We begin our pre season tour to Austria with the thoughts and excitement of the Premier League on our minds and the hope that we can hold our own against the big boys and survive our first season back in the big time with Leeds after winning the Championship last season pretty comfortably. As usual Brede will be taking charge of the pre season games while I concentrate more on making sure the squad is good enough for the challenges of the next few months and trying to bring in players to help strengthen the team.
We arrive in Austria with rumours going round on the internet as to who our next new signing will be as we have been linked with a few players in recent weeks. Before long the rumours were true and we had made more signings before leaving Austria along with having a couple of players come on trial with none staying beyond the trial.
A solid pre season from us with only one defeat which came at home to Milan who we expected to get beat by along with a surprising home win against a strong Monaco side who we beat 4-1. I added a friendly away to Tranmere who I have a soft spot for and are willing them to do well. We have been playing between two formations this pre season, a 4-2-3-1 and my 4-3-1-2 which has done wonders for me so far this career. We may have played a game or two to many but a couple of the games were mainly our youth/reserves playing to give them that bit more development and game time to be prepared for the season.
Matthew Targett – 3 Million
Adam Armstrong – 5 Million
Joshua Onomah – Season Loan
Cyrus Christie – 3.5 Million
Joe Gomez – Season Loan
Tom Davies – 2 Million (Rising to 4 Million)
Ryan Gauld – Free
Jose Sa – 175k
It is nearly a new look team as we have sold a number of players along with the loan players from last season going back to their clubs as we were unable to bring them back for another year. The squad is still pretty light in places and we still have time to bring in another player or two to fill those gaps although we do have a couple of players from the reserves who are good enough to back up for the season should we not find the right player. I am expecting big things from Perez this season after a good spell out on loan last season and we have had to reject bids from clubs of 8 Million plus. We had been trying to get Alexander-Arnold back but were unable to due to rules of the league. Another player we were talking to was Reiss Nelson and there is still a chance he could come in on a short loan but we may miss out on him.
During our time in Austria I had an email offering me a job. Now I did take time to think about it and I had a look through the team and it was an OK team but not one that I fancied and as it was a challenge but not one I was willing to take. Who offered me the job you might ask? Well it was… WALES! They wanted me to be their manager but the team wasn’t strong enough and to be honest I wasn’t interested in managing both club and country right now. Maybe I would of in the future but I didn’t feel it and it wasn’t the right time for me.
The draw for the second round of the EFL Cup was made and we have a fairly easy draw as we go away to Oxford of League 1. A game we should be winning but we won’t take it as an expected win.
We are as expected one of the favourites to go straight back down and at 1000-1 there is a slim chance that we could do a Leicester! (Who won it at 5000-1 and I’ll never forget that day!) I am quietly confident that we can stay up and then we can build on this first season back in the Premier League and slowly work our way up and could be a top ten or top 8 side in a few years.
So that is a quick recap on our pre season as we prepare for life back in the Premier League and part two will be out tomorrow as we begin the season away to Chelsea of all teams! I will try and get the updates for this season out a bit quicker as this will be the last season before FM18 comes out in a few weeks and I’m sure we are all looking forward to that and I need to prepare for what kind of blog I will be doing for that as I have a couple of ideas but still unsure.
Thanks for reading.