Track 2 – Hello


Nobody ever mentions the weather
can make or break your day,
Nobody ever seems to remember
life is a game we play


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It’s here…and it’s beautiful.



We finally have our hands on Football Manager 2021, and not a moment too soon as the familiar lockdown vibes muster around us and we knuckle down for the winter – what a time to be alive.



In our intro we went through the rules, objectives and inspiration behind this save but that’s not the real intro we need to worry about – we have just taken the reigns at Angers SCO after ousting previous Manager Stéphane Moulin, who not only spent the past 9 years at the helm of Les Scoïstes (and 6 years as Manager of Angers B prior to that), but was also the longest serving Manager in Europe’s Top 5 Leagues until we hit that Confirm button. Safe to say the Angers players are going to be in for a shock when they turn up for training…



There’s only one way I can win this side round – I have to become one of them…


Angers away jersey – a beauty (

Things are indeed different, and I don’t just mean in the Manager’s hotseat. Football Manager 2021 feels smoother, swifter and slicker than ever before – I just hit the save button and it barely took 5 seconds! Forgive the pun – this one’s a game changer.

By now you should have already clocked up some quality FM hours, so rather than narrate what is new about this year’s version we will instead go straight into it. I recently wrote a piece for Sports Interactive’s “The Byline” about Day One in FM, which covers some of the main things you should do before getting stuck in to your new career – I highly recommend giving it a read, whether you’re new to the game or it’s time to change your underpants you never know what you might learn! It’s all about getting off to a good start – some of the first things you can do in a new save are among the most important actions you can take, or rather the things you don’t do can be quite costly. What follows next is a step by step guide of how I go about assessing a squad when loading up a new career so that we can get a feel for how well/ill equipped this Angers side are now that we are in game, and more importantly how much work we have ahead of us. As and when we observe new features and improvements in the game you better believe there will be over-enthusiastic ramblings to follow.


The MaddFM Squad Assessment™️


Now remember – this is a homegrown save. Our rules our simple: all non-French players unfortunately need to vacate Stade Raymond Kopa by the end of our first season, and subsequently any new players either need to be of French nationality (first, second etc) or alternatively have to be homegrown internally through our youth academy. Apart from the recently departed Rayan Ait-Nouri I know nothing about this squad, so I am going to quickly show you how I navigate an unknown team at the beginning of a new save (before it literally gets pillaged for FM21 blogging gain). I know it can be slightly tiresome reading a blog with a lot of player profiles, however I want to bring you the reader along the same journey and thought process as me when it comes to making key decisions and assessing where we need to strengthen most – if that’s not for you, don’t worry – skip the below section to see a snapshot summary of our squad on Day One of this new French adventure.


1. Set up Squad View


Before you do anything you need to set up a decent squad view. Never underestimate the value of good information – whether it’s deciding on recruitment or squad selection, every FM Manager should have their own squad views. For mine I like to have a holistic snapshot to help me with all key decisions that need to be made, looking at nationality, ability & potential, morale, training intensity/rating, injury risk, playing stats, contract expiry and value all on the one screen – download it here if it takes your fancy, or alternatively take a look at some of @FridayNightFM‘s excellent selection of Custom Views at


MaddFM Squad View

 2. View Players by Position


Simple but effective – to give myself the chance to formulate my own opinions on the squad and not be overly influenced or potentially misled by either the Team Report or Player Ratings etc, I like to filter the squad view position by position to see how equipped we are in each area both for our Senior Squad and our U19 setup, analysing our best Senior and Youth players in each area of the pitch.


Goalkeeper 🧤

Senior – Paul Bernardoni

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Melvin Zinga

Potential Ability ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Record signing Paul Bernardoni is quality. Having spent €8m for his signature from Bordeaux during the summer, the 23 year old looks like he has the ability and potential to hold the #1 spot at Angers for years to come and might even have an outside shot at vying for Hugo Lloris’ jersey on the International scene, while 18 year old Melvin Zinga also has high potential to become quite a powerful understudy – normally in my FM saves I like to bring in my own keeper however it looks like this may be one of the few areas in which we don’t need to improve. Oh, and they are both French 😅.


