - and go here - http://greyhairedgamer.co.uk/wp/derby-chapters/ - if you want to launch straight into the entries about Derby. There's a lot of them. I've made it my mission during lockdown to tell the story of my Pride Park antics at the exhaustive length I'd really like to go into and normally couldn't. The 20/21 season is being told on an entry-per-match basis, and I'm not even bored yet! Anyway, good luck all. I'm really pleased to see this topic get so much love. I echo the comments elsewhere that Derby are a fascinating club to manage. I've really enjoyed it. I'm also bemused that some of you have managed to snag someone with the quality of Tonali, a distant dream for the likes of me, and I take on board fully the tip about checking out young English players who are making their way outside of England. We signed Ademola Lookman in the summer, and we're scouting Rolando Vieira heavily right now. Yeah, yeah, I know he's a Leeds man, but he's a great fit for us, and that name...
  5. Thank you so much, that's really appreciated. As you say they have some terrific prospects. They remind me a bit of what my own Middlesbrough were like around ten years ago when the side was underpinned with Academy graduates - Joe Bennett, Matty Bates, Rhys Williams, Anthony Taylor, Adam Johnson, etc - all of whom went on to have very varied careers and some achieved a bit of unwanted notoriety. That has to be very tempting though, what a challenge with their resources and presumably some of the existing squad still there. That looks like a good effort; if I could emulate anything like that I'd be very happy. It's also interesting to read Derby fans' experiences of managing the Rams, the wrench you guys are feeling when letting go of your favourite players even when it's the right time to do it. Personally it's something I've rarely experienced. I'm ruthless!
  6. Whitaker was lifted from the reserves once Lawrence was ruled out for three months. Nothing spectacular so far, but he doesn't look overawed and the coaches are telling me that his playing time is resulting in big improvements. To me he seems to be on the verge - perhaps just one goal away - from being pretty good. as for Buchanan he's out on loan this season, but the plan is to get rid of Scott Malone (who has asked to go on the transfer list) and use Buchanan as his back-up. He's played well with Fleetwood. He's been absolutely fine, and I have high hopes for him. I have four centre backs and rotate them regularly - none of them are letting me down and we have the best record for goals conceded in the Championship. Only Leeds have embarrassed us so far as they just overran our midfield, but a lot of that I put down to them essentially being a Premier League club that is slumming it in the Championship. That looks like a really neat squad by the way - I'm a bit surprised to see Holmes still listed as starter (seems to be lacking an essential 'spark' for me and has shown little robustness over such a long season), and Shinnie in there as a member of the squad. He's probably someone I will look to sell before too long. This is astonishing work! I would be very proud to be able to raise Derby to such heights, and while I can see us going up your guidance of the Rams into the table's upper reaches is excellent work. The Champions League - incredible! You obviously didn't come across any Italian clubs that are on friendly terms with the officials, unlike in previous European campaigns...
  7. Thanks @Stuniverse, especially for taking the time to read my blog. I think it's a really interesting team to take on - on the one hand not a massive challenge because they aren't expecting the earth (I think the target for the season is to avoid relegation, which I negotiated up to a mid-table finish in order to get a bit more in the budget) and they have quite a generous kitty for transfers so it should be possible to meet their requirements and develop the team... On the other hand the squad needs a lot of work. They are where they are for a reason, after all, and as I see it the job is one of a steady overhaul that may take two or three years to make them promotion-ready. As the fan of a Championship club (Middlesbrough) I know all about what it's like to go up when the side isn't ready yet, and I think Derby would really struggle if they did so at the first time of asking. To answer some questions... Yes I'm using the winter update. Rooney is great to have on hand as a veteran great to make those first couple of seasons easier. You're right about the formation - 4-1-2-3 is preferred, with Rooney in the defensive midfield quarterback/general's position. I see this as the most important role on the pitch, so it makes sense to use our best player in that position. Jayden Bogle is progressing nicely following his injury (I prefer him to Wisdom; he's younger and is clearly improving, whereas the Jamaican doesn't look as though he will get much better than he is right now). I've used Max Bird sparingly, I'll confess, and would have had him out on loan if there'd been any takers. Still, the midfield to me is Derby's weak spot (after the build job I've done) and he will be getting more time once he recovers from the torn abdominal muscle injury that's had him out for a long period. Jason Knight is fighting his way into the side increasingly. I'm beginning to prefer him over Huddlestone (old, on the wane) and even Shinnie (doesn't seem to be a comfortable fit with the formation, not enough good games). Of the others Max Lowe is an absolute star at left-back and has even weighed in with a few goals. He seemed to have a good relationship with Tom Lawrence, before the winger suffered an injury. His three-month layoff is giving more time to Morgan Whitaker, who I'm enjoying a lot. Leicester want him - they can do one. If I can persuade Mr Morris to keep his sacking finger under control then I hope to be a position to get Derby promoted in 2021 or 2022. I'm ahead of the curve in being 3rd at the time of writing, but any position in the top six would do as I would at least like to equal what they achieved under Frank Lampard, however it's a delicate balancing act as we are so far from being ready for the challenge of the Premier League as it stands.
  8. I'm in December 2019 with my Derby save and currently 4th, which I'm blogging about here - http://greyhairedgamer.co.uk/wp/ - it's a long-winded affair! Falling in love a bit with this team, even though like others above have mentioned I would hope for the best a playoff finish and staying in the Championship for another season's rebuild. Derby just don't feel quite ready for the big league as I see it, but signing players with potential and improving them to that standard looks like a viable option. Players signed - Lorenzo Montipo (£3.6m), Lewis Baker (£3.2m), Bakery Jatta (£3m), Alexander Milosevic (free), with Troy Parrott and Perrs Schuurs brought in on loan, the latter with a £6m optional future fee. Players sold - Curtis Davies (£300k), Kelle Roos (£600k), Craig Forsyth (3750k), with Chris Martin and Florian Jozefzoon out on loan ahead of end of contract release/being sold. Best formation - Montipo (GK), Bogle (DR), Lowe (DL), Clarke (DC), Bielik (DC), Rooney (DM, and captain), Shinne (MC), Baker (MC), Jatta (AMR), Waghorn (AML), Parrott (SC). Overall it's a fascinating team to manage. I don't normally coach anyone beyond the bigger clubs these days out of sheer laziness on my part, but I can tell they are a squad that has been assembled by many previous hands, some positions over-stacked, others really weak, and they don't start off in that good a position. Lots of potential, plenty of young players coming through, but also some relics from past regimes that are drawing big wages and contributing very little. I'm selling Ikechi Anya in January, because there's no reason why someone so weak (the coaches say he's at a point of 'total collapse as a footballer', which I haven't seen before and doesn't suggest he's a thumbs up player) should still be here and earning £28k per week.
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