Welcome back,
first things first, as an example of a reason to do proper research before starting a save, I soon found out release clauses are illegal in France!
So I’ve decided my workaround is to set asking prices x3 value for players when I agree a new deal for them, I then will leave it at that until they agree a new deal or are sold.

So after that headache we started our first season in france.
With the first window closed we assessed the current options and squad and decided to start out with a 433.

The idea was to sit deep be direct and get bodies forward on the counter and we had a decent start.

The issue is as i was watching the games on comprehensive we weren’t actually playing well but we were clinical and taking our chances but a lot of the games were close affairs, Lorient,Nice and Dijon aside.

Then in December we collapsed, the goals dried up and our defence got exposed. So at the end of December we decided the tactic needed a tweak. Not an overhaul but a few tweaks. So each game I had made notes and spotted a few issues and this is what we ended up with.

Starting at the back the CWBs have dropped back to WBs they were pushing on and leaving our CBs exposed too much which is the nature of CWBs but our CBs couldn’t cope and our DM wasn’t good enough, so by dropping them to WBs we have become better defensively whilst still getting forward enough on the attack.
Next i changed the CMs to a BBM and the MEZ from support to attack. again this was to get them both more involved in the forward play.
The MEZ links up nicely with the IF and IW but the AF was sometimes isolated, these changes seem to have both the midfield closer to the AF.
Next we changed from Direct to shorter passing, my players aren’t the best at retaining the wall when moving quickly over longer distances so by dropping to shorter passing but increasing the tempo they’re moving the ball quick and short on the counter and our possession % has gone from average 37& to 52%. Decreasing the amount the opposition has the ball reduces the chances they have to score.

Then the main change was with my one signing I massively improved my DM choice with the signing of Ibou Sissoko from Strasbourg

Now did this improve things?
We played better football and we looked more in control which is what I was hoping for.
as for results..

Results were a bit hit and miss but in January we saw our number 1 leave for Italy and the promotion of an 18 year old from our second team.

Bajic came in and played well with the occasional mistake which is to be expected but I’ve now signed him up to a long term deal as he will be my No1 going forward. Getting Ruffiers 41k per week wages off the wage bill made a massive difference too and he was going to leave in the summer anyway so it gave Bajic 5 months of first team football too.

Despite all this we still finished 6th 3 places above our media expectation and qualified for the newly formed Europa Conference league.
I’m happy with the start to the save, we’ve overachieved slightly but not too much that expectations were raised as going forward we will be integrating a few more young players

The 4 above are the 4 on verge of the first team and all have been promoted to the squad for the next season.

End Of Season Review.

I really like this new feature and it is brillant for images for the blog

Miguel Trauco the left back wins player of the year and Center back Harold Moukoudi wins young player of the year. Charles Abi finished top scorer with 20 goals in his first full season at this level.

With only one of the best XI hitting an average rating of over 7 we know we can get more out of these players next season.

The finances are solid and with money coming in from the Fofana and Saliba deals from before the save started they will be bumped again.

1 signing only so this was a no brainer. DM’s always seem to struggle with average ratings but watching him in the match engine is a delight, I’m really happy with this signing

Slighlty above expectation which is perfect

Charles Abi – “He doesn’t look great YET” – @MrZollo November 2020

He doesn’t but 20 goals in his first season is a great way to start. When I took over we didn’t really have a striker and Abi was in the reserves but I promoted him to the first team as he looked like the best of an average bunch and he led the line for us and well.
This next season we need him to push on to the 25-30 goals but with the emergence of Lhery he will have some competition this season too.

Summer Transfers

5 players released at the end of their contracts all but Souici were in their 30s and struggling for game time and on big wages

Both of these players were out on loan last season and didn’t really fit in my squad when they returned so i moved them on

My one summer signing for the first team was a massive transfer saga following Bordeaux’s relegation I found Yacine Adli as my target for the summer to fill the RW spot.
In first talks Bordeaux were asking for 28 million and they weren’t moving.
Now using the declare as top target and sending my DOF to watch games he became unsettled and finally on deadline day we got a deal done.

We also bought in 3 youngsters for the reserves and under 19s

Overall it’s been a good start, only having the one signing available is proving a challenge and we’re really having to work out what area we want to focus on improving and taking into consideration the youth we have coming through the system.
We now start season 2 and I’m aiming for 4th or 5th place and Europa League proper whilst integrating a few more youngsters into the squad.

Thanks for reading



  • Daniel Gear

    Dan Gear is a vibrant member of the Football Manager (FM) community, renowned for his engaging content and insightful tutorials. He illuminates complex FM concepts on "View From The Touchline" and shares engaging narratives through his unique European Journeyman save reveals. Dan's collaborative spirit shines in partnerships with fellow creators like FM Stag, unraveling new FM features. He's a co-host of the engaging "Grass N Gear" podcast, making the FM experience more enjoyable for many. With a blend of humor, expertise, and a knack for community engagement, Dan Gear's contributions significantly enrich the Football Manager community, making him a cherished figure among enthusiasts.

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