Right Back

Senior – Vincent Manceau

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Christian Yakité

Potential Ability ⭐⭐

If Goalkeeper is one of our strongest positions, Right-Back is definitely one of our weakest. Vincent Manceau‘s best days are well behind him, and even though he is French we will need to replace him asap as we look to rely on Wing Backs as one of our main attacking outlet.


Left Back

Senior – Souleyman Doumbia

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Prosper Joao Claudio

Potential Ability ⭐⭐⭐

We should be writing about Rayan Aït-Nouri here, it’s too painful to discuss again so skip back to my last post for an update on his situation. His place is currently occupied by Paris-born Ivorian international Souleyman Doumbia (I say international – he is backup to Lyon’s Maxwel Cornet) however he won’t be a backup here with 16 Pace and 15 Acceleration, ideal for a Left Wing Back which we plan to deploy this season. Unfortunately 16 year old Prosper Joao Claudio is still a few years off being ready however he looks one of our best prospects at the club, and we will do our best to have him primed for first team football when he comes of age.


Centre Half

Senior – Romain Thomas

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐


Senior – Ismael Traore

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Kevin Mouanga

Potential Ability ⭐


Youth – Kevin Boma

Potential Ability ⭐

Definitely not an area blessed with talent. Though our two best Centre-Back options both qualify as Homegrown (Traore was born in Paris), both are unfortunately on the wrong side of 30 (writer’s note: so are you). Speed is a definite concern and I am already having nightmares about facing Mbappe with these two, so a pacey Centre-Half will also be on the list as neither of our defensive prospects (Mouanga and Boma) have an ounce of acceleration between them.


Defensive Midfield

Senior – Ibrahim Amadou

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Zinedine Ould Khaled

Potential Ability ⭐

I love a good DMC, and wrote one of my favourite pieces about this position for WeStreamFM a while back (click here if you’ve not read it or it’s been a while). You can imagine my excitement when I learned we have a 20 year old youth prospect called Zinedine, however he isn’t even half the player his namesake was..that means our current best DMC option is Ibrahim Amadou who is on loan from Sevilla; granted he is French and fits the bill for the Homegrown rule, however I don’t see him lasting more than the season-long loan he has signed.


Centre Midfield

Senior – Antonin Bobichon

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Kamil Elkit

Potential Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Things aren’t much better in this department – some of you may recognise Antonin Bobichon from previous FM versions, was he a wonderkid in FM18 or 19 maybe? Either way he is distinctly average and will definitely need an upgrade…more excitingly our best youth prospect plays this position, 15 year old Kamil Elkit who has 4 star potential at the start of the game with decent physicals and technicals…might we see him in a France jersey in years to come?


Attacking Midfield (Centre)

Senior – Mathias Pereira Lage

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Ebenezer Simons De Fanti

Potential Ability ⭐

Last year I got great mileage out of the Shadow Striker role. I haven’t yet decided on what tactic we will deploy or whether we will use this role from the get go – looking at Mathias Pereire Lage who is declared for Portugal but was born in France, he has potential to do a job however his relatively average technicals combined with a 5-6 month injury at the start of the save mean that we will need to hit the transfer market if we plan to utilise an AMC – De Fanti is our only prospect in this position based on attributes and even he will struggle.


Right Wing

Senior – Sofiane Boufal

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Walim Lgharbi

Potential Ability ⭐

You might recognise the name Sofiane Boufal from his time at Southampton where he unfortunately didn’t make much impact after a €16m move from Lille, only scoring 3 goals in 60+ appearances for the saints with a loan spell at Celta Vigo in between. Considering the fact that he actually began his career at Angers and they just picked him up on a free transfer during the summer, we potentially have a bargain on our hands with Boufal arguably the best player at the club in addition to Bernardoni in goal.


Left Wing

Senior – Sada Thioub

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Mohamed-Ali Cho

Potential Ability ⭐

Not much to report here – Sada Thioub is a Senegalese international born in France however apart from his decent pace and acceleration, he doesn’t offer much quality as our best left-sided midfielder and sadly the same can be said for his understudy Mo-Ali Cho. Definitely an area that needs strengthening.



