I think the above infographic is really important there, and, probably, a harsh reminder that I haven’t quite hit the mark with this window. Buoyed with the performances of last season, I didn’t really want to change much but, actually, I’ve come out of the summer window feeling like the squad is a little stale and not addressing a couple of things that’d cost money to change. I secured the outgoings that I had planned: Stierpermann moved to the Middle East for a decent fee, Minami brought me a decent profit on a player who’d really stagnated and Helmes was also a small profit when the only player I had wanted became available. However, the rest of the dealings were loans – me moving on quality players who aren’t quite quality enough to get into my first team, yet. And that is where I think I’ve fallen down. Safe in the knowledge that the future is bright, I have neglected the present and what I want us to stand for in the transfer market, bar one player.

My four incoming transfers can be seen below.

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 Jorrel Hato felt like a no brainer – much better than Helmes at left back and at centre back and a free transfer, too. The analyst report was complementary and suggested that Mainz’s relegation was not necessarily linked to his performances. Furthermore, my DoF wrangled a deal that sees him costing us just €55k per week, lower than his previous wage. I’m happy that I’ve got sufficient cover for Hagiwara at left back now and would really like to source a right-sided version of him. Even with €88m to spend – this wouldn’t be our transfer strategy without signing a complete unknown for a bargain price. Michal Sindelar was relegated with Lyngby in the Danish top flight and, as such, was available for a €500k release fee. His cover pic doesn’t look incredible – six goal contributions and really only strong outputs with his expected assists but digging into his analyst report tells a different story! Ranking highly for key passes, high intensity sprints, expected assists and interceptions means he could just be the perfect bargain Segundo Volante. Then I looked at his attributes! First touch, passing and technique are all wonderful as is his flair and vision – making him a pretty decent 10 but he’s absolutely not left behind defensively either and, in my eyes, can hold his own given his height and reasonably physical stature. I’m excited!

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Then we get to the less planned move and then we get to the…panic!

I hadn’t contemplated sending Sindelar out on loan until I saw Nmecha was available to me and I found it really hard to turn down the potential to have his experience and personality within the team for a short time. Fallen out of favour at Dortmund, I wanted some reinforcements so that I could focus my defensive players on, well, playing there. Feeling that a midfield of Hannibal, Reckert, Bischof, Sindelar and Nmecha – I went for it on a short term deal. Once he’d arrived and I looked at setting the squad up for a couple of friendlies, I then felt that it was too much and we’d not be able to offer appropriate playing time, forcing my hand into loaning the most suitable – Sindelar – out. Our squad depth though, at this point, made me realise that, actually, a loan would benefit him as he settles into Bundesliga life, so he’s gone to Hamburg for the season. And then I realised I was short up top. Arkine and Nikolic could rotate but one of the things I really enjoyed was being able to rotate the entire four but, with Krassnitzer on the right and Nikolic up top, I’d only be able to put Arkine in one of those places. With Stierpermann, Minami and D’Anzi leaving and only Kuczmann coming in to fill that void, I had to go shopping. Additionally, I’d realised that all of my attacking players were under six foot tall so needed some extra height and physicality. I liked the look of Maurits Kjærgaard from Bayern but they weren’t – rightly so – interested in selling to us. Therefore, I made a big decision and asked my DoF to recommend a signing fitting my needs (i.e. I stopped when I clicked on the first tall striker who wouldn’t break the bank) and just went for it – in a slight blind panic. He opted for Beljo, a man who doesn’t lack height but does lack actual football at a decent level – not even playing four-hundred minutes in Serie A last year. I decided that I’d move for him on loan instead of permanently and, you never know, he might fill a gap against that tough low block or just get on the end of a late corner with his 6’5″ frame. But, again, he might not!

With a strong set of players out on loan, I can start to look towards the future and plan for what I need to avoid panic buys like this. I’m not saying that waiting until the end of playing the free transfer market is bad, at all, but it just isn’t the way that I want to structure my dealings. Our squad looks strong but there are some real gaps:


  • Long term replacements for Hannibal and Nmecha in the DM roles. Sindelar could fill one but the other isn’t likely to be filled by anyone currently at the club.
  • Replacements for Beljo if I don’t make the move but D’Anzi could fill that role on a more permanent basis.
  • Replacements for Havertz but Angerer could fill that role
  • Replacement for backup keeper Fischer and Bjorklund could fill that role.


  • Attacking option at right back similar to what Hagiwara can offer as a CWB(s) when needed. Ozdemir cannot fulfil that role, limiting my creative options down that side.
  • The other DM role that Sindelar might not fill.
  • world class centre back to sit alongside Markovic, replacing Bauer. Left footed and supreme on the ball but not necessarily a dribbly Libero type.

Not quite what I had in mind as I went into the window but I’m really excited about Sindelar and have a squad that is well known to me and one that I have a lot of faith in. With no passage to the Europa League, my aim this season is to end up in the Champions League spots again and bring home the Pokal. Die Werkself!


  • Ben

    Ben has been a long time contributor to the FM community previously on The Dugout and the SI Forums. He is known for his great in-depth tactical analysis and an increasing level of understanding of data led recruitment. His FM saves are always in-depth and he delivers both his knowledge of the game and great storytelling including a talent for squad building, progressing youth players and finding diamonds in the rough. His saves are really popular within the blogging community. He is also the creator of the popular skin “Statman”

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