I met my maker I made him cry, and on my shoulder he asked me why, his people won’t fly through the storm, I said listen up man, they don’t even know you’re born..
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So begins Season 6 of this Homegrown save at Angers SCO, and “Déjà Vu” are the main words coming out of fans’ mouths in the West of France. Last season we finished 3rd in Ligue 1 which is exactly where we finished the previous season, setting us up for a Champions League qualifier somewhat unbelievably against Sporting Lisbon, the same side that beat us in the exact same fixture last season. The main difference from this time last year is that we have a bit more money to spend with our finances in much healthier shape due to us not spending any cash at all in Season 5 (apart from signing-on fees for Free Agents Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jean-Philippe Gbamin whom we picked up after their contracts ended at Atletico Madrid and Everton respectively). Our bank balance (which had been depleted due to annual installments as part of deals we made for Amine Gouiri, Michal Olise and Lillian Brassier) is restored to a much healthier €16m, with the board giving us €9m to spend on transfers.
Before we go on a spending spree 😅 (context: PSG have just spent €249m on the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Theo Hernandez and Memphis Depay, thankfully not Haaland though as was rumoured previously), the déjà vu keeps a rolling as we continue our shrewdness in the Free Agent market.
Guendouzi amazingly is still only 26 years old in the year 2025 and is a welcome addition of quality and experience as we look to bolster our squad depth to better compete at domestic and European level – this makes us fairly stacked in Central Midfield with Guendouzi joining Ibrahim Amadou, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Theo and Enzo Le Fée who compete to start in a 3-man midfield (we play Gbamin as a Right Back and he has been quality in his first season). Where we are light however is up front – top scorer from our first two seasons Rachid Alioui decided he didn’t want to renew his contract due to a lack of game time, which leaves us with only Amine Gouiri as a Striker option (we only play one up front). Apart from that our squad remains the same and barring anyone leaving unexpectedly, we are in a position to use most of our budget to sign a Striker as competition or backup for Gouiri. The biggest challenge is that there aren’t many options – after 6 years in game we are at the point where Newgens haven’t yet fully matured to be good enough for first team football, while the majority of IRL players that would have been either suitable or interested are now almost too old to be in contention – long story short, we literally find only one affordable candidate with the ability and potential we need, and €7 million later he arrives at Stade Raymond Kopa to take the recently vacated #9 jersey.
Midfielders: Ibrahim Amadou, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Theo, Enzo Le Fée, Michael Olise, Mohamed-Ali Cho, Matteo Guendouzi, Antonin Bobichon, Manu Koné
Forwards: Amine Gouiri, Jessim Pellissard
“Déjà vu is a bast*rd“
MaddFM, 13th August 2025
For the second season running we face off with Sporting for a place in the Champions League Group Stages, and for the second season running we fail to beat them – a 0-0 draw in Lisbon looked to set us up nicely for Home victory in the return leg however despite Pellisard scoring on his debut, a brace from Daniel Braganca sends us into the Europa League Group stage where we are drawn to play Genk, AZ Alkmaar and Lokomotiv Moscow.
D’You Know What Amine
Brace yourself – Season 6 kicks off with the best ever start to a season I have had since I started blogging my Football Manager adventures here two years ago and after winning our first 6 games we found ourselves – wait for it, TOP OF THE LEAGUE. I would love to say we started as we meant to go on however natural order ensued and we began an unhealthy trend of dropping points unnecessarily, peaking too early both in Ligue 1 and in the Europa League – by Christmas, we found ourselves in 3rd place in the league and finished second in our Europa Group to set up a knockout round clash with Zenit St. Petersburg.
Looking back it’s easy to analyse where things are going well and where we are struggling. Amine Gouiri has become a lethal finisher and absolute feast for the eyes in the Advanced Forward role – by the Winter break he has scored 19 goals in 19 games in the League to put him top of the scoring charts ahead of PSG’s Mo Salah, complimented by 3 goals in Europe. The Frenchman has become my favourite Striker in this year’s edition of the game (a sentiment shared by multiple members of the community managing in France at present) and looks on course to score 30+ goals this season which I myself have not had a Striker achieve for several versions of FM. I can only speculate that his form is purely down to my managerial and tactical prowess…
On a slightly more negative note and as is clearly evident in the gulf that now exists between PSG/Lyon and ourselves/Monaco (13 point gap by the time we hit Christmas) – while these two elites are raising the bar each year particularly in terms of signings and quality of player they can afford and attract in each transfer window (helped greatly by their Champions League performances), we simply haven’t been able to keep up due to a combination of financial and recruitment restrictions with our main mission to retain our existing players and gradually improve the squad through bargains, free agents and youth development. While Amine Gouiri is the star striker so far this season, he was definitely an outlier in terms of big name signings which led me to take a quick look at each club’s transfer activity in terms of Top 10 signings over the past 5 seasons:
Wow. I knew the gulf was huge, but wow. This is not me playing the sympathy card or somehow trying to brag about how we have performed against these sides (I’m the one that chose to do a homegrown save at a small club) – rather, the learning here is that I need to do better in terms of raising the bar on our signings and not simply settling for retaining the players we have currently. While I have remained loyal to the likes of Ibrahim Amadou and Evan N’Dicka, the harsh reality is they won’t be good enough to see us through to the Champions League and with the Board deciding to bump our Transfer Budget up to €10m, so begins our quest in January for a new Centre Half who will hopefully become the rock in our defence for years to come.
Here is where things get interesting. After applying the filter above I found what looks to be the perfect candidate – French, wonderkid status, attributes on point, 20 years old, 6ft 4″ tall, currently at PSG but Transfer Listed by Request due to a lack of game time:
Notice any problem? No? HE’S NOT A DEFENDER. Giraud is the perfect Centre Half on paper except for the fact that he isn’t one – I can’t get away from it, with a €10.5m asking price he is exactly what we are looking for. Would we be mad to spend the whole budget and then completely retrain him as a Centre Half?
Interestingly it’s out with the old and in with the new as Guanzhou Evergrande suddenly land in with a €6m bid for Geoffrey Kondogbia; my initial reaction was to tell them where to go however sticking with the chain of thought above, the fact that we (a) realise he is 33, (b) signed him on a free just 18 months back and (c) convince the Chinese side to up the bid for €12m means that every player now has a price in Angers; enjoy China Geoff 👋.
We kicked off the New Year pretty well as we geared up for our Europa League Knockout Round clash with Zenit, however the problem is so did Monaco – they leapfrog us into 3rd by a single point just as we are preparing to welcome the Russian side to Angers following a disappointing 1-0 defeat St. Petersburg. Having been knocked out at this stage last season, can we overturn them in the Second Leg and avoid another disappointing spate of deja-vu?
Angers SCO vs Zenit St. Petersburg Europa League Knockout Round – Thurs 26/2/2026
Injuries to Guendouzi and Gbamin mean that Amadou and Rosier come back into the side, while Zenit are almost at full strength including the worst haircut we have ever seen in Parfait Guiagon (not that parfait I can tell you). Top scorer Amine Gouiri has 28 goals so far this season in all competitions and will surely be the danger man with stalwart Dejan Lovren missing the game for Zenit due to suspension.
We needed a clean sheet and we got it as we romp home with a 3-0 win, meaning we enter March in 4th place in Ligue 1 and a potential Europa clash against the likes of RB Leipzig, Fiorentina, PSV, Wolfsburg or Real Sociedad. In which exotic place will lowly Angers SCO find themselves next?
Thanks for reading,
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