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04|03 MERCATO D’HIVER: Things Are Ticking along Nicely

Welcome to the latest instalment of my journey with Stade Rennais F.C. Last time out, I took you through our season up to the end of 2022. In this update I'll be reviewing our January 2023 transfer window and the matches for the month.

SeasonFour.EpisodeThree | Mercato d’hiver

January 2023

I know most January windows are quite for us these days, but this time I actually wanted to move some players on, but we couldn’t get the deals done.

Palacios is refusing to extend his deal, which has 18 months left so I put him on the market to try to get as much from him as we can. Unfortunately, there was no one willing to meet my €100M valuation. With the Summer now the next opportunity to sell him, I think we might do well to get €80M for a player with a year left on his deal.

Ferdy Druijf was a player I wanted to a long time, and just 18 months into his spell with us he was complaining about a lack of game time. His complaints were fair. He isn’t suited to the Trequartista role that I have been using in the lone striker position, so I decided to let him go. Despite a number of clubs meeting his valuation, including Everton and Newcastle, he decided to stay.


Nothing happened.

Transfers in


Transfers out


Youth player promotions

Boy oh boy! Part of the reason we didn’t look for reinforcements over the January window was that the kids I’ve brought through have done really well.

Julien Bey | 17 years old | Midfielder (Left), Striker (Centre) / AM (RL)

I know I tend to get a little excited when youth prospects come through, but Ênio hit a rough patch and with Niang out injured I called up Bey, who had hit 19 goals and 9 assists in 26 games for the under 19s.

This form carried over to the first team. At 6’5″ the towering winger has caused all sorts of issues for opposition defences. His 3 goals in as many games, along with an assist has already made me question Niang’s future at the club.

The perfectionist is just what I need right now! I’m super excited to see how good he can get, providing I can keep the vultures away!

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Zied Ayari | 18 years old | Striker (Centre) / AM (RL)

Another player who looks like he could be a superstar is 18 years old Ayari. He’s been asking for a call up to the first team squad so we’ve given him a few games. He has 2 goals and an assist in his 4 starts for us. A good return for a player his age.

He’s at that time now where game-time is more important for his development so we will see how much he gets with us for the rest of the season. I hope to keep him around as I think he can be really important for us.

I may also retrain him to play out on the right-wing as we’re a little short over there, but being two-footed, I like that I have him as a good striker option, too.

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Due to the World Cup being over the winter it was a crazy busy month for us. But perhaps all months should be based on these results…

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The 433 has finally clicked into gear for us. 25 goals and just 3 conceded over the 10 games.

Schmitt has excelled in the Trequartista role, which is the main reason I’ve had to leave out Druijf. The goals have been spread about, too. Which you would expect in a system like this. The wingers are chipping in, as are the central midfielders.

Everything is going great. It’s hard to remain calm at a time like this. Dare to dream…?

january transfer window

(Click here for the full table)

I don’t expect this good fortune to continue, we still have a lot of games to go and things are still very tight, considering. Still, it’s fun to be ahead of PSG for now.


Returning this January, we take a look at the youth players playing in the first-team squad and profile how they’re doing for us.

Gilles Schmitt

I know I profiled him last season, but his development has been so impressive. He has improved in so many areas, he really is turning into the complete forward for us and is flourishing in the Trequrtista role.

With 6 goals and 3 assists in 15 starts, his stats are a little low here, but his game now is about so much more, with only Hamari Traoré creating more chances for us this season.

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That just about wraps things up. My next post will be covering the rest of the season!

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.

Oliver Jensen

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