SeasonSix.EpisodeOne | Pré-saison
With the thoughts of last season still firmly in memory, I felt that this season we just needed to do more of the same and restrict the movement of players both into and out of the squad where possible.
We have a good squad here, but it is a young squad. With each passing season, we’re getting more mature and stronger as a group. I know we’re on the verge of something special. I’m sure of it.
With the player sales over this summer, I feel that we probably should be thinking about adding some experience if we’re unsuccessful this coming season.
June 2024 – August 2024
One thing that is for sure is that this season will be tough again. Another tough Champions League group which the board expect us to qualify from, along with expectations that we do better in the league.
We’ve moved into our new stadium which holds nearly 40,000 supporters so it’ll be important to keep up the progress we’re making to make use of these fantastic facilities and to ensure we don’t have empty seats each week!
THE TRANSFER WINDOW
As I mentioned I didn’t really want to upset the balance of the team by making too many transfers. My priority was a left-back with Doumbia deciding he didn’t want to renew his contract. We signed one, and then Doumbia changed his mind.
Still, at least we now have two in the squad.
First up, the players I have brought into the club this window.
IN | Greg Taylor | €18.5M from Celtic
I wanted to spend less on him, considering his value at Celtic, however, considering that we had been rejected in approaches for around 10 other left-backs, given the lack of transfer funds we have and the quality we’re after, when my scouts recommended I take a look at Taylor, I jumped at the opportunity to sign him.
He looks like he could be an excellent addition to the squad and will go in as my first choice left-back.
IN | Michael Petersen | €18.75M from FC København
A lot of money, but this was his release clause and it looks like we got a deal with his valuation instantly rising to €34M.
He’s another young player, but one we can mould at Stade Rennais. We are lacking a little bit in the middle but now it means I can safely rotate over the Champions League rounds knowing I have some real quality available.
These are the players I have decided let go of this window.
OUT | Julián Álvarez | €9.75M (€12M) to Al-Hilal (KSA)
Julián wasn’t getting the game time that he and his wages demanded. At €94k p/w he was an expensive player to have, considering the heights Schmitt was hitting already. It was an easy decision to let him go.
He currently has 4 goals in 4 games for his new club. I hope this wasn’t a mistake.
OUT | Ferdy Druijf | €2.1M to Feyenoord
A massive hit financially but Ferdy was much more suited to a two-man striker partnership and never really did it when on his own up top. A big hit but it frees up the wages for other players.
Youth player promotions
Dinh van Thanh | 16 years old | Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder (Centre)
This little shit wants to leave for Chelsea. If he wasn’t one of the brightest prospects to come out of the academy recently I’d be shipping him out for peanuts. However, we can’t be doing that so I’m going to try to bribe him with game time and eventually, I hope he will sign a deal which extends his stay beyond the currently contracted two-years.
I don’t normally do this for players, but I fear we could be making a big mistake letting him leave this early for next to no money. If this doesn’t work I’ll try to get a sale next summer with a big sell-on clause.
PRESEASON 2024 RESULTS
I’ve made a couple of slight adaptations to the 4-1-4-1- DM WIDE system which achieved 90 points last season. I’ve dropped our mentality down to Balanced as the default approach from Attacking. I’ve also changed a few roles and duties.
This season I’ve pushed Pereira further forward out on the right with a hope that he can be more of an attacking threat. To add a bit of stability behind him I’ve changed my right wing-back to a support duty and changed the central midfielder on that side to a Box-to-Box role to add a bit of a deeper defensive option.
I’ve also switched my left winger to an Inverted Winger from Inside Forward to allow him to come inside more with the ball to feed passes forward to the Advanced Playmaker rather than cut diagonally across him.
With Schmitt off to the Olympics, we had young Zied Ayari stand-in. Ayari is also 18 years old but his development has been a little slower. however, he showed that he knows where the goal is! He has certainly given me something to think about.
Despite conceding 3 in 4 games, we’ve looked very good defensively.
The first couple of matches against Lens and Amiens we were excellent. New signing Taylor was on fire with his accurate crossing and the goals were flying in from all angles.
Montpellier proved much harder than it probably should be. A reminder that we still need to work hard this season if we’re going to achieve any success.
PSG, however, were embarrassed. We had 5 clear cut chances in total in this match and probably should have won by a bigger margin! It has proven to me that we can compete with the best. It’s the smaller clubs we need to work harder against.
Top of the league again, but 4 games in so I’m not going to get excited. Again. However, things feel different this season. Could this be the year…
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.