A Quadruple in the bag in my second season at the club. We won the title on the final day of the season in a close fight with FC Porto. We won the Super cup following our Europa League win last season beating Arsenal 2-0. A 2-1 win against Casa Pia saw us lift the Taca de Portugal Placard and a 2-1 win over Portimonese saw us lift the Allianz Cup. A great season overall. In the Champions League we lost in the Round of 16 to RB Leipzig 2-0 on aggregate. All this on the back of being a squad in transition.

Key Players

We had some stand out players that were the backbone of the performances and the style in which we played.

A change to Sweeper Keeper attack made a big difference as Andrew became a lot more involved in the play that Adan was the previous season. His 17 clean sheets in the league helped carry us to the title but also his passing ability. Averaging a 91% passes completed And a passes attempted well above the league average saw him as the 11th outfield player. I feel like the Sweeper Keeper has been tweaked this year in the Match Engine and with the style of play we’re playing it suits us. In attack he almost joins my two centre backs to create a back 3 in possession. I want to do a more deep dive into my tactic in a future post.

Fresneda had his breakout season this year, averaging an xA of 0.24. He measured well in dribbles and progressive passes for a FB. Over 2 key passes a game and averaging 13.21km per 90. With the right flank open for him to exploit he really did, carrying the ball up the pitch as we switched from defence to attack.

Diomande stepped into the Libero role and dominated. You only have to look at his attacking stats for a Central defender to see how progressive he was with the ball and how involved in the build up he was.

Vieira dominated, He slotted in as our roaming playmaker and scored highly in all percentile rankings. This is what I hoped for when I signed him. He probably could have performed even higher but as you see he only averaged 67 minutes per match as I wanted to ensure rotation.

Torres like Vieira was outstanding. Coming inside from the LW slot to unlock defences. Already described as an Elite AM We probably won’t be able to hold on to him much longer.

When Edwards left last summer I wasn’t sure about Trincao, But I had no reason not to be. He scored 12, set up 12 and scored high in all rankings. As a Winger on the right cutting inside he was a constant threat.

27 goals 9 assists, We shared the goals around this season with 20 different goalscorers but this man led the line and the team to the title and himself to the golden boot.

Recruitment

First of all in January it was one out and one in. Coates left us for Newcastle for €4m and Jesus Polo, A Ecuadorian 18 year old Right Wing Back joined for €550k.

Then came the summer, After after a great season I was expecting some departures but probably not to the level that happened.

Most notable ones were, Diomande went to Spurs after they met his €53m release clause. Gyokeres to Man United for €49m. Hjulmund was snapped up by Chelsea for €46m. Morita to Sevilla for €16m, Reis to PSV €9.75m and both Fresneda & Braganca to Atletico for €56m & €22.5m. Barcelona then snapped up young talent we signed from Ajax on a free last summer Muzambo for his €18m release clause after he had a great season on loan to St Etienne.

Overall we brought in over €274.15m in fees and saved over €351,000per week on wages (€18.25m a year) Obviously this left us a bit light on numbers and experience. I then turnt to my shortlists and recruitment focuses and drew up some transfer target lists and transfer plans.

Priority
Libero
RWB
Back up LWB
Short term Number 9

Long Term targets
Playmaking replacement DM for Viera
Playmaking replacement LW for Torres

Investment in Youth
LCB
RW
RCB
Attacking midfielder or 2

I wanted at least the 3 priority targets so we set about it.

The new Libero

Araujo joins us following his transfer listing. He had moved to Dortmund from Benfica but the move never worked out. He’s Portuguese and his traits stood out to me for him being suitable for the Libero role for how I want to play. A fee of just €7.5m sees Dortmund taking a €2.75m hit on what they paid for him. This is also in line with my find players who have moved to big clubs and its not worked out recruitment strategy.

The New Right Wing Back

Ze Carlos joins us for €4.1m from Vit. Guimaraes after 2 solid seasons for them averaging 6.91 rating both years. He offers us experience at 24 with 3 seasons of top flight football under his belt already.

The Back Up Left Wing Back

Last summer we signed Barco but he missed 7 months with injury. Reis stepped in and played well enough to earn a move to PSV and Barroso also played well. Barroso is mainly a RWB so will cover Ze Carlos so that meant we needed cover for Barco and in comes Moura for €5.25m

Former Braga youth who’s spent 3 seasons at Famalicao averaging 6.95 rating whilst there. Another Portuguese player who is taking the next step up.

Short Term Number 9

Gyokeres left for Man United, I didn’t want to rush into a replacement or do anything to hinder the development of Ribeiro so I opted for a short term signing.

Silva joins us on a one year loan from RB Leipzig. He has struggled to break 10 goals a season the last few seasons but I hope he can at least offer us experience and cover so Ribeiro can get game time.

The Long term playmaking targets

Vieira and Torres won’t be here next season I’m sure of it so I wanted to get ahead of the game and get their replacements in now if I could find the right players and I believe I have for a combined fee of €25.75m (rising to €36.5m)

Perrone, Likes to dictate tempo from deep will be ideal as our future Roaming Playmaker and Echeverri who cuts inside and plays killer balls will fit as our LW advanced playmaker. Both have more development to grow and hopefully will be the mainstays for the next few seasons.

Investment in youth

We bought in 6 players in total to strengthen the B side and invest in youth. First in was German all round midfielder Onyegbule on a Free from Basel.

Estevao Joined us from Palmeiras certainly one for the future and we may look to loan him out.

Portugal’s best youth talent joins is from Tondela (according to my scouts) €3m with a sell on % to them. He’s left footed which isn’t always easy to find.

Lopez joins now and returns to Independiente on loan for a year for game time, Seen as a potential investment player we can develop and sell on.

With a lot of players leaving it has left us light at centre back. Gimenez comes in to cover Boselli.

Gomes a deadline day signing who had moved to Atalanta and the move had not worked out comes in to help with cover all through the midfield.

The finances 

As you can see after two seasons at the helm we have made over €250m profit on sales and cut the wage bill by €150k plus. This is in line with how we wanted to run the club. We also invested now for the future as we still expect further sales.

The Upcoming Season

I want to challenge again but I do worry about replacing Gyokores 27 goals. I will be keeping an eye out on a future no9 I just didn’t want to rush into buying anyone. I also want to search the globe for more youths to bring into the club early on and have set about doing that and I have a post about that coming out next.

 

Author

  • 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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