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09|03 MERCATO D’HIVER: Holy Schmitt! What have we just done!

Welcome to my Football Manager 2020 blog. In this latest instalment of my journey with Stade Rennais I'll be reviewing our January transfer window and the matches for the month.

SeasonNine.EpisodeThree | Mercato d’hiver

Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 blog with Stade Rennais. If you missed by previous post, you can catch up with everything that happened, here:

09|02 MATCHS ALLER: Goals on Goals!

January 2028

This month has been perfect. We’ve managed to keep on top of the pile and fend off all advances for our top players! Managing Rennes has become a balancing act of trying to bring through top prospects and give them game time alongside also keeping up our league form and making a push for European success.

I’ve been trying to get an affiliate in Spain this season so that we can send foreign players there for a fast-tracked European passport, but so far all clubs have been rejecting us. Time to load the Spanish second division I guess.

With that being said, onto the transfer window.


Another quiet transfer window. Sort of.

Stade Rennais Transfers in

So the players in.

IN | Alex Calero | €1.1M from Plaza Colonia

We had Alex on a shortlist for a while but he wasn’t the first option of goalkeepers that we wanted to bring in. We failed in bids for about two or three others over the last couple of seasons so we decided to move down the list and bring in Calero. My coaches think he could be a really good player so hopefully, he lives up to his potential.

Alex Calero
Alex Calero

IN | Muhammet Aydin | €26M from Hoffenheim

A little more expensive this transfer, but it is in keeping with our philosophy to sign young players for relatively good value and develop them. This was one of those transfers where I wasn’t convinced by the scout reports, but they were adamant that he was going to be a star, so I’ve decided to spend some of the money we have lying about on him. I’ve no doubt, if my scouts are right, that when the time comes for Muhammet to leave us, it will be for considerably more than the €26M we have paid for him.

Muhammet Aydin
Muhammet Aydin

IN | Gilles Schmitt | On loan from Manchester United

Okay, a confession. It’s Friday night IRL and I might be a bottle or two of Hop House 13 down. As I periodically do, I check to see how players who have left us are getting on. Ênio is tearing it up for Manchester City after his €165M move, Michael Petersen is killing it for Napoli. Then there was Gilles Schmitt. Sitting in the Manchester United reserves was former Stade Rennais darling, Gilles Schmitt.

A quick call to Txiki to let him know the situation there and a deal was concluded within 48 Hours. Schmitt was back home. Albeit on loan for the rest of the season. It looks as if he hasn’t developed as well as he should have, that’ll happen with just 28 games over two seasons. Let’s hope he can carry on as he left off for us.

Gilles Schmitt
Gilles Schmitt

Stade Rennais Transfers out

A couple of youth loans, but fortunately, no first team departures this window.

Youth player promotions

No one from the youth team has come through into the first team since the start of the season.


January, otherwise known as Coupe de France month, was very kind to us!

January 2028 results
January 2028 results

Okay so despite the month being near on perfect, including the Monaco draw which we subsequently won on penalties I decided to bring in a striker. Now don’t get me wrong, Le Bras has done okay in that role but he is so inconsistent that we’ve relied a lot on other players. I mean check out the results, not a single goal from him this month.

The system hasn’t changed. So Schmitt should slot right in. I signed him at the end of the window so he hasn’t had a chance to play yet.

In terms of the league table, we’re sitting top and are relatively comfortable, but PSG seem to be picking up those late victories again, which is reminiscent of their time under Tuchel and that’s what worries me. That is what kept them on top for so long.

While we would love to do better in Europe, the league still needs to be our primary focus.

Still, all is going well. Nothing to complain about so far. Hopefully, we can keep up this form, new signing Moreno can continue his goalscoring and Schmitt settles in. I’m excited to see how the rest of the season goes.

League table

(Click here for the full table)

Here’s to the rest of the season.


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.

Jordy Verbeek

Jordy was a €59M signing from Ajax at the age of 17. At the time it was an eye-watering fee (reminder, I don’t do my transfers, this is down to my Director of Football). A year later and his value is almost at that. He is developing into an excellent defensive midfielder with some very concentrated training.

Worryingly for other clubs, he still has a lot of development to go I think. Who knows how good this kid can be!?

I look forward to watching his development over the rest of the season.

Jordy Verbeek at 17 years old
Jordy Verbeek at 18 years old

A great January for once. We top the league and look relatively comfortable. We have Manchester United in the Champions League first knockout coming up which is a little worrying, but I think if we stick to our game plan we could come away with a surprise result. We have every reason to be excited for the rest of the season. And we have Schmitt, who I’m sure will be itching to get one over his current employers.

As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, or via twitter @fmfutbolmanager.

Until next time, à tout à l’heure.

Oliver Jensen

Please leave me a comment below.

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