Godfather Of Champions Chapter 202 1

Chapter 202: The Old Soldiers Part 1
Chapter 202: The Old Soldiers Part 1
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

Tang En had long forgotten about what he had said to Rebrov in December of last year, during the half-time interval of the game against Crystal Palace FC in City Ground Stadium: "I will put your name on the list of transfer players." After half a season of integration, Rebrov was already completely able to ensure a spot on the team. As such, Tang En had never considered fulfilling his promise.

So when he received the fax from FC Kyiv Dynamo, his initial reaction was one of shock; he had never considered selling Rebrov. The Ukrainian was one of the few experienced players on the team. Currently, young players made up the majority of Nottingham Forest. Although they were undoubtedly very talented, they lacked the most important thing: experience. The English Premier League and League One are two completely different types of leagues. Lower tier leagues were usually like "Home Alone," where young people had most of the power. As such, large clubs were willing to loan out their young players to League One teams as a form of training. However, in the Premier League, there were very few teams that were comprised largely of young players, as most managers dared not shoulder the responsibility of losing a match because of sending out too many young players onto the field.

There were two reasons for Tang En's purchase of so many young players. The first reason was due to his love of young players that he had gotten from playing the Football Manager game. The second reason was that he did it out of helplessness. There were really very few players which fulfilled his requirements of being experienced and still being at the peak of their professional careers.

For Nottingham Forest, although he did not have many chances to play in the second-half of the season due to his fitness and his injury, Rebrov's wealth of experience was still very helpful to the team at crucial moments.

Tang En snapped out of his daze and took another look at the name on the fax. Without hesitation, he rejected the transfer request from Kyiv Dynamo.

The next day, Rebrov went to find Tang En before training. "Sir, Kyiv Dynamo's chairman just gave me a call."

Tang En sighed. It turned out that the Ukrainian Football Club was prepared on both ends.

"Chairman Surkis told me that Dynamo needs me. And I believe him."

Tang En looked at Rebrov and said, "Then, Serhiy. What if I told you that I need you too? Would you believe me?"

Rebrov smiled. "Of course I believe you, sir. But Kyiv Dynamo promised me a core position on the team. Sir, can I get the same promise from you, for this season's Premier League matches?"

This question struck at Tang En's core. He had indeed not considered giving Rebrov a core position. In highly-intensive matches like the Premier League's, Rebrov's ageing knees had become the biggest restricting factor for his performance. If Tang En gave a core position to an old player that might sustain frequent injuries, it would be quite irresponsible of him.

However, Tang En knew that if he told Rebrov his plans, there would be a very high probability of losing him.

After pondering for a while, Tang En finally opened his mouth and asked, "Serhiy, if I say that I promise to give you a core position on the team, will you stay with Nottingham Forest?"

Without hesitating, Rebrov nodded his head. "I will, sir. Being able to play under your management is my honor."

Lying could retain a player that was useful to the team, but once he discovered that he had been lied to, his relationship with Tang En would beyond salvation.

Tang En sighed. "I really want to lie to you, Serhiy, but I have to tell you the truth. When this season begins, you definitely won't be a core player."

This was a reply that was within expectations. As an old professional soccer player that had played for many different clubs, Rebrov had gained a clear understanding of his future a long time ago. He nodded his head and smiled. "Thank you, sir, for being honest with me. And even more so for your guidance during my most difficult times."

Is this a farewell speech? Tang En thought to himself. In the past, Collymore had spent two million pounds to bring him from London to Nottingham, and now Nottingham Forest had the opportunity to sell him for three million pounds, ultimately earning them one million dollars. No matter how he looked at it, it was definitely a profitable transaction. The price also revealed how highly Kyiv Dynamo regarded Rebrov.

The player wanted to leave, and there was another team that wanted him. Nottingham Forest would lose a veteran player, but could earn one million pounds.

Tang En nodded his head. "if you think that returning to Ukraine will be better for you, then I'll allow you to leave the team. But Serhiy, I want to remind you for the last time The moment you return to the freezing cold of Eastern Europe, you will be saying goodbye to the mainstream European football world"

Upon getting the manager's approval, Rebrov was in an extremely good mood. He chuckled. "Sir, do you think that I'm still fantasizing about being able to join a powerhouse club, and winning the championships? I'm already past the age of dreaming. Now is the time for me to seriously consider how I'm going to spend the little time that I have left before I go into retirement."

He was right, and Tang En could not say anything more. Talking about glorious ambitions and achievements at Rebrov's age was indeed not very practical.

