Two more years in Serie A with the Crociati: Ola John assist machine, Belfodil goal getter

Since I last posted I’ve waded through the 2015/16 season and am two thirds in to 2016/17 with a fairly young squad reliant on a few quality players and a few more who regularly perform above expectations.

In 2015/16 we once again finished 11th in Serie A, a result which was personally very disappointing considering we’d hovered around 6th and 7th for most of the season until we had an horrendous run of about five losses including one in the last game of the season which consigned us to 11th.

This was our Best Eleven for 2015/16

Despite finishing in the same position as the season before I was happy that we had better strength in depth and quality which might not have been possible to achieve without the £12m investment from the new owners.

As you can see my two centre backs achieved brilliant average ratings; Even Hovland in his first season with us proved to be my best signing in FM 13 so far and what a bargain at £1.8m.

Portugal striker Nelson Oliveira was also very important to the team and scored most of our goals despite not playing that many games.

It was a quiet season for Ishak Belfodil blighted by injuries so that was reflected in his goals total and poor performances.

I was so frustrated with him I nearly sold him but after his performances in 2016/17 I’m very glad I didn’t.

I don’t think the saying rings true with Fernando Torres but as far as Belfodil is concerned: form is temporary but class is permanent.

 Sotiris Ninis was a player I expected big things from and at 25-years-old there could be no excuses anymore that he wasn’t ready, nevertheless, he failed to fulfill my demands of him so when a couple of decent offers came in I took notice.

Furthermore, Ninis was on a decent wage and we’re forever strapped for cash so if a player isn’t quite earning every pound of their wage they could quickly be on there way.

Cagliari bought him for a fee of £5.75m up front no messing and he’s been terrible there so maybe it was a good idea to get rid.

 2016/17 season

During the summer we had about £10m to spend on players and I matched our highest transfer fee paid record (Andrea Poli from Sampdoria in 2013/14) by spending £5.75m on right back Neal Eardley from Nottingham Forest. It’s strange how £5.75m keeps coming up!

We also signed the left-sided attacking winger, Ola John, for £2.4m, who wasn’t needed at what is becoming our unofficial parent club, Benfica.

He has an impressive 9 assists from 26 appearances so far made up of mainly whipped crosses to players attacking the far post. He’s part of the reason our Ishak Belfodil is the present top goalscorer in Serie A.

As I write this, things seem to be clicking with my Parma squad *touch wood*. Here is the current league table with eight games remaining in Serie A (should be finished before bed):

I’m going to leave you on this exciting note. Can we qualify for the Champions League? Oh let’s hope so!

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