So having read through Nick's thoughts on the squad i decided to have a look at the team and what we needed. In general i agreed with Nick's assessment of what was needed. First thing's first i renewed all of the staff's contracts as they were running out but we did lose our Assistant Manager who went to England somewhere so i have bought in Albert Watson for the time being to take on that role.
A load of youngsters who were not going to make it were released before i went about my business in shifting on Windass, Diaby, Hodson, Kiernan, Ashmore and Dodoo who in my opinion were surplus to requirements. The rest of the outgoings were loans with the main ones being Syme, Berry, Burt, Hardie and Harper as i couldnt decide whether they were worth keeping or not.
This helped trim down the squad by quite a bit. There was already the pre-arranged transfers of Mbabu and Berry which i believe Nick had done for me with Mbabu slotting in as a starter in the defence whilst Berry was loaned back out. In terms of my own signings, the first was a Belgian left Winger as i signed Selim Amallah for £300k from Tubize. For me he has bags of potential with room to grow and should be sellable for a profit if he doesn't work out for some reason.
My next ventures were in the loan market as i just couldn't find the right player to improve the first team who could come straight into the first team and not demand a massive wage. So i was pleasantly surprised when Leeds had Kalvin Phillips available on loan and i snapped him straight up. A £2m optional future fee has been negotiated which if he turns out half the player he has for me on my Leeds save is well worth the money.
I took the advice of @Trent and found Tony Gallacher and loaned him in from Crystal Palace to compete at left back for the season. Unfortunately i was unable to get an optional future fee that was realistically payable for us. My final signing came towards the end of the window as we have picked up a few injuries already and this time it is an older face as Craig Gardner comes in to provide steel and energy into the midfield.
On top of that i have promoted Cormack, Davidson and Miller to the first team to get more game time. Davidson has had a £2.5m bid rejected from Liverpool and he has now handed in a transfer request. Fucking kids.
Talking of injuries we have had shit luck during pre-season as we have lost Rossiter (broken Leg), McKay (Groin), Amallah (Groin), Waghorn (Ribs) and Holmes (Ankle) during pre-season or the opening games. All of the injuries are over 2 months as well. Amallah was particularly gutting since he just joined and was starting to play well.
Formation wise, i have stuck to the 4-2-3-1 but i have changed the player roles to suit myself and my new signings. In the CM spots i have a BBM (Phillips) with a BWM (Crooks/Gardner) whilst i have changed a few roles in defence. It means it now looks very similar to my Leeds tactic. Not sure if that is a good thing yet though
As you can see it has been busy. Pre-season saw us smash some Danish sides along with Brno in what was a nice sight to see. We didn't quite make the Champions League group stages as we were knocked out by a 91st minute goal from Dinamo sending us out on away goals. In fact with 7 minutes to go we were drawing the 2nd leg 1-1 and i thought surely we won't concede two and throw it away. Well i was very wrong.
So into the Europas where we have Zenit, Besiktas and Stoke. Not great but not awful and to be honest a 3rd place finish would do with a real possibility of doing better should it click.
I forfeited the league cup as i made 11 changes and it was a disjointed performance that probably deserved our early exit in that competition. I'm not too worried to be honest at this stage to be honest.
Whilst in the league we have maximum points with 3 wins from 3. All good there.
Looking Ahead to September
We should get 10 more points from the league with Dundee being the worry based on what i have seen so far from all of your comments whilst our Europa league tie against Stoke will be tricky.
Really enjoying this team and Matthew Knox is a beast with 11 goals already. Kalvin Phillips has been excellent with 2 goals and 4 assists whilst Quitonio has 8 assists. Tavernier beats them all so far with 3 goals and 2 assists from right back.