"Alright, you win. I wish you luck, Serhiy," Tang En said, waving his hands.

"I wish you good luck too, Sir."

One day later, Serhiy Rebrov became the first person of the summer to confirm his departure from Nottingham Forest. Kyiv Dynamo had, for three million pounds, bought the Ukrainian player who had found his confidence and his forte while playing the midfielder position.

Through this, the media confirmed Tang En's ability to guide and nurture players. Rebrov had only displayed his truly exceptional performance for half a season, and that was right after Tang En had taken over and became the manager of Nottingham Forest. For a player's value to not dip but instead rise over one season was more than enough on its own to display Tang En's ability.

Rebrov's departure fortified Tang En's determination to find another experienced veteran player for Nottingham Forest's midfield. Currently, the team severely lacked players that could play in the middle lane of the midfield. The only players that were confirmed to be in Tang En's plans were George Wood and Brynjar Gunnarsson. The rest of the players would most likely be purged: either loaned out or sold to other teams.

The team needed veteran players, and Nottingham Forest, which was comprised mainly of young players, was essentially crippled. In that case, who were the veteran players out there that fulfilled Tang En's requirements?

He suddenly thought of someone.

Tang En thought that he might have to make another trip to Italy with a translator.

It was really nice to be the manager of a professional football team, as he could use the company's funds to go on a "vacation."

After he had informed Evan of his destination, the club immediately made all the necessary arrangements for Tang En. Bringing an Italian translator with him, Tang En flew to Milan, Italy in the afternoon of that same day.

At night, when Tang En was eating at the restaurant appointed for the meeting, there were two people seated opposite him. The first was the agent Branchini, and the second was the target who Tang En had specially flown to Italy for: Demetrio Albertini, a curly-haired man who did not look like a football star, and always had a plebeian smile on his face.

When Tang En had still been a football fan, he had not been a diehard supporter of any specific club who would support his team no matter what. Instead, he loved many teams, but would never quarrel with someone over Real Madrid and Barcelona's hundred-year feud. He liked many football stars, but he was not one to hate on other football players just because he liked some other ones.

He was not a supporter of AC Milan, and therefore would not shed tears of joy just because they won the Champions League. Still, he liked the man sitting opposite him.

He was the ex-vice captain of the powerhouse AC Milan, and was highly reputable among football fans. He was AC Milan and the Italian national team's absolute core, and had even been deemed by Maldini as someone who "could make all of Italy catch a cold when he sneezed." The number of glorious titles he had gotten and the number of grand occasions he had experienced were so many that they could not be listed even in a span of two days. However, all those were already things of the past.

By now, he had already been gone from AC Milan for a long time, and was currently intending to annul the contract with Lazio because the club, which had gotten into a financial crisis, could not afford his salaryone million, two hundred and fifty-thousand pounds after taxation.

For SS Lazio, which was badly battered by their financial issues, this was no small amount of money. They had just signed a two-year contract at the start of the year with Albertini, who had been deserted by Milan. With an annual contract salary of one million, two hundred and fifty-thousand pounds, two years' worth of salary would be two million, five hundred thousand pounds. However, this amount of money was still affordable by Nottingham Forest, which had resolved its financial crisis and was a newly-promoted team in the Premier League.

That was the reason why Tang En had chosen Albertini.

Tang En believed that Albertini was not so old that he could only earn his salary on the bench while he silently waited for his retirement. He wanted to give both this Milanese man and Nottingham Forest a chancea chance to become more mature, to become stronger.

However, it was not like there were no competitors the time. Atlanta United FC's transfer market supervisor, Larini, had also met with Albertini's agent, Branchini, just a day before Tang En arrived in Milan. This was an incident that taken place in the original timeline, from before Tang En's meddling.

"Deme, we all know Lazio's current situation, and I also know that Atlanta is very interested in you. But please don't doubt Nottingham Forest's sincerity. You really believe that this is the end of your professional career? You really think that you've stooped as low as playing for a Serie A team that was at the bottom of the league?" Tang En started showing off his glib tongue in hopes of convincing Albertini to stop his negotiations with Atlanta and turn to Nottingham Forest instead.

After the Italian translator translated Tang En's words, Albertini fell into deep thought.

When he had been abandoned by AC Milan during the 02-03 season and loaned out to Atletico Madrid, he had still been hopeful that he could return back to Saint Siro Stadium. However, it was only after he spent one season in Spain and returned back to Italy that he realized that there was no place for him in Milan.