SeasonEleven.EpisodeOne | Pré-saison
Welcome back to my Football Manager 2020 blog with Stade Rennais. If you missed the previous post, you can catch up with everything that happened, here:
Read more » 10|05 END OF SEASON REVIEW 2028/29
June 2029 – August 2029
There is no trophy more prestigious than the Champions League. We had won it all. The precipice of football was reached and so it was time to step back and let someone else have a go.
This isn’t the end of the save. It will be continuing, just with a slight twist. This isn’t an original idea, this is something Samo did last year and it was something which kept his save alive for a little longer.
I will still be involved at Stade Rennais but I will be taking over the role of Director of Football. I will no longer be managing the first team. I will deal with all transfer incoming and outgoings, player contracts etc. I will set up the scouting team and generally take a step back from any management duties.
Authors note: How this will work in reality is I will holiday forward one day over match days so that the assistant manager manages the team with their tactics. They should then select their starting 11 for their system. It’s the best we can do.
My first job is to find the manager to replace me. I wanted someone relatively young who could develop at the club, but also someone good enough to take Rennes forward and continue winning things. They also had to be a free agent. With a little bit of searching and some editor magic, the search was over.
Welcome, Hannes Wolf.
Hannes Wolf will be in full control of the matches. He can use his own tactics, team instructions and tactical briefings. He will also take control of training and player development. I will be in full Director of Football mode, signing the players for him and deciding on the staff who will work alongside him.
With that being said, the first thing I set about doing is switching all responsibility to me, as the Director of Football.
The Recruitment Team
The first port of call is to set up a meeting with Keke Durán and Frédéric Morin, my Chief Scout and Chief Data Analyst to go over the changes I want to make to the scouting department.
We have 14 scouts with space for one more. It’s a big team. When was the manager, Txiki Begiristain had responsibility for handling the scouting meetings with Keke assigning the scouts. The job to look after this department got too big for me as the manager. However, now I have the time and enthusiasm for it, I decided to take full control.
I need to set up the scouting team to bring me players that fit the profile for the type of players we want at Stade Rennais. The scouting team is made up of 1 Brazilian, 1 English, 1 French, 5 German, 2 Italian, 1 from Northern Ireland, 1 Russian and 2 Spanish scouts. With the final slot, I hire Austrian scout Christoph Lehenbauer.
I set about dispatching the scouts with the following brief.
Those who pay attention to the small details will know that the player profile screen includes a spider chart which I call the Stade Rennais player DNA. These six key attributes are what we will search for, at a minimum, from the players around the world.
Where possible I send the scout to their home nation, however, given that we have a few from the same nation that isn’t always going to be possible, so I’ll send them to the next place where they have the best knowledge.
Alexandre would be off to Brazil to scout, but if I already had someone there then France would be the next choice and so on.
The countries we’ve gone to are Austria, Brazil, Italy, Russia, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Egypt, Norway, France, England, The Netherlands, Portugal, and one floater who will travel around Europe. The final job is to clear the 1,000+ players from the default shortlist so that it is only populated with the new players found in the new template.
With everything set up. Let’s move forwards.
Before we get into the matches, I will run through my first transfer window. For those who follow this save and my previous saves, I’ve not done a manual transfer since maybe FM17 so I’m a little rusty. Expect mistakes.
The Transfer Market
I had left the club in a fantastic position in terms of the strength and depth of the playing squad.We have at least one great player in every position which suits the club’s 4-3-3 (and also happens to be Hannes’ preferred formation, no coincidence there).
I would ordinarily opt to sign a new goalkeeper, but with just a handful of goals conceded last season, it seems a frivolous thing to do.
The only reason players would be signed this window would be if there were any outgoings. So with that being said, here are our summer transfers in and out of Stade Rennais.
Stade Rennais Transfers out
I didn’t think any player would want to leave us this window, given that we were Coupe de France and Champions League winners. But I was wrong.
