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Jogo Bonito

FM16 - French Football - Joie de vivre

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Welcome to the first dedicated general thread for French football.



For FM16, we'll cover Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 - with a very brief overview of the Championnat National teams.

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So, why should you consider managing in France?

Well, it's a good league and there is the ultimate challenge of trying to compete with big-spending PSG. The other clubs won't be able to do that by signing many players for big sums, so it will be a real test of your managerial skills to take them on and emerge triumphant. There are smaller clubs you can join too, and it's a good challenge to see if you can build them up with a more long-term reign.

The status of Ligue 1 is perfectly pitched for a number of reasons. It's at just the right level for you to bring in players from smaller European countries, meaning you can be the one that makes them something special. You'll also have some great players already there in France, and the reputation of the league is high enough that your best players will always be popular transfer targets for clubs in the top nations like England, Germany, Italy and Spain.

You'll notice that there are plenty of African players throughout all of the French leagues. This is permitted because of the agreements in place for them to be classed as non-foreigners, making France an attractive early destination for younger African players. Unlike the big four nations mentioned above, rules won't stop you from taking advantage of the raw talent available (England has work permit issues for them, and the lower levels in Spain, Germany and Italy are very restrictive on the number of foreign players allowed). The other bonus is that much of Africa speaks French (particularly in North and West Africa), therefore the transition should be much easier.

And finally, it's worth pointing out that France has some of the most exciting young players around at the moment. At almost every club in Ligue 1, you will find a gem (or two), more of which will be covered in my Ligue 1 preview. There's also a sprinkling of that talent down in Ligue 2, don't forget that the likes of Mahrez (Leicester) and Sakho (West Ham) came straight from the French second tier and made a quick impression over in England.

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PSG 5-4

The cash-rich club from the capital city, what needs to be said about them? They have the best backing, best budget, and best squad. It's almost impossible not to win Ligue 1 with these players and resources, but perhaps trying to make them a European force, or convert them in to an all-French side might be a challenge you fancy? It's hard to pick out star players, but Angel Di Maria and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are probably the biggest names. Youth graduate Adrien Rabiot is one to watch, whilst right-back Serge Aurier and midfield dynamo Blaise Matuidi regularly catch the eye.

AS Monaco 5-1

The second favourites, and another team with a big budget are Monaco. The principality side have also had big investment in recent years, but have now steered towards a slightly more authentic approach after deciding that investment in younger players may pay future dividends. The squad is currently a mixture of senior pros and youngsters looking to make a name for themselves, but the likes of Thomas Lemar, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernardo Silva indicate they could become an exciting young team. There are several prospects in the U21 group too, including Almamy Toure who is a very decent right-back option.

Olympique Lyonnais 14-1

Lyon have been a real let down this season. After finishing runners-up last term, it was widely expected they would be the ones to put any pressure on PSG this time around, especially as they kept their brightest talents at the club in the summer. Star striker Alexandre Lacazette hasn't found scoring so easy this year, but that might be down to the absence of the injured Nabil Fekir, who usually links up with him so well. Luckily, in FM16 you don't have to suffer that issue, as Fekir should be fit for action as soon as you take over. Another forward, new signing Claudio Beauvue also promised much after an impressive season at En Avant de Guingamp last year - but hasn't really made much impression yet. Midfield options including Mathieu Valbuena look immense on paper though, and second spot should be your minimum aim here. My favourite prospect for development at the club is attacker Maxwel Cornet, a left-footed forward capable of playing anywhere across the front line. He's beginning to feature more often after arriving from FC Metz last winter, and might not be far away from a senior French cap to deter the nation of his birth (Ivory Coast) from stealing him back. The club also has a brand new stadium opening in December 2015.

OM 33-1

Another of the big clubs, with a passionate support and a stadium capable of housing an impressive 67,000 people. Again, you should be looking to fight for second spot if you take on this challenge - something they haven't really looked like doing in reality this year. You would inherit one of the most reliable central defenders in Ligue 1 over recent years in Nicolas Nkoulou, but will have a dilemma with him as his hefty contract is expiring at the end of the first season. Basically, you either need to sell him for big money early, or commit the majority of your funds to giving him a new contract. Your squad contains five loan players at the start too, so moves in the market will be tighter than you think. However, you possess a really promising (if somehwat inconsistent) striker in Michy Batshuayi, who is one of the leading marksmen around this year and could easily finish as the top scorer in France. The final mention though, goes to one of the brightest performers in the country so far - teenage winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou. He's a really exciting talent, most dangerous coming off the left flank, where his stronger right foot can be used to maximum effect.

