Going in to our sixth season I was excited at what we could do in the Champions League, domestically we are so dominant and will chase our 6th league title in a row this season. However our run to the Champions League semi final stage last season had given me optimism we could challenge some of the best in European football.
We can’t compete with any of the major clubs in terms of finances and will generally sell more than we bring in financially but we just need to be smart and scouting is so important to this, so I recruited an additional 5 scouts this summer taking our scouting knowledge from 22% to 38%.
I think this was a brilliant window, by improving our scouting network we were able to identify young players with big potential at the right price. Luis Uribe is a prime example, a strong centre back classed as a wonderkid signed from Colombia for just £700k and he was the replacement for James Tarkowski who we sold for £10 million.
I had spoken to a few people in the community that I felt I needed a more clinical striker which could be regarded as harsh on Clough. 77 goals in his three seasons is a solid return but in big games he would miss some high quality chances and his finishing attribute is only 14.
I noticed a young Egyptian striker playing in Greece who had a better than 1 in 2 ratio and I really liked his attributes, 18 finishing, 17 acceleration and 16 strength. A £3 million fee with a further £1 million in add ons was agreed and he is a beast.
Hurst, Miller and Dong Joon were for the future whilst Tissera joins as an 18 year old deep lying playmaker who has some potential. Appel was brought in to replace Samper and I really like his attributes, Gauld was brought in due to the Scottish connection and was a bargain.
Novotny is another wonderkid and someone we can really develop well, he comes from Plzen who have great youth facilities too. Finally Alejandro Pineda is another I found by scouting South America, he joins on a free from Cruz Azul and is the natural successor to Thomas Lemar. 17 dribbling, 18 technique, 17 acceleration. Lovely.
We had a stadium expansion to fund so I was quite happy to move on some players to give us a healthy bank balance, I was able to bring in £65 million and only sold one first 11 player. Sergi Samper was gathering some interest and being truthful his excellent attributes didn’t translate to excellent performances.
He was good but not great and paying him £75k per week I did expect a wee bit more from him, Dortmund, Monaco and Barcelona all showed interest and I received lots of conditional bids with clauses but I wanted it all up front and we were able to get £28 million up front from Dortmund which was a club and national record fee.
Tarkowksi was a bit part player and turning 29 so I snapped Sporting hands off when they offered me £10 million, Thomson was decent but wasn’t doing enough to break in to the first team so £9.5 million was good profit from an academy graduate.
Laffite had come back from a poor loan spell and wanted first team football so when I tempted Mainz to bid £9 million I was delighted but I was raging we lost Amrani to Monaco who activated his lowly £6.5 million release clause. I tried on numerous occasions to renew his contract without that clause but could never get an agreement.
I went in to the groups for the first time seeded first due to the rise of our Nation Club co-efficient where Scotland jumped from 8th to 6th. Manchester United, Roma and Besiktas was still a difficult group given our seeding but fancied us to get through.
We were awful in Turkey and went down to ten men after 26 minutes via Appel but were strong and went on to win 2-1, Manchester United those bastards were up next and we thumped them 4-2 at Ibrox. A double from Alaa was brilliant but the individual brilliance of this game came from John Shuaibu, see below.
The Roma double header was weird, they battered me like I haven’t been battered in years in game time. Their front 3 was Salah, Malcom and an incredible regen we just missed out on Hoj and they ran riot but we took revenge at Ibrox winning 3-0 with all three from Lemar.
A 3-0 win over Besiktas meant we qualified with 3 out of 3 home wins however Man United would beat us in Manchester 2-1 to pip us to group winners. Starting to hate them and Mourinho a lot.
Arsenal were drawn as our last 16 opponents and I don’t know if it’s being cheeky but I expect to beat them. Wenger is still their manager, their squad is not too great and are quite old and fitting Lukaku in left wing..
A lot of lovely green dots and goals were flying in everywhere, I don’t want to go in to much detail here but the 4-0 win over Celtic and the 4-1 win over Aberdeen were highlights. 17 wins and 4 draws from 21 games is always good and we’re averaging almost 3 goals per game which is frightening.
In terms of key performers John Shuaibu, Thomas Lemar and Amr Alaa stand out. 24 goals from Alaa in all competitions is fantastic, Lemar has been more clinical with 11 goals and 13 assists so far but the best has been from Shuaibu with 14 goals and 11 assists by the end of the year.
He’s a god at carrying the ball and ending up on the end of things, Dortmund have bid £32 million including clauses but have turned it down.
Another League cup win adds to our growing list of trophies and the 4th time we’ve won it in my 6 seasons, two 1-0 wins saw us through to the semi final where we faced our rivals Celtic who were in meltdown and we beat them 2-0 with goals from Alaa and Shuaibu.
The final saw us dominate Dundee with 31 shots to 3 against and we scored 4 times in a rampant display with goals from Lemar, Clough and a double from Scotsman Barry Barr who was having his best season to date since we moved back to a 4-2-3-1 and playing him higher up the pitch.
In other news..
Due to mostly our consistent strong European performances, our nation has moved up to 6th from 8th in terms of Nation Club co-efficents, this means that for this season we are first seeds in the Champions League and for next season we will have 3 teams in the Champions League. 2 teams straight to the group stages..
We have also moved up to 16th in the European Club co-efficient list and are on course to move up to 11th next season, this is one of the most rewarding things to pop up in my inbox. Maybe I’m weird?
Thank you for reading once again, I’ve had some nice comments about the series and it really helps to keep pushing on. I still have a lot to achieve with Rangers so plan is to keep playing until Football Manager 2018 is released so easily get past 10 seasons and probably a few more!
If you can retweet the pinned tweet that really helps, please post any comments you have either on this article, twitter @johnmcintosh19 I’ll always try to reply or why not consider joining my Slack channel? Channel is johnmcintosh-19 and you can catch more up to date screenshots and updates there too.
Finally I’m doing my first skydive on Sunday, I’m raising funds for Children with Cancer UK. If you are feeling generous then there’s a link below that you can still donate to, they do invaluable work and the stories of children going through cancer such as Bradley Lowery are devastating.