In the last update – The Magnificent Seven – managed to grab automatic promotion in the 86th minute of the final game of the season versus a reinvigorated Venezia

After carrying out a squad review I’ve highlighted the need to sign players to fulfil the following roles:

Goalkeeper

Last season’s starting ‘keeper Luca Lezzerini came demanding a new contract but the Data Hub highlighted he performed poorly. To make matters worse, his requested salary would smash my newly imposed wage structure as per our £200k per week wage budget. I’d like a new ‘keeper who is at Serie A standard. To fit in with my tactical style I ideally need someone who can command the area and is capable of distributing to the flanks when required. 

Left Wingback

With Mohamed Fares returning to Lazio after his impressive loan spell, and his back up Matthieu Huard’s contract expiring, I find myself without anyone to fill this key role. I need someone with good pace and a good engine who can either drive into the box or delivery a pin point cross.

Right Wingback

The Fan’s Player of the Season, Alexander Jallow, is still here but he out-performed the levels his attributes suggest last season. Hence, I’m worried it might have been a fluke. I need someone else but am happy for it to be a backup who has the potential to step in and become the eventual starter, if and when the time comes. 

Central Defenders

On the face of it, I’m happy with the starting trio of Mangraviti, Cistana and Papetti. However, if the opportunity to upgrade one of them comes along I’ll certainly take it. As they’re the only 3 central defenders in the squad, I need to bring at least two more to provide depth. Would like to get a youngster to develop as I don’t think I’ll hang on to Papetti for long!

Midfield

I bought in a true Destroyer on loan and he performed the role well. Therefore, I’ll be trying to bring Mehdi Boudjemaa back to the club as I think he’s more than capable at stepping up to Serie A levels. 

The box-to-box “Line Breaker” role wasn’t carried out to a high level ever since club captain Bisoli missed the final four months of the season. He’s back now but will be still be as effective?

Attacking Midfield

In the last article I said I would likely be heading back to a 5-2-2-1 as a Serie A level Attacking Midfielder should be cheaper to recruit than a Striker of a similar standard. Ideally, I’ll be able to get someone who can play as an AMC and a Striker to allow me to switch between formations if needed. I want someone who can provide a goal threat as well as being creative. 

Striker

Bianchi performed well last season, scoring 17 goals. His understudy, and partner in a 5-3-2, Borrelli scored 14. However, Borrelli has returned to Frosinone after his loan spell. I’ll try to bring him back as he finished the season in fine for, scoring 7 in as many games. He also scored the goal which secured our promotion. 

So, there you have it – quite a lot to do.

However, I only have £4m to spend and the very limited scouting range meant I could only scout players in Italy. As a result the pool of players I’m able to choose from is very small.

On top of that, any player deemed to already be at Serie A standards either wants too much in wages, or doesn’t want to come.

Fun times.

THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS

I’d previously outlined my plans for my recruitment process. A reliance would be placed on the findings of the Recruitment Analysts to recognise players who were performing well statistically. These would then be scouted to find out if they had any glaring weaknesses or character flaws.

However… as my scouting scope was limited to Italy only, it’s been very difficult to apply this methodology due to having such a small pool of players to look at.

I’ve tried my best, but some of the players were based on scout recommendations.

Let’s see what I’ve been able to achieve…

TRANSFERS IN

The first players to join were both youngsters I came across in my Central Defenders recruitment focus.

Andrei Motoc was signed from Salernitana for the princely sum of £50k. At 6’5″ he’s pretty well rounded and has the potential to be a Serie A player. He spent the last two seasons on loan in Serie C, with Legano being his last team, where he played 30 games and averaged an impressive 6.83 for a team who finished 19th in the division. 

Next in was free agent Diego Stramaccioni after being released by Juventus. His mentals need to be improved but he’s got the base of a solid defender. He’s also said to have the potential to develop into a Serie A player. 

Neither are in the conversation to be starters and I expect one, of not both to be sent out on loan. This will obviously depend who else I can bring in at Central Defender. 

Next up I managed to finally bring in a starting Left Wingback. Vasilis Zagaritis joins for £600k (rising to £1.6m) from Parma. He was third on my shortlist but the only one who’d sign for a wage within my structure. Quick and hardworking, he’s got decent crossing and dribbling abilities so I’m expecting good things from him. 

