After a very disappointing season, I seem to have settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation. Knowing the kind of players I need to make this even more effective, it’s time for me to look at the current squad and figure out who won’t be a part of my plans next season.

The first thing to check is my pet hate: lazy players! Those with lower than average Work rate, Teamwork and Determination.

In Ligue 1, the average attribute rating for each of these are:

Work rate – 13
Teamwork – 12
Determination – 13

In the first team squad, here’s the players (and their value) who are below average for all three:

AM – Zhegrova (£7.5m)
AM – Cherki (£11.5)
AM – Mailula (£0.7m)
AM – Valoyes (£3m)

And here’s those who don’t meet two of the three:

FB – Kubimendi (£3m)
CM – Reine-Adelaide (£3m)
AM – Perez (£4m)
ST – Ekambi (£1m)
ST – Sarr (£2m)
AM – Faivre (£4m)
So, ten players (around half) of my first team squad, in what should be a top 5-6 team, lack in their mental ability to be effective in this league.

Obviously, some might have other skills which make up for it. From this list, Cherki (8 goals, 7 assists) is worth keeping but the rest haven’t impressed enough. Their sales could add £25-30 million to buy better players.

MAINTAINING TRADITIONS

Olympique Lyonnais are a team with a rich tradition of bringing through young players and giving them a chance to excel. Already within the expanded squad are a number of players who could step into the first team squad and step up off the bench when required.

However, as we’re not involved in European football this coming season, the opportunity for rotation won’t be as high so I’m expecting to maintain a settled line up in the push to get the club back up to where they SHOULD be in Ligue 1.

Therefore, I’ve made the decision to promote only two young players to the first team squad, and the rest I’ll try to get out on loan to prove themselves worthy of a squad place next season.

The two I’m keeping are:

Emerson Pedro Vanga – Defensive Midfielder

Stepping up from Lyon 2, 19-year-old Vanga will step in at the Deep Lying Playmaker position when needed this season. His first touch and decision making should help him in making the step up in quality and the exposure to first team training should help improve his defensive positioning.

Serge Bayiha – Attacking Midfielder/Striker
Serge has a very promising future. At just 17, he’s already got some stand out attributes when it comes to ball control, finishing, flair and his physicals. Due to his low heading ability, I’ll use him more as a back up right-sided attacking midfielder, but he’s one I’m keen to give as much playing time to as possible.

TRANSFERS

With only a £10m transfer kitty, it was clear that if I wanted to take this team back into European football, I’d need a clear out to fund the player purchased we need.

Firstly, I wanted to address the players who didn’t want to be at the club. This meant veteran left wingback Nicolas Tagliafico, who is searching for Champions League football. Attribute-wise, he’s probably my best player… However, who wants a defender who gets booked EVERY game? My staff estimated his value at around £15-20m but no one would bid anywhere near that for the 32-year-old. Eventually a deal was struck by Leeds United, who knocked us out of the Europa League on their way to winning the competition, for £8.5m which will rise to over £10m.

Next to depart, albeit on loan, was winger Edon Zhegrova who joins Celtic. The Scottish side will pay over £200k per month as well as covering his weekly wage. They have the option to make his move permanent for £4.8m.

Two more wingers followed Zhegrova out the door with Romaine Faivre moving to Strasbourg for £3.5m and Diego Valoyes moving to Torino for £2.5m.

Lastly, Gedeon Kalulu’s loan deal to Atalanta was made permanent for a fee of £1.5 million which was mildly annoying as the deal was agreed before I joined and he’s certainly worth more than that.

I nearly lost young defender Morato to Atletico Madrid but they didn’t make an acceptable offer. His head was turned though and he’s demanding a transfer.

With an initial £16m raised it was time to bring in some fresh players.

The first to join was my replacement for Tagliafico. For what I consider a bargain £6.5m, I managed to grab ex-Rennes left back Adrien Truffert. Still only 23, and with lots of room to develop further, Truffert joins from Lazio, where he made only 8 appearances last season.

Next up is my “game changer” signing.

When signing wingers, I believe their responsibility is so much that you need to swing for the fences and bring in someone elite.

And that’s what I’ve done here.

Joining us from Ligue 1 rivals Lille, is Canadian international Jonathan David.

Obviously, it wasn’t easy to persuade Lille to make a deal. In the end I paid £10m up front, with a potential £8.5m in add-ons as well as part-exchanging promising youngster Oliver Mvouama. As you can see from this skill-set, I think this is worth it and will be THE signing which can take us back into the top 6 places.

Next in is a player signed on a pre-contract agreement earlier in the year. From Chelsea comes exciting youngster Faustino Anjorin.


He’ll serve as back up at both Left Attacking Midfielder, behind Rayan Cherki, and Central Attacking Midfielder, where he’ll provide a nice compliment to Aouar.

As you can see from the below comparison, Anjorin (green) is a more physical, direct goal threat than Aouar (blue) and will be used when Plan B is needed:

My final incoming signing before the season starts is last season’s loan player Filippo Terracciano. He played well last season and, even though I already have Tiago Santos, I think £6m is a great price for him.

With the signing made I feel we’re in a much better place than last season, both in terms of the planned starting 11 and squad depth.

My only annoyance is that I’ve only managed to off-load 3 of the 10 players I outlined at the start of this article (Zerghova, Faivre, Valoyes), although Kubimendi has joined Antwerp on loan for the season where I hope he’ll improve adequately.

Both Ekambi and Perez have teams sniffing around, but I’m reluctant to let either go until I can replace them on the depth chart.

Join me for the next update where I’ll talk you through my tactical system for the upcoming season and cover any incomings and outgoings before the summer Transfer Window closes.

Author

  • ThrowingCopperFM

    ThrowingCopperFM is known for unraveling complex FM strategies, often using Girona FC as a canvas to illustrate his tactical theories. Whether it's penning down comprehensive guides on mastering promotion in FM or sharing bargain player finds, ThrowingCopperFM's content is a treasure trove for aspiring managers. His active Twitter engagement further demonstrates his enthusiasm for football discussions beyond the virtual realm, making him a well-rounded and appreciated contributor in the FM community.

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