LOSC 40-1

A club who had a new 50,000 all-seater stadium built in 2012, but have lost their form on the pitch at the wrong time. The skills and creativity of Sofiane Boukal make him one to watch out for, whilst Sebastien Corchia is often used in a more advanced position on the right side of midfield these days, allowing Djibril Sidibe to slot in to his previous right-back role. The recruitment of a really good, reliable striker is possibly the biggest priority if you take charge of Les Dogues, but if you're sensible you might find enough cash to do so. One thing the club have done well is defend, and their goals conceded tally is amongst the lowest in the league so far despite their stuttering form.

AS Saint-Etienne 40-1

Les Verts have a long and proud tradition, and are the most successful team in French history. Recent progress hasn't been quite so impressive, but they have a passionate support and are a club just waiting to be woken. This year, their squad has been boosted by the arrival of striker Robert Beric, a Slovenian who was prolific for Rapid Vienna last season. Although he has been ruled out for the season in real life not too long ago, he doesn't have that handicap in FM16 and should be your main finisher here. Your other stand-out players will probably be goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, defensive stalwart Loic Perrin, and Romain Hamouma. The latter is a bit of a livewire, most at home on the right flank, but capable of playing any of the attacking roles just behind the lone striker in their favoured 4231 formation.

Girondins de Bordeaux 40-1

Bordeaux are another club with a new stadium (built in 2015) and numerous league triumphs behind them. Famous names associated with the club in the past include Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Zinedine Zidane amongst others, but will this batch of players be good enough to secure European football in any form? You'll have to wait patiently for the return of injured striker Cheick Diabate if you take the job, but Diego Rolan might fill the void in his absence. Other assets are Wahbi Khazri, a talented attacking outlet (if you can keep him under control) and central midfielder Henri Saivet, both of whom are already attracting attention from bigger clubs across Europe.

Stade Rennais FC 40-1

I see pros and cons when looking at Rennes. On the plus side, I like the fact that (in the main) the squad is at or just approaching their peak ages, and with no previous Ligue 1 titles, this could make them an attractive project if you wish to undertake a long-term task and create some history. On the minus side, you don't really have any star quality here, and two of your four strikers are out on loan in the first season. The main striker you do have, Habib Habibou, had a decent scoring record in Belgium, but has so far struggled to replicate that form in France. The alternative (or partner) to him is Giovanni Sio, who did quite well in Swiss football but has something to prove in France, so this might be an area for concern. On-loan midfielder Juan Fernando Quintero and winger Paul-Georges Ntep could be the men to bring some spark, whilst 'keeper Benoit Costil is a solid man to protect the goal. The most promising prospect at the club can be found in the reserve squad, but Ousmane Dembele isn't yet rated in line with his interesting cameo performances this season.

Montpellier HSC 50-1

A club that were rather surprising Ligue 1 winners in 2012, but have since returned to mediocrity. Continental competition would be an unlikely target in my opinion as the squad here isn't the strongest, although Ryad Boudebouz and Morgan Sanson are decent creative types who have done well in Ligue 1. The latter starts out with an injury which might slow down progress further, and instead it may be the likes of versatile Bryan Dabo (who can perform well in a variety of roles) that prove to be more valuable. Like a fair few other teams, one of the best surprises of the season so far has come from an unexpected source. In this case, he is not only hidden in your reserve squad, but also hidden behind a variation of his 'common' name. I'm talking about Rodrigue Ninga - more widely known as Casimir Ninga - who has taken Ligue 1 by storm with frequently inspiring, exciting and productive performances so far this season. I'd strongly suggest promoting the youngster and giving him a chance as your first choice striker, and if he performs anything like he has in real life, you could find yourself a star of the future.

