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05|01 PRÉ-SAISON: Our Rivals Are Spending 500m While We’re Searching the Sofa!

Welcome to the latest instalment of my journey with Stade Rennais F.C. Last time out I took you through my end of season review, as we completed season 2022/23. In this update I'll be reviewing preseason ahead of the 2023/24 season.

SeasonFive.EpisodeOne | Pré-saison

Well, Palacios finally left us but the money didn’t really go back into the squad. It was a pretty poor preseason for us, but I’m hopeful we have enough to compete.

June 2023 – August 2023

With the transfer window finally behind us, we can concentrate on what will be another tough season as we look to find the balance between avoiding Champions League humiliation and aiming to get back into the competition next season.

To do that we need better players, but to get better players I need to be able to retain more than 30% of the money from player sales. It’s a vicious circle.


We could have done better, but it’s over now.

Transfers in

First up, the players I have brought into the club this window.

IN | Rick Van Drongelen| Free from Leicester

I was on the lookout for a centre-back to come in and offer us some cover, and Van Drongelen can play on the left as well to offer cover there if we need it. For a free transfer, it was worth the risk.

With a transfer value of €24M if it doesn’t work out we should be able to make some money on the deal at least.

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IN | Amadou Barry | €7.5M from Niort

A lot of money for a 16-year-old, but my scouts were very excited by his potential so I decided to make a move for him.

A little on the expensive side, but in 5 years time he should be breaking into the first team and hopefully worth 10x what we paid for him.

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IN | Matías Abrigo | €6.25M from Talleres Cba.

Again quite a bit of money for a young player, but Matías will come into the first team next season after his loan back deal ends. I would have liked him to be on the fringes of the first team this season, but Talleres wanted him back as part of the deal to sell him to us, so we will have to wait.

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IN | Tomislav Duvnjak | €24.5M from Dinamo

A record transfer for us but with Palacios leaving we needed to fill the void. He will likely drop into the DM slot and free up Camavina to move further forwards and be a threat further up the pitch.

I’ve no doubt that Tomislav will be a good player for us. We’ve been tracking him for a few seasons now, so I’m pleased to finally have him with us.

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Transfers out

Always the worst part of the updates. But being a club of our stature, it is always going to happen.

OUT | Exequiel Palacios | €120M to PSG

Another of our superstars leaves for PSG and this time it’s Palacios. I knew that he was going to leave and with just a year left on his contract I wanted to get the most I could for him.

With most clubs in Europe interested but only wanting to stump up around €80M I made the tough decision to take an extra €40M and sell him to our rivals. After a 30% sell-on clause and 30% made available for transfers from player sales we weren’t able to strengthen as much as we wanted, but hopefully, this will pay dividends in the long run.

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OUT | M’Baye Niang | €5M (€6M) to Aston Villa

After a drab season last year, I decided to free up some wages and move Niang on. Unfortunately this season no one was interested, so he has moved to the Premier League with Aston Villa.

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Youth player promotions

Malo Boyer | 18 years old | Midfielder (Centre), Attacking Midfielder (Right) / M (R), ST (C)

Malo is a product of our youth team and has been knocking on the door since the end of last season. This season we’ve decided to call him up to the first team and see how he can do when competing against Pereira for a place on the right wing.

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Julien Bey | 18 years old | Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder (Left), Striker / AM (R)

Like Malo, Julien is from the youth team and enters his fifth season with us now. He is getting to the point where he’s going to need games to develop so he will fight with Ênio for a place on the left.

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The 433 sticks after the great results last season. Preseason was kind to us, we didn’t really get any injuries and the players are performing well.

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Another good start.

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Despite dominating possession and having 20 shots to their 7 we again struggle to beat PSG. We had a goal disallowed at the end of the match with no real explanation, so it was disappointing to lose in the way that we did. But for a preseason curtain-raiser, I’m happy with the performance.

Onto the league and things are looking great. We’ve scored 6 goals and conceded just the 1. We’ve had 56 shots to 11 in those games and dominated the possession.

We are just 3 games into the season so I’m trying not to get too carried away, but the early signs are positive.


(Click here for the full table)

Another great start for us in the league then.

We were again unlucky in the Champions League draw as we face Manchester United, Real Madrid and RB Leipzig. Awesome.

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

Please leave me a comment below.

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