Cristian Rivis, Goalkeeper | €80M plus €40M over the next 3 years | to Liverpool
09 August 2029. When Liverpool bid for Christian I was about to reject the offer, but then I saw that the player would kick off if we rejected a bid. He wanted to leave because of the higher wages they offer. That told me all I needed to know about his personality. I didn’t want players here who were in it for the money. We negotiated the fee up to that was enough for me to sell him.
He was magnificent last season, but that money alone was too good to turn down. Annoyingly, having goalkeepers on my shortlist is my kryptonite. We have a very promising ‘keeper out on loan who is not quite ready to step in so an experienced head will come in to replace Rivis. It meant we would head into the first game of the season without a number 1. You’ll see how well that pans out later.
Stade Rennais Transfers in
I would only react to transfers out this window. Since Rivis left us, we needed a new keeper as a minimum.
Alessandro Plizzari, Goalkeeper | €25M | from Atalanta
14 August 2029. I needed to replace Rivis, but I didn’t want to get someone in for the long term since young Alex Calero will be good enough for the first team in a season or two. Alessandro should be good enough for us until then. Calero will go out on loan to feeder Le Havre and will probably come in as number 2 next season.
Personally, I think Plizzari is a bargain. Atalanta immediately came back with €45M when we made an enquiry. I went back with €25M to test the water which was accepted straight away. Lesson learned there. Negotiate lower than I’m willing to pay.
The Coaching Team
Stepping back from managing Stade Rennias was a big decision. I wasn’t ready to fully quit the club just yet. I mean we have the Club World Cup and Super Cup to compete in, but by continuing into the season as manager, I would never end on the high that I ended last season with.
The coaching team is now out of my hands, so this section will be reporting on how the manager is getting on and how the players are developing. I’ll also include some tactical pieces here if I notice anything interesting when watching matches.
FIFA Club World Cup 2029
It was a great start to life in full-time management for Wolf. A 3-2 victory over São Paulo puts us in the driving seat to go through since the second match against Al-Saad should be a lot easier. It was. A 5-0 victory and life with Wolf has started well.
Until we met Arsenal in the quarter-final, a 2-0 loss knocks us out early to the eventual winners. Disappointing really as I would have expected to see off Arsenal. Worryingly we also have Arsenal in the Super Cup, but we should have start striker Hossam back for that game.
Preseason 2029 Results
It was enjoyable spectating from the stands. I’ve been enjoying the football on display and think that life under Wolf could be good. We’ve played some nice attacking football and the players seem to be enjoying themselves. Strikers aren’t scoring though.
The results are as you would expect. Look at all those lovely clean sheets.
Super Cup 2029
We didn’t fare much better against Arsenal this time around, either. We managed to take them to extra time, but a goal for Arsenal in the 119th minute saw them avoid penalties and win the trophy 2-1 aet. Not the best start for Hannes Wolf, but given his relative inexperience at this level and the unimportance of this trophy, it’s not the worst result.
The curtain raiser against PSG gave me all the feels. But we were soon coming back down to earth.
One day before the match against Lyon, I sold Rivis without a replacement. Perhaps I should have tried to delay the transfer a little bit. Lesson learned. A harsh one, too. A 4-0 defeat was hard to watch, knowing I could do nothing about it.
Wolf got us back on track in the following match against Lille before a switch in system brought a 3-1 victory over Lens. A bright start, but I fear we need to do a bit more in these games. Time will tell if I’ve made a big mistake here.
It’s the international break now. Not the best start for us. But hopefully, we can kick on from here. The league table looks worse than it actually is. No one won the league after three matches. Hopefully, Wolf can keep this team performing as it has over the last couple of matches.
The Champions League draw sees us line up against Dortmund, Young Boys and Celtic. Not the worst group, and once we should certainly be qualifying from.
Thank you for following along with me over the last 10 seasons. Hopefully this twist isn’t enough to steer you away from the save. As most are winding down ahead of a break before FM21, I wanted to see where this Rennes side could go without me, while still feeling closer to the team then just holidaying 10 years and seeing what happens.
I’ve built up a solid base of players and would really like to see how they do.
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.