It didn’t take long for the post-season jockeying to begin in the Allsvenskan.
Just hours after taking second place, IFK Göteborg fired manager Mikael Stahre. The former AIK manager came to Göteborg in 2012 and helped turn around the fortunes of the club, garnering second place this year and third last season. However, the club, which spent heavily on new players, was not satisfied with its results in Europe. Göteborg bowed out of the UEFA Europa League in the qualifying stages in each of the past two years.
“Clearly I didn’t bring us a championship, but we did get a second- and third-place and I think I have taken Göteborg to a new level of football and I am proud of that,” Stahre said at a Nov. 3 press conference. “
The now former IFK manager said his firing did not come as a surprise.
“I have good intuition and I knew something was going on,” he said.
Stahre isn’t alone in leaving the club. South African international midfielder May Mahlangu declined to sign an extention with the club and is now a free agent. His agent, Rob Moore, is supposedly looking for a club in England for his client. Jakob Johansson also decided to go the free agent route. The 24-year-old striker/midfielder decided to test the waters and also declined an extension.
IFK has already signed several players for next season, including talented midfielders Tom Pettersson and Mikael Boman, who spent 2014 with Åtvidaberg. Former captain Tobias Hysen may also be on his way back. Hysén left Göteborg over the winter to play for Shangai East in China but says he is ready to return home. Hysén and IFK general manager Mats Gren have already had one conversation about the striker returning to Gamla Ullevi.
Göteborg faces several personnel decisions in December, the biggest of which is what to do about Lasse Vibe. The Danish midfielder led the Allsvenskan in scoring with 23 goals and could be a target of poaching clubs in the transfer season. Gren said he intends to do whatever is necessary to keep the popular Dane in Göteborg, although he would not say how high IFK would go financially.
AIK, which finished third, has been just as active. The Gnaget swooped for midfielder Johan Blomberg, who spent the last three seasons with Halmstad. He had 13 goals in 88 games for HBK.
AIK is reportedly looking closely at a trio of young players who carry strong pedigrees. Midfielder Alexander Jakobsen spent this season with PSV Eindhoven, where he failed to crack the starting XI despite high praise from the coaching staff. Finnish Under-21 international defender Janne Saksela is also now training with the club as is Finnish U-21 forward Sakari Tuklainen. The 20-year-old striker had 40 goals in 27 matches for Atlantis in Finland’s second division.