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Kicking Up A Storm
Homegrown saves at lowly French clubs are difficult. When we last left off, we had identified that at least half of our squad would need to be replaced if we are to have any level of success in our first season at Angers SCO, and considering we start this save with a €3.5m transfer budget one might be appropriately concerned about how exactly we plan to do this. Your concern is welcome and appreciated.
On completion of our squad review, we decided to slightly amend our homegrown rule in that we will immediately offload all of our non-French players rather than wait until the end of the season to do so. As we were about to add 6 or 7 players to the old reliable discard list, one of them must have called in a favour in a desperate attempt to stay at the club:
This means that he now meets our homegrown requirements which we don’t mind at all, Coulibaly will provide competition and/or cover for Ibrahim Amadou in Defensive Midfield so a definite plus. The same can’t be said for the rest of our non-French players as we instigate a mass exodus at the club within the first two weeks of our arrival – great in terms of clearing the decks for a homegrown save and bringing in some funds, not so great for morale with some of the players quoting new manager MaddFM as “l’étranger qui déteste les étrangers” (the foreigner who hates foreigners).
What we lose in terms of squad dynamics we make up for in cold hard cash, and believe me we need it. 100% of the €7.5m Transfer Revenue raised means that our budget rises to approx. €11m and now we have some room to manouvre in the transfer market…the challenge is, for some reason not too many top quality French players want to move to a mid-table mediocre side in Western France..who’d have thought it? For context, this is what the “best we can attract” looks like as we commence the wheeling and dealing process:
Transfer Time 🔥
Knowing what we know which is that we need to strengthen in almost all areas of the pitch as well as commence building a quality U19 team which is one of our main save objectives, there’s no time to waste with only a few weeks until our league opener versus PSG (yes, PS F*CKING G). Football Manager, come at me bro.
First in the door is one of our main priorities which was to sign a quality Ball Playing Defender who can also offer a threat on set pieces. This brings about our first foray in the new Loan to Buy update whereby as is the case in real life during the current pandemic, we are now seeing a lot more Loan to Buy deals rather than up-front permanent transfers mainly due to the financial uncertainty and circumstances surrounding world football during this pandemic. Miles spoke of this on the FM21 first look stream a while back, whereby not only will the deals be more realistic and clubs will drive harder bargains when it comes to loan deals, but also the added new feature that loan deals can be agreed prior to the transfer window being open. As a big fan of in-game realism and as Manager of a club with minimal budget who start FM21 on July 20 (therefore a full month before the window opens) – MaddFM likes this.
After several over-and-back negotiations with Eintracht Frankfurt, we finally manage to broker a €250K per month deal with a €10m optional fee at the end of the season which we would love to activate if we have the funds to do so. Did someone say Transfer Reveal??
Next in the door (no pun intended) is Enock Kwateng, a Right-Back picked up from Bordeaux for hopefully a steal at €2.5m (50% up front). Solid attributes accross the board (love me a lad that can tackle) and at 23 has plenty of time to improve and develop under my excellent broken French-in-an-Irish-accent tutelage.
Moving on to Midfield and what I hope will be our signing of the season. Whilst combing through endless homegrown player search filters I came across a young French playmaker at Reims who was seemingly garnering interest from both Man Utd and Tottenham. Naturally this would peak ones interest – the lad is French after all so of course we have a claim on his soul forever right? Valued at €4.3m, we manage to get a €5.5m bid accepted (€3m up front) and add arguably our best player to the squad in terms of technical and creative ability – also still only 23.
Nearly there…initially the plan was to bring in a first-choice Striker as on paper Rachid Alioui doesn’t really look to be the bagsman we need to survive in this league. The problem here is that, when it came to affordable options that are better – there weren’t any. After Marcus Thuram turned down a loan move from BMG, we decide that patience is indeed a virtue so rather than waste money on a Striker for the sake of it, we instead invest our remaining budget to bring in not one but two attacking options – Afimico Pululu (Striker) on loan from Basel and our very own ACM with the arrival of Alex Claude Maurice from Nice who signs a 4 year deal for €3m (50% up front). Allan Saint-Maximin, eat your heart out.
Overall verdict – I would say success! We manage to bring in five first team signings (3 permanent and 2 loan deals), all of whom are French (meeting our homegrown rule) and under 23 years of age which bodes well for our future at Angers assuming we have one.
Angers SCO First Team Squad 2020/2021 ⚫⚪
Before we crack on to our first league game (which of course is a trip to Paris to face Mbappe, Neymar and co 🤦♂️), let’s not forget that we have an U19 team to build. In my last post we went through our best youth prospects by position, however we have committed to spending a portion of our annual transfer budget on improving our U19s with a view of challenging for the U19 league title. Short and sweet – that’s exactly what we did:
Han-Noah Massengo arrives on a season-long loan from Bristol City of all places – why wouldn’t there be ex-Monaco youth prospects hiding out in South-West England? Not sure if his name or his hair is what sealed it. He is joined by Armal Bella-Kotchap on loan from Bochum, and Hussayn Touati who signs a 3 year deal from PSG. In my next post I will give a bit more detail on our U19 progress but if we can get these guys firing, our youth squad could go far this year.
PSG vs Angers SCO – Sunday 23rd August 2020
Not only is our opening game of this save against the ridiculously strong PSG, but 4 of our opening 6 fixtures are against some of the top teams in the division as we also face Rennes, Monaco and Marseille. Who said homegrown saves aren’t challenging? No point moaning about it – let’s get this shitshow party started.
Loving these new TV panels 😍
Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria, Veratti – you’re expecting a hammering here right? To summarise, the game went as follows:
11 mins – Goal Angers!! (Romain Thomas) 1-0
31 mins – Goal Angers!! (Rachid Alioui) 1-0
44 mins – Goal PSG!! (Neymar) 1-0
90+3 mins – Goal PSG!! (Rafinha) 2-0
Needless to say – a cracking start to FM21 and our new life in Ligue 1!! Thankfully we followed that up with wins over Rennes and Bordeaux, before back-to-back defeats against Metz and Monaco and then a draw against Marseille at home – that man Mathieu Cafaro picking up a couple of goals early in his career which bodes well, however some clear Striker issues which might form the topic of my next post.
After 6 games played, we sit in 11th place which for a side tipped to finish 15th this season probably isn’t half bad considering our homegrown restrictions. Am I going to finish every blog post with that excuse? Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading,
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