PARMA CALCIO 1913 2019 - 2020
SUMMER OF SECOND SEASON
Some shocking news during the summer, Bruno Alves and Gobbi both announcing their retirements, in November.. Bruno Alves was still in my plans, whilst Gobbi was to provide cover. They were Captain and Vice Captain, so will be missed. That means, new captains were needed. I chose Stulac as my captain and Zeca as my vice captain. Not many options due to the age of some of my players and the number of loan players as well in the starting lineup.
Coetzee will now replaced Alves, was planning to slowly introduce him to the first team. Without Gobbi, I don't have a first choice LB, so I may have to start Gagliolo more in that position. Inglese's goals will be important again (extended his loan).
Now I mentioned that I made some Bosman signings without knowing that I will be playing CL football. This caused me problems as it overloaded my squad with players I was expecting to use to fight against relegation/middle of the table/top half of the table, but not for European games. Sprocati was a pre-arranged transfer before the game started, I'm happy he's coming back as he contributed a lot to our attacking play. Would I sign him personally? Maybe not but since he's here and had a great last season, I will be hoping for him to keep up his good form.
Out of the 7 Bosman signings, 2 were for the futre and will go to the u20s (Ercolani and Johansson). Out of the other 5, I had initially plan to use Monte as rotation option to Bruno Alves (he was labelled as the next Bruno Alves) but he came to Parma injured, so Coetzee pushed ahead of him straight away. Krajnc was to replace Bastoni, since I couldn't get him back on loan at this time, as another option for left sided CB alongside Gagliolo. Piazon was signed with the idea he will challenged Xadas for the LW position, as I was toying with the idea of using Xadas in CM or changing my tactic by including an AM. Leo Suarez and Kleber were signed as squad players, backup in their positions. Lots of players, right? Not yet done..
Now, the above signings were made before the summer, before I knew I was in a strong chance to finish in European position, before the reality of Parma qualifying for the CL.. Below was what I used with the new budget I got (I forgot how much it was, didn't screenshot it).
I forgot how I got Da Graca to come as cheaply as this, but I think I was just randomly bidding for him after I saw a scout report with that estimated value for transfer. Initially I had no plan to buy Tonali as he is too popular of a signing in this FM, but when I saw that he was bid on, I just tried to match the bid and it was accepted. Birindelli and Lucas Ribeiro were recommended by my scouts, never heard of them before but I liked what I see for the prices given. Birindelli was to provide cover for RB, whilst Ribeiro will provide cover to Coetzee since Monte was injured. Bought Nandez as I wanted a combative presence in midfield, hoping he can be the next Lucas Torreira. En Nesyri was to challenge Ingles up front, and on both wings. I have high hope for him. Signed Mauri as he was HGC for Parma, to provide cover to Stulac. I got Valery on a 2-years loan after he scored that wonder goal against Man Utd in real life (My first 2 seasons were a while back) and he will be the new first choice RB for me. My scout recommended me Zeca for the LB position, and decided to splash the cash as I never had a CWB before. Gagliolo can now go back to center.. that is until Bastoni was made available on loan again late in the window. This time he agreed to come back for 2 more seasons (with 0% wages too since Inter is affiliated with Parma). Starting to see where my overloading problems came from? I bid to loan for Lo Celso without expecting him to accept but he agreed to join. One more player then. Chao, Fojticek, Justiniano, and Kovar were other signing for the u20s. With all these signings, some of the Bosman signings were pushed down the pecking order. I can already see I would have problems giving all of them sufficient minutes.
Kucka had to be sold due to his niggling injuries and my highest earner (£40k p/w). Gervinho sold abroad to make space for Coetzee. Wanted to keep Barilla but will all my new signings, I wouldn't have space for him. So had to move him on as he's 30+. Iacoponi was my starter last season but his form deteriorated badly. Dezi was a flexible squad player but had to sell him as well. Others were players returning from loan and no space for them in the squad or over 20s players not having a future at the club. £27m in, £29m out.
Youth players of interest
Brazao established himself as my number 1, Diakhate was a good rotation option but still couldn't figured out his best position or role. Botturi played 5 games last season and Hiekkanen played 9 games, will be hoping for them to push on more. Alessandro Minelli returned from loan and will have a place as a future squad player at LB. Cristian Casarini in the u18s is progressing well and will look to develop him as well. Nico Schiappacase wanted to cancel his loan (he's already here before I arrived, from Atletico Madrid for 2 seasons loan) but I decided I wanted to use him more as an option off the bench.
