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07|01 PRÉ-SAISON: It’s a New Dawn. It’s a New Day. It’s a New Season for Us, Yeah!

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 2024/25. In this update I'll be reviewing preseason ahead of the 2025/26 season.

SeasonSeven.EpisodeOne | Pré-saison

This summer window was all about keeping the sharks away from our players. The likes of Chelsea, both Manchester clubs and a host of other top clubs in Europe are circling around Schmitt, Ênio and Camavinga.

We succeeded.

June 2025 – August 2025

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.

THE TRANSFER WINDOW

Transfers in

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

IN | Nicolas Serrano | Free from Atlético

I had Serrano scouted for what seems like forever now and he’s been on our shortlist ever since. The team brought to my attention in January that his contract was coming to an end and so we made a deal for him to come and join us. I’m super excited to see how well he does for us.

I’ll be working on his weaker foot to help him settle into the Inverted Winger role out on the right. I’m sure once he becomes reasonable with it he’ll perform well for us.

IN | José Martínez | On loan from Barcelona

I needed some cover for Greg Taylor after fulfilling my promise to sell Doumbia for costing us the title last season. A loan signing which could become permanent as finding left-backs is proving to be quite difficult.

Transfers out

Thankfully, this window wasn’t so painful. We had bids which we refused and the players were okay with that.

OUT | Souleyman Doumbia | €6.75M to Southampton

This was one transfer that was always going to happen after the double penalty incident last season. I’ll never forgive that performance which ultimately cost the team the league title. We could probably have got more but I just wanted him out of the club. Our relationship broke down after that match.

OUT | Rick van Drongelen | €15M to Celtic

This was always a weird signing for us. He was signed on a free transfer but never really had a decent game for us. A good enough backup option, but when he started to make noises that he wanted to play more I was more than happy enough to let him go. We make a nice little profit on him and he gets the game time he wanted.


PRESEASON 2025 RESULTS

Another very solid preseason for us. I’ve not changed anything tactically this year. I’ve slightly increased the tempo but generally speaking things are the same as last season. I figured if it ain’t broke…

AUGUST 2025

It was quote a difficult start to the season again for us. PSG twice in three games is never going to be an easy way to start any season.

Despite taking an early lead against PSG, they again (as they always do) came from behind to win.

In the league, however, we continued out impressive form in front of goal, scoring 11 goals and conceding just 3. Against Saint-Étienne we decided to give Schmitt a rest and give a debut to young Amro Hossam. What a debut it was. I don’t know if it was this performance, but suddenly there was interest in the loan listed player and Le Havre came calling. They have great training facilities so we’re happy to send him there to continue his development.

If the chance arose, I would like to form a partnership with Le Havre to enable us to send more of our youth players up the road to continue their development. As it happens, another of our young players; Michael Abubakar joined Amro on loan.

Back to the first team and as things stand we’re back on top of the league. These things are pretty pointless as this stage, as we’ve learned over the last few seasons, but it has become customary to show our league position at this stage so why break that habit.

(Click here for the full table)

So the transfer window slams shut. We keep hold of our top players for what is set to be another challenging season. The Champions League draw was again unkind to us, putting us against Liverpool and Juventus. It’s not a priority for us right now so it’ll probably be a chance for some of the younger players to get some experience.

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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