He completed the most passes per game (67) of all the shortlisted Left Wingbacks and completed over 12 progressive passes per 90 minutes. 

Moving into midfield, my initial target was Spezia Midfielder Salvatore Esposito. He completely ran both games against us this season and I’d managed to get a deal agreed for him to join. The only issue is than want-away midfielder Tom van de Looi was being used as a part exchange, Unfortunately the whole deal was cancelled when he couldn’t agree a contract with Spezia. I tried to reach another deal but they wanted well over £7m which priced me out. 

The second midfielder on my list was Bologna 21-year-old Giovanni Fabbian. He can tackle, score, pass and get up and down the pitch. He only appeared in 1 Serie A game last season so I’m taking a punt here. For £500k, rising to £800k I’m confident it’ll turn out to be a great deal.

Giovannni Fabbian in action against new team mate Emmanuel Ndoj

The final player of my spending spree was an attacking midfielder recommended by a new Spanish scout.

Alex Bermejo spent the previous two seasons playing for Burgos in La Liga 2 in Spain. Last season he scored 7 goals and assisted 4 times so has shown he can provide the dual threat I’m looking for. Joining in a deal which will eventually rise to £2.5 million, he represents my biggest outlay so far and I’m hoping for big things from him. He’s technically gifted and has excellent off the ball awareness  – which could work well alongside his two player traits – so I’ll be looking for him to pop up in nice pockets of space and be a thorn in the sides of our opponents. He can also play as a striker if needed.

His 7 goals came off an xG of 5.65, with a shots on target ratio of 51% which was the highest of all my shortlisted players.

Impressively, he won over 2 tackles per game, winning 90% of his tackle attempts, so might be also useful in the pressing game.

Next on the conveyor belt was Sassuolo right wingback Yeferson Paz. Bought in to be back up/competition for Alexander Jallow, the Columbian spent the last two seasons on loan at Perugia. Whilst his quickness needs to be worked on, he’s a good attacking option who can look after the ball as well as deliver a nice cross. He’s got lots of potential to fulfil so I’m hoping he’ll turn out to be a shrewd signing. The total deal could be worth £2.4 million for Sassuolo

Yeferson won possession 11.95 times last season (2nd in shortlist), had a 90% pass completion ratio (1st in shortlist) and 88% of tackles (4th in the shortlist).

For our last permanent signing before for season starts, we have a new first choice Goalkeeper!

It was proving hard to get anyone who was enough of an improvement on Lezzerini to warrant the transfer fee or the extra salary. So, I decided to stick with him and replace him in January if needed. I tried to extend his contract again, but he was still wanting way too much for a ‘keeper the staff don’t think is at Serie A level. So, the negotiations failed. In the following  pre-season friendly, he gave a goal away in a 1-1 draw with Pescara by catching a deep cross, and then – totally unchallenged – dropping the ball and allowing their striker to run in and score. That was enough for me.

Luckily, later that week I got an email report that a ‘keeper from my shortlist has been transfer-listed, so I was able to pick up a huge upgrade for the £50k up front and £150k over the next three years. And even better, he earns less than Lezzerini!

Welcome to Brescia, Sergio Herrera!

Having spent the last few seasons in La Liga for Osasuna, where he played around 100 times, he’s got great reflexes for a man of 6’4″. His passing could be better but overall he should prove to be a big improvement.

THE LOAN PLAYERS

Now I had the holes in the team plugged, I could start looking for loan deals to fill out the rest of the squad.

I wasn’t looking for a starter in midfield, being content with Bisoli, Ndoj and Fabbian to claim the double pivot positions. However, a player popped up for loan who I couldn’t resist bringing in. Having spent three seasons in Serie A with Spezia and last year with Empoli, Simone Bastoni is an improvement on the players currently at our disposal and should offer a calm, experienced head in midfield. 

Equally adept at breaking up play or creating goal scoring chances, he’s a very well rounded midfielder. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to add an optional fee on to the deal. I think he’ll be a key player this season. With Empoli last season he started 16 games, completed his 46 passes per game with 90% success rate where he split time between midfield and left fullback. 

