Pre-season with Montpellier is a bit of a culture shock. I have money to spend. And lots of it.
Helped by the sale of Fabio Castellano – he wanted away – to Juventus for £29m (rising to £45m), we had around £45m to spend. And we needed it. The squad was in desperate need of rejuvenation and more people have left than have come in.
All in, we sold £34m worth of players, including Castellano, Clément Vidal, Steven Moreira, José Carlos Monteiro Bessa, Modou Diagne, and Aziz Kadiri.
The board would like me to sign youngsters so most of the inbound transfers are 25 or younger. Zander Fulton (22), François Fabre (21), Vincent Collet (23), Paulo Romeiro (23), Paolo Postorino (22), Jeando Fuchs (25), Laurent Saizonou (19), and Gianmaria Zanandrea (24). Most of these were relatively modest signings, but Postorino came in from AC Milan for £12m, and Saizonou signed from Toulouse for a cool £9m (rising to £31.5m!)
I brought in a few older heads, too. Mathieu Michel arrives from ESTAC Troyes as a back-up keeper – he was excellent in my time with them – while Giovanni Simeone, Marcos Llorente, Aleix Febas, and Nikola Maksimovic make up the spine of an otherwise young team.
I’m also currently tracking a replacement for my £23.5 million-rated superstar, Hilton, who is desperate to leave. He wanted to go to Barcelona, but despite scouting him a number of times, a bid has yet to materialise. AS Monaco chanced their arm with a fairly derisory offer, which I knocked back, obviously. He’s been in a huff, ever since.