Stade de Reims 50-1

This is a club that has won the top title six times in their history - but none of them have come in the last 50 years. It's fair to say that they're not very close to bringing the trophy home again anytime soon either, but they have managed to consolidate their position in Ligue 1 after falling down to CFA level football just before the turn of the century. The brightest talents (as is often the case in France), are probably found in the attacking positions, with a trio of players to keep an eye on. The men in question are teenage strikers Grejohn Kyei and Jordan Siebatcheu - who have both been given first team opportunities this term - plus the more established Nicolas De Preville. At the back, Algerian international defender Aissa Mandi will need to play an important role too.

Toulouse FC 50-1

This is a team really struggling this season, and they're a long way from making any impression near the top end. Wissam Ben Yedder has been a consistent marksman for the club in the last three years (averaging 15 top flight goals in that time), and he'll need to take the responsibility again as your other options are much less reliable. Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro is another who can make a good contribution, with his versatility being useful, but much might depend on how your young defensive players stand up to scrutiny. Uros Spajic and Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik (who has never quite delivered on his early promise) are amongst those that will need to lay the foundations for a brighter future, but don't expect too much here. You're more likely 'to lose' than many of your rivals, so patience will be needed.

OGC Nice 80-1

Nice are another club that built a 'nice' new stadium in recent times (2013). Four times winners of Ligue 1 in the 1950's, they're an established top flight side that the neutrals can become fond of due to their Cote d'Azur location on the South coast. The arrival of attacking midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa on a free transfer seems like a fantastic piece of business, and he is in great form this season. Whilst he provides the flair, the diminutive pair of Nempalys Mendy and Seri provide the hard graft in midfield, and will be important cogs in your machine. I'm not convinced that on-loan Monaco striker Valere Germain is the prolific striker you need, and would suggest you don't overlook Alassane Plea, who can play as a striker or also in a right-sided attacking role if you don't use Ben Arfa there.

SC Bastia 100-1

One of the two Corsican clubs in Ligue 1, they'll be happy just to survive year on year. That might not be beyond you, but any achievements here will be based on hard work and team spirit rather than raw talent. Winger Floyd Ayite is your most valuable asset, but goals might be hard to come by. Veteran forward Brandao is a controversial member of your squad, and tunnel cameras will be the order of the day when this Brazil nut loses his temper. This could be a contender for anybody that fancies a specific type of challenge - a long-term mission to make a team from the lovely island of Corsica a European powerhouse, but I have no idea what version of FM we will be on by the time you make it happen!

FC Lorient 100-1

The colourful orange kit is just one thing that might draw you to this club. Benjamin Moukandjo has been right at the top of the scoring charts in Ligue 1 this year, but whether you can get the rest of the squad performing anything like him will be a test of your skills. It's a solid but unspectacular group, but a top-half finish won't be a surprise to me. That may depend on whether you can get another pair of your African attackers to deliver - both Alain Traore and Majeed Waris need to get their careers back on track after a couple of lame years.

En Avant de Guingamp 100-1

In 2002/2003 this was the club that saw Didier Drogba begin to make a name for himself, with his form earning a move to OM, and then one year later an even bigger move to Chelsea. Some years on, I would argue that it would take a player similar to him in his prime to see you competing at the top of the table. The loss of last year's star striker (Beauvue to Lyon) has left the club light in attack, especially as Ronnie Schwartz has returned to Denmark on loan for the season. Instead, the club have borrowed big strong forward Sloan Privat from Gent, but his goal record in France has never been outstanding (except for one good return in Ligue 2 some years ago). Jimmy Briand is also at the club, but he has no better statistics than Privat, and I wouldn't put any hopes on him to deliver. Sorry, not much cause for optimism here.

Stade Malherbe Caen 150-1

Now it's time to be more positive, and this is one of the teams that are performing above expectations this term. Well organised and hard-working, they're battling away for a European place, which would be a fantastic achievement. Striker Any Delort has looked good upon his return to France - putting a disappointing spell at Wigan behind him - and defenders Dennis Appiah and Syam Ben Youssef are also putting in consistent performances. You might find it hard to match that, but it could be a challenge to tempt you in?

FC Nantes 150-1

Nantes are another team who have done reasonably well this season, mainly due to their defensive displays. Veteran Venezuelan central defender Oswaldo Vizcarrondo is a key member of the team, Lucas Deaux has been a capable midfielder, and in attack you have the interesting new signing Kolbeinn Sigporsson (apologies to all Icelandic people for the spelling). The ex-Ajax man has a great record in international football, but still has some doubters to convince at club level.