OUTGOING

The first to depart was Tom van de Looi. After messing up my chances of securing the signing of my #1 target Salvatore Esposito, he’s finally found a team he DOES want to join. He’ll be heading to Spain to join Real Oviedo for £1 million. That’s £9,500k off the very tight wage budget as well as £775k added back into the transfer fund.

Massimo Bertagnoli got a move away from the club as he joins Bari on loan with a planned transfer at the end of it. He’s a decent player but is never going to make it into my Serie A plans. 

Potential wonderkid Patrick Amoako Nuamah was a bone of contention for me. I wanted to keep him around the squad as he’s an exiting player to watch. But I know he’ll be better having another season of first team football under his belt. A lot of loan offers were rejected until the right one finally came along. He’ll join Perugia for the 2024-25 season, who have great training facilities and a very good coach for that level in Fabio Liverani. I’m confident he’ll get nurtured in the right way.  

DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL

I made a change at Director of Football, bringing in a man of mass experience both at club level and on the international stage.

Low should provide a keen eye for a good player as well as give the club a bit more prestige on a global scale. 

I’ve set him in charge of finding players for our youth team, which is lacking in depth now I’ve followed Treq’s advice on player pathways and removed anyone standing in the way of my talented U18s getting regular game time. If you haven’t watch the video yet, go and check it out!

SERIE A COMMENCES

The Tactics

Due to not being able to recruit a third striker, I’ll definitely be starting with the below set up.

Many would call it a 3-4-3 or a 5-2-3 but I’ll stick with the unsexier 5-2-2-1. But I’ve made a few changes from what I used last season. 

The first of these changes is in midfield, where I’ll be sticking with a Ball Winning Midfielder, his partner will be a Regista rather than a Segundo Volante. The Regista isn’t a formation I’ve used too much of previously but I’ve been happy with it throughout pre-season. Rather than slowing down play like Deep Lying Playmaker, the Regista looks to get the ball into more advanced areas much quicker. Bastoni is a good attribute match for this and he also has the defensive qualities when out of possession. 

The next change is the two Attacking Midfielders. Previously I used an Advanced Playmaker and a Shadow Striker. Now I’m using two Attacking Midfielders, both on a Support duty. There’s two reasons for this – firstly, I’m hoping this will make us more compact and give us a midfield box for the opposition to have to play through. Secondly, Bermejo’s player trait of “gets into opposition area” should encourage him to get into more advanced positions without the need to have him on an attacking duty. 

My only remaining worry with the attack is that I’m lacking pace up front. None of Bermejo, Olzer or Besaggio  have above average pace and neither do strikers Bianchi and Moncini… so I’ll be looking to bring someone in who can provide that extra string to our bow.

The Manager Merry-go-round

Player changes we’re the only headlines in Serie A this season,

AC Milan parted ways with Pioli and installed De Zerbi as their new manager. Pioli is now in charge of Sassuolo. Roma hired ex-POAK boss Razvan Lucescu as their new head coach after Mourinho resigned to take charge of Portugal.

In big news for this save, our bitter rivals Atalanta appointed Sergio Conceicao as their new manager, following Gasparini’s resignation before he took over Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. However, following their poor performances last season, you have to wonder if he jumped or he was pushed…  

The Opening Games

My first season in Serie A wasn’t an easy one. Three days after a Coppa Italia game with Pescara (a convincing 3-1 win) I started the league campaign with a rivalry game against last seasons 3rd placed team, Napoli. The following game would be against last seasons runners up, Lazio

Luckily, the team were well up for the challenge. 

As it was an away game against a much stronger Napoli team, I set the team to Regroup and we looked pretty solid. We took the lead after 29 minutes – and it wasn’t against the run of play – when debutant loanee Bastoni slotted home after a low cross from Jallow caused mayhem in the Napoli area. We then took a surprising 2-0 lead when Bianchi managed to capitalise on an injury to defender Jesus and get to the ball just before the ‘keeper. 

The second half was a different tale, as Napoli found another gear and our tiring legs struggled to keep pace. They pulled a goal back when Ostigard headed in from a corner and then deservedly equalised when a great run by Kvaratskhella led to a pass to Veron who slotted past Herrera.

We had a golden chance to steal it in injury time when Papetti headed into the side netting, but our players were dead on their feet and 2-2 was a great result. 