My First XI
Valery, Coetzee/Ribeiro, Bastoni/Gagliolo, Zeca/Gagliolo
Stulac/Mauri, Pereira/Lo Celso
WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW
Spalek had been tearing Serie B and my scouts repeatedly recommended him. Planned to use him to challenge Sprocati. Found Guga who is similar Zeca, decided I wanted to mirror him for the RB position as Birindelli was not yet ready to challenge Valery.
My First XI
Valery/Guga, Coetzee/Ribeiro, Bastoni/Gagliolo, Zeca/Gagliolo
Stulac/Mauri, Pereira/Lo Celso
As expected, some players barely played. Had to do heavy rotation, more than I would like. Tried to offer out on loan but no interests. Some players were affected by the non-continuity in their minutes like Piazon and Nandez. Everytime I gave them a chance, they didn't impress. One player who didn't lack any minutes was Lo Celso, but unlike Pereira, he didn't performed anywhere near his ability should. Though whilst Pereira was scoring goals, I found that he doesn't really make the team play better. Lessons learned. Always take off "cannot end loan" and Bosman signings should wait until the end of the season. If I remembered correctly, at this stage, Bastoni, Stulac, Sprocati, Xadas, Inglese were the best performers.
END OF SEASON AWARDS 2019/2020
End of Season Review and Thoughts
Whereas in the first season we overachieved, in the 2nd season was a bit of a jumbled mess. The transfers situation and overloading of players played a huge factor in the inconsistent season. We didn't confirmed our Europa spot until the last game. What could have been a season of progression turned out to be taking a step back kind of season. On the other hand, I feel this is still our level. Even getting the Europa spot was a challenge. Must be a reason why I chose 'finishing in the top half' as my expectation earlier in the season. But I feel we will be stronger because of the experience this season.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2019/2020
Taught a lesson by PSG and Shakhtar in the first 2 games, showing our level. The home draw against PSG was a great game. Not a rearguard action, but actually creating chances to score as well. PSG was missing Neymar, I think. Part of the reason why I loved Stulac, that 93rd goal to put use through to the next round. A captain's performance. Liverpool was and still is the scariest team I had played against. The speed and the way they attack my defence was unbelievable. Even in the away leg I was expecting a hammering as they went 2-0 up in the first 28 minutes. They got complacent, I think, with progression secured. It was a great experience, a competition we want to go back into as soon as we can.
In hindsight, can't be too critical. I learned a lot about the game this season. Better planning and managing expectations to reflect that is key. Lucas Ribeiro overtook Coetzee towards the end with strong performances, Bastoni also grew stronger as the season went on. Whilst Pereira got more goals than Stulac, Stulac made the team play better and provided more assists as well. The reason his average rating is lower was I had to play him the DM position in some games to accommodate both Lo Celso and Pereira together in midfield. Inglese was the best performer this season. I was happy with the addition of Spalek, he added a different threat when he joined the team, and some of his goals were importat as well. Below are comparisons of their performance in 2019/2020 vs 2018/2019 (which I didn't include previously).
Brazao (getting better and better, so comfortable on the ball), Ribeiro (best defender for me this season and great signing for £1.2m), Stulac (captain performances in lots of games), Inglese (still reliant on his goals)
Lucky to be even in the Europa League next season, but signings will be made to be better prepare for it. First, I need to moved on ALL the players that are not in my plans. So, signings might depend on how well I can do that. Hoping to reduce the players used next season (37 this season) and wanted better players registration planning this time.
Lo Celso will be in his 2nd loan season with us but I'm not planning to use him much. Bastoni will also be back for the 2nd of his loan season (3rd season in a row) and he will hopefully be the leader of my defence. Not sure how I could afford to sign him permanently, though. Pereira is going back to Man Utd, and at this time I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue offering to loan him again. Inglese also going back to Napoli and my offer to extend was rejected as they planned to use him in their first team.
Better youth intakes this year. Should have arranged the list by PAs. As of now, I'm in November of my 3rd season. During the summer, Juventus offered £12m+ for Carriero, whilst Milan offered £10m+ for Pandini. Both are duly rejected. If you noticed, lots of my signings are not local so far. This is because I'm planning to use my youth players to provide the Italian backbone down the line. (Lots of the quality Italian players are expensive as well for Parma). Zanioli from my previous intake will play for the u20s next season.
Welcome any comments and feedbacks. Would be interesting to see other Parma saves as well.
Will post the next update when I got to the Winter Transfer Window in my 3rd season, 2020/2021.