I promised more, so I’m delivering more! I don’t know why I stopped playing this save, it’s so good. I bloody love the challenge in France. PSG, Lyon, Monaco, Marseille, Montpellier.. some lovely teams with some great players. Make no mistake, PSG are bastards!
I thought for this update I’d have a look at some of the players I’ve got in my side and how I expect them to fit in, what I expect they’ll do and what I’ll aim to develop in them. I’ll go through the transfers and my thinking about why I signed certain players and my reason for letting others leave.
Ok, I expect to get a bashing for letting some of these players leave, but I’ve got my reasons for it. I expected to move on six players this year, but only four left. I was quite happy with the business I did get done in the window.
Cato Mærøe was signed in 2025/26 for free from Stabæk. My scouting team found this guy and he was a bit rough, but his dribbling and pace were quite excellent. You can see how good he looks above. Honestly, the man was an assist machine. Annoyingly, FM doesn’t show you his overall record from his time at the club, but since I like that sort of info, I’ve done the sums myself. In 7 years at the club, he played 238(24), scored 80 goals and assisted an amazing 133 times. Considering he spent most of his time playing on right midfield, that’s quite a fine return.
The problem I’ve had with him the past couple of seasons though, is getting him on the pitch. He’s not had a horrendous injury, he just had a few niggly ones which reduced his game time. He’s not old at 26, but clubs have been circling around him for years. His wages are rather high and with him playing less, I thought it was time to cash in on him while he was still very highly regarded. I ended up selling him for £60m to Arsenal which was below his value, but it was still a great deal for us.
I’d already found a young replacement and we have a couple of decent wingers at the club right now. Not of this quality, but still of a good enough standard to see us through while the new guy develops.
Mac M’Madi was a player who came in on a youth intake in 2023/24. He had some excellent attributes and was in my first team the following season. He scored some absolute belters for us, his link up play with the frontline was always excellent and he always worked hard for the team.
No real injury concerns for M’Madi(although he did miss 5months of his final season), it was his inconsistency that was his issue. He’d score a hat-trick and then disappear for five or six games. He fired hot and cold and it was very frustrating. I decided that with interest in him still quite high, I could get a good fee for him. Man City were interested but couldn’t match my asking price. Surprisingly, Juventus did and I got £48m for him. He’s still a French international, but with Rayan Martinez filling in most of last season and Nicolas Soriano developing nicely, it just seemed like the right time for him to go. £48m for a youth product is incredible business.
His record during his time at Auxerre was, 217(86) games, 67 goals and 49 assists.
Adam Kensy had been a good player for the club, a solid but unremarkable goalkeeper. He joined from Hamburg for £9m but it was always a stop gap signing until I’d found someone that I thought could hold onto the shirt long term. I was preferably looking for someone who was either French or African. I had both at the club now, so Kensy could move on if the right offer came in.
Barcelona surprisingly came in with the right offer of £20m and off he went.
I said he was unremarkable, but I suspect our defensive displays made him look brilliant. He played 133(2) games keeping 91 clean sheets. Ok, that’s pretty excellent.
Arnaldo Rojas was a perfect South American bargain. Took me three attempts to sign him as I couldn’t agree a fee and then I think contract talks failed another time. I got him in the end. £3.5m. I almost gave up on him when he was at the club as Ouattara was playing in the same position. Rojas only really had one season as a first choice, but seemed to have a lot of interested parties, even before that.
I’d rejected a few bids previously, but with Lamy back at the club and my eyes glancing elsewhere, I thought I could move this guy on this season. Man City, who seem to buy all of my players, were front of the queue. I said he could go for £95m but was quite happy with the £76m I got for him. Was solid at the base of our midfield, especially in the final year.
He played 145 (83) times, scoring 9 and assisting 5. He mainly played as a DM as either an Anchor Man or laterally as a Deep Lying Playmaker on Defend.
The other two players I had intended to sell were Armand Sohna and Kullman Jiménez. I had offers for both players, but both offers were well below what I thought they were worth. I wasn’t in a huge rush for them to leave, so I decided to just keep them for another year.
Usually after the January transfer window, I start planning my transfers for the following season. I knew I’d get rid of a couple of those players, but regardless, I wanted some of these new guys in.
I’d had my eye on more French players this window so I was scouting in and around France for youngsters. Finding a goalkeeper was a bloody nightmare. I already had a good option at the club, but needed two good keepers to play in all the competitions we’d be in this year. Prince Mbemba had joined Lyon from Nice a couple of years back for £1.1m I pressed them and pressed them about making a deal happen, but they were pretty adamant that nothing was happening.
I slapped in a last chance, £20m offer and it was accepted. It was definitely over what I’d anticipated spending on him, but he’s young, French and has some rather good attributes. There are plenty of areas that he can improve. His low wage of £15k p/w was also a boost as our wage bill was still quite high. I wasn’t sure who I’d start the season with as my other keeper, Prince Amponsah is also very good.