Senior – Rachid Alioui

Current Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Youth – Selyane Raib

Potential Ability ⭐⭐⭐

Finally the most important part – goals. Angers only scored 28 goals last season, with Rachid Alioui finishing as top scorer with just 6 goals. At 28 he looks a decent option on paper however is unlikely to score the goals that we will rely on to propel us up the league. Selyane Raib is allegedly 4 star potential at just 16 years old (eyes emoji), but with a few years to go it will be interesting to see if we can bring in a better Striker much sooner given our Homegrown and budgetary constraints…






NamePositionNationalitySecond NationalityRatingGood enough?
Paul BernardoniGKFrance⭐⭐⭐⭐☑️
Vincent ManceauDR/WBRFrance⭐⭐⭐
Souleyman DoumbiaDL/WBRIvory CoastFrance⭐⭐⭐☑️
Romain ThomasDCFrance⭐⭐⭐☑️
Ismael TraoreDCIvory CoastFrance⭐⭐⭐
Ibrahim AmadouDMC/MCFranceCameroon⭐⭐⭐☑️
Antonin BobichonMCFrance⭐⭐⭐
Mathias Pereira LageAMCPortugalFrance⭐⭐⭐
Sofiane BoufalMR/AMRMoroccoFrance⭐⭐⭐⭐☑️
Sada ThioubMRL/AMRLSenegalFrance⭐⭐⭐
Rachid AliouiSTCMoroccoFrance⭐⭐⭐


3. “Les Rejects


We originally stated that all non-homegrown players must have left the club before the start of the 2021/2022 season. That was before we realised that most of the “non-French” players in the Angers squad were actually born in France or have French nationality/citizenship. Based on this, we will bring forward our deadline and now any and all non-homegrown players will be offloaded immediately – harsh, but such is life when you are being managed by a stubborn FM blogger with a story to tell 😄.


NamePositionNationalitySecond NationalityRatingValue
Daniel PetkovicGKMontenegro⭐⭐⭐€250K
Mateo PavlovicDCCroatiaBosnia & Herzegovina⭐⭐⭐€3 million
Haithem LoucifDR/WBRAlgeria⭐⭐€165K
Abdoulaye BambaDR/WBRIvory CoastItaly⭐⭐€850K
Lassana CoulibalyMCMali⭐⭐€675K
Farid El MelaliM/AMCAlgeria⭐⭐⭐€1.1m

Sorry lads, nothing personal 🙌 



If we are lucky we might get close to 4 or 5 million in transfer fees for that lot, and with 80% of transfer revenue on offer we will need every penny – the starting transfer budget for Angers SCO at the start of Football Manager 2021 is a grand total of €3.5 million – for context that’s 5 weeks of Neymar’s wages according to FM 🤦‍♂️.




So what have we learned? From a Homegrown perspective we aren’t in too bad shape, most of our best players qualify which takes a little bit of pressure off…unfortunately we still need to bring in at least 5 first team players on an extremely limited budget, with a Right Back, Centre Back, CM/AMC, Left Winger and a Striker all on our shopping list. Cue the gif:



We’ll have to get used to this

I’m not yet ready to settle on a preferred tactic and strategy for our first season in charge until we do some transfer business and see what type of players we can attract, so for now I will leave you with our first set of “slightly interested” transfer/loan targets for whom we will commence making transfer moves either permanently or on loan with an option to buy (if you like the shortlist view you can download it here). Assuming we can offload some of our unwanted/non-homegrown players then we will be in a much better position to get a few deals over the line – all will be revealed in my next post 👀.


Saliba interested in a loan?! 😲

Thanks for reading, enjoy the game – we deserve it!



As always feel free to leave any comments or questions below, hit that Follow button and if you want to chat further you can always catch me on Twitter, Slack or Discord. You can also get more involved in the FM community by checking out @WeStreamFM on Twitter and Discord as well as some excellent FM content on

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