- League Title
- Domestic Trophy (Complete)
- Continental Trophy
With promotion achieved and a cup win under our belt, which you can read about here
zanifblog.wordpress.com/2022/11/17/season-1/ that has left me with just 2 more boxes to tick before I leave Gremio. I now need to win Serie A and the Copa Libertadores but ultimately, I’ll be leaving this club in a better state than when I joined them. But all in good time. It’s time to focus on the now, and how we’re going to improve this squad.
At the end of last season, due to player sales across the year we managed to gather around £3m in transfer funds. However, with more than 10 players coming back from loan spells, many of whom being high profileplayers on big wages, the wage budget was in serious peril, and in order to fix it and keep in the black, we saw our transfer budget go from £3m to £0. A tough pill to swallow.
We managed to move on a few players, the main being Jean Pyerre who fetched us £1.8m. Not mega money by any stretch of the imagination but it helps with the wage / transfer budget balance. Jhonata Robert was also sold putting another £1.2m into the club.
With the funds from these sales, we strengthened in 4 areas; Centre back, right back, midfield and up front (to replace the now retired Diego Souza).
In midfield we brought in Xavier from Corinthians on a free. Solid all round but won’t be our key man. We’ve brought him in to provide back up to Lucas Leiva in the DM position.
We were looking very weak on numbers in the attacking midfield area, so we brought in two creative midfielders who are versatile and can play wide or through the centre when needed. First through the door was 24 year old Fessin. A very decent set of attributes with flair and pace which could see him get past his man to provide for his teammates. His versatility is what convinced me though, able to play left, right and centre in the centre of the park or in the more advanced attacking positions, and also able to play a role as a striker if needed. My plan for him is to play out wide with the view to cutting inside his marker.
Next in was a big signing for this position. For an initial fee of 950k, Andres Ricaurte joins from Columbian side Independiente Medellin. Mentally sound with very decent technical attributes and solid physicals, Ricaurte could well be the key figure we rely on this season.
Next we have Heleno. A freebie to provide back up to the centre back position. Looking at his attributes, they’re very impressive for a 35 year old, especially when you see he hasn’t lost his pace and could play part of a standard / high line. But for now he’s a back up for when the fixtures get piled up around the Copa Libatedores and Serie A.
And to add a bit of quality in the right back position, we acquired Klebinho for £195k. Not a big sum by any means and we could well have a bargain here. With great crossing and good physicals to get up and down the wing, we may well see the lad get himself a fair few assists this season.
We still needed a striker, desperately. Our budget had been hit hard by the above transfers and we were scraping the barrel a bit. But we managed to land a huge, huge loan signing. It was a battle at first, going back and forth, delaying the transfer for 3 weeks as we couldn’t afford the monthly fee but eventually they dropped their demands after he declared he was unhappy and wanted the move for first team football. Therefore, we were able to confirm the loan signing of Brazilian wonderkid Kaio Jorge. A lethal striker who at this level will score goals for fun. The loan includes an optional future fee of £3.6m. I’m under no illusions that we may not be able to afford that come the end of the season but if the money is there and Jorge has proved his worth, we will definitely be exercising that option.
With the arrival of Jorge our transfer business was complete, for now. We won the Gaucho State Championship for the second year in a row, beating Internacional 7 – 3 on aggregate.
So pre-season is done and dusted and we’re ready to face Serie A. I’m confident we’ll secure a top 6 finish which will meet board expectations which is to qualify for the Copa Total Sudamericana through the league. Our Copa Libatadores group was also drawn and it looked as if we could find ourselves in the knockout stages of this copetion later in the year. Here we go…