Norwich – 11.07.2024
I‘ve complete my 5th season with Norwich City. Finished 6th in the table which I was happy with. Finished 8 points away from ECC qualification.
My league places have been 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, and as above 6th.
1st Team (2nd team)
GK – Emil Audero (Alessandro Russo)
DR – Max Aarons (Andrea Andrenao)
DC – Ben Godfrey (Alessandro Bastoni)
DC – Armel Bella-Kotchap (Davide Bastoni)
DL – Jamal Lewis (Gaizka Mancisidor)
DM – Eduardo Camavinga (Gustavo Assuncao)
MC – Carles Alena (Ryan Gravenberch)
MC – Sergio Gomez (Arthur)
AMR – Pedri (Fabio Andre)
AML – Michel Peter (Talles Magno)
ST – Mauro Icardi (Diego Kiaku)
Notable players –
Emil Audero – Bought from Sampdoria for £6 million in June 2022 to be 1st choice keeper. Outstanding goalkeeper, particularly for what I paid for him. Still on the 1st contract I gave him when he joined at £50k per week. Has a buyout clause of £75 million and Inter and PSG are interested. I’m not actively interested in selling him but if his buyout clause is met I’ll realise a significant amount of profit.
Arthur – I found Arthur transfer listed by Barcelona in December 2023. I picked him up for £16.5 million with Barcelona paying £100k of his wages until the end of his contract in June 2024. Now I could have waited 1 month to enter into a pre-contract agreement, but I spread the payments over 36 months and got them to pay the majority of his wages. Now his Barcelona contract has expired I’m paying him £42k per week which I reckon is pretty good. Not pulled up many trees as yet – no goals or assists in 10 appearances, but with a pre-season for him to get used to how we play I’ll be expecting an improvement.
Carles Alena – Bought from Barcelona in June 2021 for just £3 million. Now worth £45 million and paid £22k per week. He’s going to need a new contract or be sold but if sold I’m hoping to realise profit of more than £50 million. Still only 26 years old so I could give him a new contract and get another 4-5 years out of him before selling. Spent a large part of 2023-24 with various injuries but normally he’s a 1st choice CM alongside Sergio Gomez.
Eduardo Camavinga – Bought from Rennes for £30 million in July 2021. Now worth £47.5 million and has 4 years left on his contract that has a £120 million buyout. I play him in a DM role as a DLP. Still has room to improve his stats as he’s only 21. I’ve struggled to find DM's who wanted to move to me but luckily Camavinga wanted European football which I was able to offer.
Sergio Gomez – Bought from Dortmund for just £2 million in July 2020. Now worth £28 million but only has 1 year left on his contract. Has a lot of interested clubs in him and has a buyout clause of £80 million, which no-one has come close to triggering yet. He wants a new contract and I’m inclined to give him one rather than sell him. If a club offers £50-£60 million I’d be tempted to sell but I could give him a new contract and sell him in a few years if I wanted.
Fabio Andre – A Brazilian wonderkid I found playing at Flamengo. I trigged his buyout of £24 million to get him and he’s now worth £45 million. I have trained him in a AMR role as at the time I was lacking in players for this position. I have played him in his natural AMC position and he’s played well, but I don’t like playing with an AMC, preferring a DM to offer protection to my defence and build play from the back. As an inside forward I try to take advantage of his speed, dribbling and finishing. My scouts rated him as 90+ and you can see he’s rated at 4 gold stars and 1 black. He’ll get a new contract in 1-2 years and I plan on keeping him for as long as I can.
Pedri – The last of the players I have bought from Barcelona and another I consider a bargain. Bought for £15 million in January 2023 and now worth £32 million. Similar to Fabio Andre in that I play him on the wing when his natural position is AMC. But his stats aren’t bad for a winger, lacking a bit of pace but good dribbling and first touch. Also only 21 so plenty of time for him to improve. I accepted a bid from Burnley for £45 million in 1 payment in 12 months time, with a 50% sell on fee but he rejected the contract they offered. I ended up selling Harry Wilson instead (see below)
Mauro Icardi – Bought from Real Madrid in August 2023 for £30 million with another £7.5 million in performance bonuses. Despite our strong league finishes I felt that we lacked firepower and my strikers in particular were not scoring enough goals. Icardi was bought to rectify this and he has been decent without being outstanding. Thomas Buitink (see below) had an amazing season where he scored 20 goals in the league but this was very much an exceptional one-off season. I adjusted my tactics as with Icardi’s best role that of a poacher I’ve tried to use my AML/AMR as wingers with support functions to get the ball to him. Fabio Andre is useful as a sub as an attacking Inside Forward, though this does negate Icardi somewhat.
Notable sales –
Teemu Pukki – Sold to Newcastle in June 2020 - £16 million. Scored just 3 league goals for me.
Emi Buendia – Sold to Newcastle in June 2022 - £40 million. I couldn’t get a tune out of him – he kept getting ‘uninterested’ during matches and wouldn’t listen to my shouts.
Jude Bellingham – Sold to Arsenal in June 2023 - £76 million. Bought from Birmingham for £22 million in July 2021 so I realised a profit of £54 million.
Thomas Buitink – Sold to Besiktas in July 2024 – £30 million. Bought from Vitesse for £6.5 million June 2021 so I realised a good amount of profit.
Harry Wilson – Sold to Bournemouth in July 2024 - £45 million. Bought from Liverpool for £10 million in July 2020. Was a good player for me, averaging double figures for assists and getting around 5-10 goals per season. However with Pedri being younger (thus with more time to improve) and Fabio Andre needing more game time I decided to sell him. £45 million with a 50% sell on clause I consider good business.
Finances are looking very healthy. Overall Balance has been achieved through careful player management (buying cheap and selling high as in the case of Jude Bellingham) and Europa League participation. I’d like to try and get it to £200+ million before the new season starts, just cause it seems like a nice figure in my head. Debt is at £0 but are facilities could be improved to ‘State of the Art’.
As above our corporate, training and data analysis facilities could be raised 1-2 levels to achieve ‘State of the Art’ status so I will approach the board about this soon.
Problems / Miscellaneous
Youth Recruitment – This is my one big problem area. We have ‘Exceptional academy coaching’, ‘Exceptional youth recruitment’ and ‘State of the art youth facilities’ but we’re producing no more than 2-3 star players, if that. I know it takes time and I know that the ratings are comparable to what I have already at the club but in pure stat terms the youth intakes I’ve been getting have been, frankly, garbage. The database I’m running is from the ‘beta’ and I know there were early problems with low determination on youth intakes so my game could be affected by this. I don’t know if updates retroactively ‘fix’ saves, I don’t think that they do.
Age gaps in positions – I’ve reach a point where there are seemingly low or in some cases very low options for players in certain positions at a young age. To use an example if I want to find a defender under the age of 23 I feel the options are poor. To demonstrate here is a screenshot of central defenders available to me aged 23 or under -
Saliba isn’t going to swap Arsenal for Norwich. Luciani I think is a newgen and Napoli just won Serie A in 2024 so he has no reason to move. Harfield is at Man Utd so again, isn’t going to move to Norwich and on it goes.
This is not to say that there aren’t players to buy, I just don’t think they are worth it. I’ve found other players in positions with high potential (such as Fabio Andre, I’ve found at least half a dozen wingers with 80+ potential) but I’m really struggling to find central defenders with high potential that my scouts recommend or that I see with good stats. I know that finding a ‘Messi’ type player is rare but I’m seemingly finding more players in some positions (wingers for example) than in others (central defenders and defensive midfielders).