Our first game in Serie A, vs Napoli

After regrouping away from home vs Napoli, there’s no way we were going to do the same at home. So, against Lazio we went for it, and asked our front three to man and press their two central defenders and creative defensive midfielder, Rovella. We made another bright start and took the lead through a Bermejo penalty after Papetti was clattered into by Rovella. The visitors equalised on 38 minutes thanks to a lovely shot on the turn from Ciro Immobile and we went into halt time level.  

We started to struggle and were firmly on the back foot after Bastoni was injured by a Cataldi challenge (team instructions then changed to tackle him harder!) and it looked like only a matter of time until Lazio scored a winner. However, this is a team who doesn’t give up easily and in the 90th minute, substitute Yeferson Paz intercepted a pass and fed the ball to Bermejo, who played in a slide-rule pass to Moncini to smash into the bottom corner.

We managed to desperately hang on during the 6 minutes of injury time and claimed our first scalp and our first 3 points of the new season.

Super-sub Gabriel Moncini

On a high, we travelled to Frosinone in high spirits – and excited at the prospect of facing our promotion hero Borrelli. The game started badly with Andrea Cistana being injured by Brescianini early in the first half, He was replaced by new signing Motoc, who I really didn’t want to be forced to play so soon. Luckily, he played well, putting up a 7.2 rating whilst completing 39 of 41 passes and winning 4 of 5 header. It really highlighted the need for depth at the centre of defence.

We won the game with a Jallow goal following a clever free kick by Besaggio

TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY

Well, it finally came.

After months of fending teams off, I finally had to give in and let Papetti go when Bayer Leverkusen negotiated a £7.75m up front with a further £250k after 10 appearances. And a 30% sell on clause, naturally. 

This allowed me to actually improve the defence whilst adding vital depth across the squad. 

The first deals to be done was bringing in two players I’d had on my shortlist for a while, so naturally, I’m excited!

Joaquin Sosa from Bologna – £4.5m (£1.5m up front)

The 22-year-old Uruguayan is a statement signing for us (and smashes the wage structure, oops) so to get him for so little is fantastic. Very comfortable on the ball, he’s also a nice passer and displays lovely traits. Strong in the air, brave and tough in the tackle he should be a rock in our defence.

Alessandro Vogliacco from Genoa – £135k

Alessandro is another nice pick up. Able to also fill in on the right, he’s another addition who’s good in the air can look after the ball. At 25, he’s never played in Serie A but the scouts think he’s still got some progression left so he should be a a bargain at £135k.

Next up are two loan signings:

Niccolo Corrado fills the back up spot at Left Wingback and joins from rivals Ternana. He didn’t play much last season due to picking up a few injuries – including 3 months with a torn calf muscle – so I’m keen to see if I can nurse him through the season as scouts think he can develop into a good Serie A player. He’s quick and an excellent crosser, so along with his gets forward whenever possible trait could be a very effective option on the left. I’ve got an optional fee of £1.5m if he can fulfil his potential 

Finally, Wesley Said joins from RC Lens and gives me some extremely much needed pace up front. Signed as a squad player with a £350k option, he adds a dimension to our strike force which neither Bianchi or Moncini possess, so could prove valuable when a different approach is needed. 

CONCLUSION

Our transfer business is done and I’m very happy with it. In turn this has lead to a promising start to our Serie A season. 

In the next article I’ll cover to the end of the January transfer window. 

Will our good run of results continues? Will I have converted back to a 5-3-2?

Will I even have a job?

We’ll see!

Author

  • ThrowingCopperFM

    ThrowingCopperFM is known for unraveling complex FM strategies, often using Girona FC as a canvas to illustrate his tactical theories. Whether it's penning down comprehensive guides on mastering promotion in FM or sharing bargain player finds, ThrowingCopperFM's content is a treasure trove for aspiring managers. His active Twitter engagement further demonstrates his enthusiasm for football discussions beyond the virtual realm, making him a well-rounded and appreciated contributor in the FM community.

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3 thoughts on “Brescia Calcio – Building for the Top

  1. A good enough start to the season! Some savvy recruitment too. I really like the use of player traits to try and influence to two AM roles.

  2. Ive enjoyed Papetti on FM 22 + 23 and seen him still go for some big money on 24. That 30% clause could come in v handy!

    1. Thanks Alex – was hoping I could keep him – He hasn’t played much and has moved to France now.

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