A better place

Mentally, I mean. Physically, I’m still at ESTAC Troyes.

I realised at the end of last season that the players I had bought were just about good enough for Ligue 1. That is, they were good enough to keep the team from getting relegated, but not much more than that. I needed to be signing much better players, and to do that, I had to sell some youngsters.

Robin Daval (20) and Predrag Stanojevic (21) are two young starlets that spent last season out on loan. They did alright, and this season they might’ve started to make their way into the first team. With only £400k in the transfer budget though, their days were numbered as soon as the first bids started to appear. In the end, Daval went to FC Porto for £1.8m (rising to £2.4m) and Stanojevic took the shorter trip to FC Metz for £1.7m (rising to £2.1m). A bunch of other sales helped take in £5m and I was able to buy a few players who will legitimately make an impression on the first team squad.

As it happens, I only spent £675k, but those that have arrived are certainly better than what we have currently – or will hopefully grow into their roles.

Adam Goetz, Martin Terrier, Antonin Lelievre, and Mattias Käit are all youth signings that I hope will come on in the next season or two. Wheras Aly Ndom, Ardit Curri, Moussa Benali, Dylan Bronn, and Omer Atzili are all, pretty much, first team picks already.

Chelsea also offered me £1.8m for 15-year-old Ourdy Kalonji, but he doesn’t join them for another 2 and a half years. I’ll hopefully get some game time out of him before he goes, but shortly after signing the deal, he got a knee injury, so maybe he’s a bit injury prone. Honestly, I didn’t even know he was in the squad until Chelsea and Arsenal came sniffing around.

I’m pleased with the transfer activity, but I probably would’ve got involved in a bit more, had it not been for this message, pre-season.

For a period after that, I wasn’t allowed to make any transfers, and to make things worse, I soon saw this rumour in the local press.

ESTAC Troyes will name Luis Entonado as their new manager should the consortium’s bid to take control prove successful.

Who the hell is Luis Entonado when he’s at home? He’s only one of my own coaches!

Fortunately, the takeover bid failed, and I still have a job. But it means that I’m constantly looking over my shoulder waiting for Luis to stab me in the back. If it wasn’t for the fact that he’s quite a good coach, he’d be long gone.

As it is, his card is marked.


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