This is definitely a long term approach as Mbemba and Amponsah will be vying for the number one slot. I’ve been playing with a SK/D for most of this save, but I’m switching to a SK/S and hoping to get one of these keepers to play with their feet a little bit more. We’ll definitely need to work on that.
People will think I’m mad when I mention the fee for this guy, but I’ll explain my thinking first and then tell the fee.
With me plotting Mærøe’s departure, I had two potential targets. Yohann Dédé from Montpellier or a 16 year old Christophe Chamité from Monaco. Dédé was undoubtedly the better player, but the fact that he did so well playing for a team that finished in 14th position gave me a lot of hope for him. He was only 16 years old for the majority of the season and he had played a lot of first team football. Can you imagine what he could do in a team of better players and with the right training? I was dead set on signing this guy, regardless of price.
Looking at his attributes as they are above, I suppose they aren’t super exciting. His pace stands out, which is obviously very important for an out and out winger. He had a lot of other good attributes though, good decision making, determination, flair, technique and crossing. Even the ones I’ve not mentioned look great. He’s only just turned 17 and he’s highly recommended by my scouts. “Can improve a lot in the future” is always nice to see on a scout report.
Is he worth a lot of money? Well, Montpellier thought so. They eventually settled on a fee of £30m. No add-ons. I’ve got a huge budget, so we’re good for the money. Dédé will slot in at right midfield and player as a winger on attack. People tend to underuse wingers and opt for inside forwards these days, wingers are very exciting in game.
Moses Salifu is a player that had been on my shortlist for a lot of years. I just never signed him as I always felt I had far better options. We were short of defensive cover this season so I was on the lookout for an experienced centre back to step in should I have an injury.
Salifu fitted the bill as he was French, experienced and very cheap. His wages were high, but I talked him down to £50k p/w. He seemed quite happy with his role as a backup player too. He signed for £5.25m.
Sometimes you just have to have a player. Pursuing Abdoul Karim Bangoura was the transfer saga of the summer. Literally the only time I use the press in game is to alert players of my interest, especially if they are French. I was bidding every week, speaking to the press as often as I could. He was saying nice things in the press about me etc. It was like a long distance lover affair.
Lyon however were not letting me have my way. The bastards just would not give me any indication of a fee. I was expecting to pay £40m for this guy. I thought he could add something else to my midfield. He was going to be my CM/S and with him and Lamy running the show, we’d waltz to the title.
Y U RUIN MY DREAM LYON?
I had to be patient. Very patient. I am not a patient man.
I kept cool though.. kinda.
With Lamy moving back to be my DLP, I wanted someone very athletic, intelligent both on and off the ball, someone who wouldn’t do stupid shit basically, but do that very well. The CM/S in my system basically controls the game, almost everything runs through him, even though he’s not a playmaker, he links the defensive phase and attacking phase of player wonderfully. CM/S is a great role this year. I highly recommend checking it out.
FINALLY, A BREAKTHROUGH!
After batting our eyelids at each other all summer, Lyon’s manager finally admitted defeat and the player was unhappy. I tried a £40m bid, no. £50m bid, no. £60m! ffs, gimme! They finally accepted. £60m was a new record transfer for me, but by this stage, we were already filthy rich with transfer sales. A French player from a league rival, it made sense.
The Current Crop
I had planned to do a wee bit about my current season, but I’ve written quite a bit about transfers, so we’ll just look at a couple of players in my side that you’ve maybe not seen much of.
Jeffrey Forde was signed from Arsenal a couple of years ago as lots of teams were circling around Kullman Jiménez, but a bid never materialised. He cost me a lot of money which I was expecting to offset with the sale of Jiménez, but it never came. He’s actually developed quite nicely since he joined. Very strong and mentally very good. At 21, he’ll get a bit better yet.
Rayan Martinez came through on a youth intake in 2024/25. He got promoted to the first team for the 27/28 season and has been there ever since. A very skillful, technical midfielder, he usually plays as a CM/A. He pops up with goals, assists and is pretty effective from free kicks. Has a habit of picking up silly cards, but I take the rough with the smooth. Stepped up last season when M’Madi was injured and will be first choice with Soriano just behind him in the pecking order.
Ivan Kovacevic is another player I signed very young, I think he was 17 when he joined. He cost £650k from Hajduk and then spent two seasons in my U19 team before getting into the first team on a regular basis. I had him tutored by Kullman Jiménez when he was 17. Has grown massively since he got here.
You can note the development he’s made since he’s been here below. The big (green) jump is when he got tutored by Jiménez. If you look at it from 6/30, that’s when he started getting regular first team games. The below graph is from the end of the 32/33 season.
So, I’ve got a lot of very young players in my side now with an eye on the future. I like having a lot of domestic nation players in my side and all of the new signings noted above are French.
I think going into this season, our average squad age is just 21. The aim at the start of the season is to challenge for the title, even with all of these new players.
Will hope to get something fresh up soon.
Thanks again for reading!