The Introduction | Player Analysis
Squad assessment is probably one of the most important things to get right, particularly when you’re on a tight budget. I need to make sure I assess things accurately and put resources into the right areas of the squad.
At a minimum, I like to have a 22 man squad. This being two players for each position. This doesn’t mean two first-team players for each position, this means at least two players who can do a job there when needed, preferably at a 70/30 split of playing time.
A slightly larger squad than I would have liked, we are probably one striker too many (although Sakho is transfer listed) and we seem to have one too many attacking midfielders from the left. We only have Johansson at DM, but Camavinga can play there if needed.
We have a good squad and one that I’m happy with going into the start of the season.
Youth prospects: We are spoilt when it comes to the youth players on the fringes of the first-team action. One of my first jobs will be to assess these players to see who might benefit from a loan, and who might be coming into the first team to offer valuable cover with some minutes. Some stand out players for me are Alexis Trouillet, Lucas da Cunha, and Noah Françoise. The latter of which is already wanted by the likes of Monaco and PSG.
Before creating a tactic I will always check out the depth of the squad first. Based on the review by my assistant manager, I think a 4-3-3 suits us given the number of great players in MC, AML, AMR, and ST.
Immediately, I can see that we are lacking in the following areas:
- Defender left for quality
- Defender right for backup
- Defensive midfield
Looking ahead to the next transfer window in the summer of 2020, we will be looking to recruit in the aforementioned areas; notwithstanding any potential departures or movements from the youth teams.
Goalkeepers. Unfortunately, first-choice keeper Edouard Mendy is injured for the net two to four weeks, so 34-year-old Romain Salin will get the jump in pre-season to prove to me if he has what it takes to challenge him.
Full-backs. We have two young options on the left, 22-year-old Souleyman Doumbia who is better defensively and Faitout Maouassa who is a year younger but better offensively. Both players are of equal ability, but Maouassa edges it with better potential.
On the right, Hamari Traoré is unchallenged for his position. I’ve had to call up 16-year-old Guela Doué as cover for his position when he needs a rest. Not an ideal scenario to be in, but we don’t really have any other options as I’ve like to keep the centrebacks fresh for rotation rather than forcing them into my demanding wing-back role.
Central defenders. Not a position I need to worry about here. I have two great central defenders in Damien Da Silva and Joris Gnagnon, who is on loan from Sevilla.
Defensive midfielders. With Jakob Johansson the main defensive midfielder available to me, he’ll need to keep fit for me as I need him to play as many games back there as he can. I will likely look to replace him next summer. We do have the exciting Eduardo Camavinga who I’d rather was further forward, but if needed he’ll make a good option to drop back.
Central midfielders. Probably the strongest area in terms of cover here. We have Jonas Martin, Clément Grenier and Benjamin Bourigeaud who can all play here. I’ll likely be picking roles for them that will get them involved in the play.
Wingers. The key area to my system will be the wings. It always is. We have four great options out wide, with M’Baye Niang and Flavien Tate fighting it out for the left-wing spot, and Raphinha and Romain Del Castillo fighting it out on the right. It’s a great position for me to be in. Here’s how the players compare.
Strikers. While M’Baye Niang can also play upfront, I’ll probably be looking to Adrien Hunou to start in the striker role. He can play as an Advanced Forward or Complete forward, two roles I really like to use. He’s very well rounded and can also play a more demanding Pressing Forward if we need.
INITIAL TACTICAL THOUGHTS
As we don’t really have any great options through the middle in attacking midfield, I’m thinking a 4-3-3 is probably the best initial system for us to use.
We have excellent players through the middle and out wide, so I have no worries there, but defensively, if we can keep strong, we should be able to punish even the best in the league.
I’ll be honest, I’m quite surprised by the quality in the squad and we should have no issues achieving an expected mid-table finish. If we can get off to a good start, we could even push a little higher than this…
As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, via twitter @fmfutbolmanager, or my slack channel #fmFutbolManager — if you’re not a part of the Football Manager Slack community, then you can join here!
Until next time, à tout à l’heure.