Hello and welcome to the next post in my European Alphabet Challenge and I have now completed the pre-season of my first full season in Croatia. I spent half a season at Split before moving to Dinamo Zagreb, shown in my last post. This post will cover the results, transfers, etc. I have played all the way up to the end of the transfer window, and here are the results so far:
So we only managed to squeeze in 1 friendly before Europe kicked in. We faced Norwegian side Stromgodset in the 2nd Qualifying Round which we won convincingly with a 6-3 win on aggregate. Following that European battle, we played our first league match of the season, beating Slaven Belupo 4-0. Once again, for the 3rd time in this story, we faced Trnava and coasted past them 8-1 on aggregate. Inbetween those 2 legs, we beat Hajduk, our main title rivals, 5-3. Our final Europa League Qualifying tie came against Russian side Dinamo Moscow. I though we’d go out after we lost 1-2 at home in the 1st leg. However we pulled it back winning 6-4 away in a 10-goal thriller, putting us through 7-6 on aggregate. Our final league match was a 4-1 win away at Zagreb in the derby.
Here is our Europa League Group:
We were given a very tough group, featuring the Italians, Udinese, the Belgians, Standard Liege, and finally the Ukrainians, Dnipro. I’m not expecting to qualify at all but we’ll see.
Quite a few players left, mainly due to lack of quality. One player who was sold, I didn’t want to leave. Fernando was sold for £1.5m to M. Tel-Aviv as it met his release clause. If I knew he had one I would’ve taken it away and he rejected our improved contract to join the Israeli side. The Brazilian GK, who was just 20 but had 4 stars ability, had left a gap in the side and a replacement needed to be found. Which brings us nicely onto the topic of players we signed.
I signed 7 players for a total of £7.75m. However, Pamic and Hamzic were signed on pre-contract deals by the previous management, therefore I will not be showing them.
Jorge Rivero: DC (£350k Fee — From Caracas)
I signed young Venezuelan DC, Jorge Rivero, for a small fee of £350k. He will start most games for us at the back alongside one of 2 DC’s already at the club. He has some great defensive attributes for a 23 year old.
Dejan Radotic: MC (£500k Fee — From RNK Split)
From my short time at RNK Split I knew this player stood out. Radotic is a superb, young MC with a huge future ahead of him. He has had an amazing start to the season, scoring 4 goals in 11 games, with an average rating of 7.56. I cannot wait to see him throughout the season, and I know he’ll be found playing for a top division side one day.
Lucas Kummer: ST (£4.5m Fee — From Newell’s)
Kummer joined us for a hefty fee of £4.5m, and joined us coming out of an injury. As a result, he has only played 5 games, but has a record of 1 goal per game. Hopefully he can continue his fine form and help us towards the title this season.
Dragutin Okic: GK (£1.7m Fee — From Hajduk)
I found the replacement for Fernando. Okic signed from fierce rivals Hajduk, which obviously worried the fans and the media. However he has done well so far and hopefully we can win everyone round. Having conceded just 14 goals in 10 games, he isn’t doing badly at all.
Socrates Peres: ST (£900k Fee — From Genk)
I was reunited with Peres following my spell at Genk earlier in the save. I know he can score goals from my time there, and having spent the last couple of seasons out on loan, he has gained experience. His attributes have improved greatly and hopefully he can make a name for himself here in Croatia. He’s only played 1 game so far this season, and scored in it.
That’s all for this post, thanks for reading and please comment/vote!