ESTAC Troyes 200-1

Promoted Troyes are almost doomed to relegation before the mid-season break. It's hard to find encouraging words here, and when you look through the squad it's difficult to find who will save your season. Central defenders Matthieu Saunier and Johan Martial (brother of Manchester United forward Anthony) will be under pressure to subdue opposition strikers, and big performances will be needed from full-back Mouhamadou Dabo. Elsewhere, midfielder Thomas Ayasse will need to impose himself, and you might need to hope that striker Henri Bienvenu turns the clock back a few years, as it's some time since he had a productive season.

Angers SCO 300-1

The fortunes of Angers are in complete contrast to Troyes, and it's incredible to see the difference between these two promoted sides. Currently riding high in second place, they have been the story of the season in Ligue 1 so far. Achieving that after losing the man that fired them to the top flight (Jonathan Kodjia, who moved to Bristol City in the summer) makes it an even bigger achievement in my book. Their success has taken many by surprise, bit it's the result of classic defensive and counter-attacking play, and expert conversion of set-piece situations. With only 10 goals conceded in 18 games to date, there's no doubt over the strength of the side, and whether you can get such resolute displays from the likes of Romain Thomas and Thomas Mangani remains to be seen. I've been impressed this year by Arnold Bouka-Moutou who can play as an attacking left-back or more probably on the left side of midfield, but the undoubted star of the show has been powerhouse central midfielder Cheikh Ndoye. The 29 year old from Senegal is in the Yaya Toure mould, and has worked his way up the ladder through CFA, National and Ligue 2. Having finally earned his reward with a debut season in Ligue 1, his uncanny knack of scoring goals has continued in the top flight, where he is making a really big impression.

GFC Ajaccio 1000-1

The second side from Corsica in Ligue 1 this year, Gazelec knew they would be in a relegation battle after promotion last time out. So far, they have managed to keep out of the drop zone, and if they manage to avoid the drop, it would be a terrific campaign for them too. Defence will again be the key, but if the likes of Jacques Zoua can chip in with a few goals, they might just make it. One interesting member of their squad is left-back Issiaga Sylla, on loan from fellow strugglers Toulouse. The Guinea international has some quality, and could end up helping to send his parent club down if the Corsicans survive.

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Metz start the season as title favourites after their relegation from Ligue 1. Their last two promotion-winning sides relied heavily on West Ham striker Diafra Sakho's goals, but this time they will have to find another way. Sergey Krivetz starts as your most valuable asset at £3.6m, but the forward hasn't found life in France easy after moving from Belarus. He might make up for lost time at a lower level, but you could get more enjoyment from developing young Latvian prospect Janis Ikaunieks (or even consider signing his brother Davis). Right-back Romain Metanire is one of numerous other good players at the club, and a promotion push is definitely on the cards here.

Lens are another of the bigger clubs in Ligue 2, but look weaker than the predicted winners. Argentinian Pablo Chavarria looks to be your key man here, and his qualities on the right flank will be important. Teenage defender Jean Phillipe-Gbamin also has the potential to turn in to a decent player.

Sochaux is a name that for many years was associated with the French top flight. They recently suffered some financial problems, and the loss of long-term sponsors Peugeot could slow down their quest to go back up. I think it would be nice to see them do it, but it certainly won't be easy unless the likes of Karl Toko can fire you there. An interesting member of your squad is Lionel Zouma, with the young central defender being the brother of Chelsea man Kurt.

Evian were 'treading water' for a few years in Ligue 1, but having been relegated last time out, this recently-formed club will be looking to bounce back quickly. They don't have much of a history at all yet, but enjoyed some good early success through the divisions. Surprisingly, you start with a £6m asset in midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda, although I think that valuation of the Costa Rican is extremely generous! Keeping your Ghanaian international defender Jonathan Mensah fit would boost your chances of a swift return.

Brest can boast Franck Ribery, David Ginola and Paul Le Guen amongst their former players, but will need to rely on a more modest bunch ahead of this campaign. Former Watford midfielder Cristian Battocchio is the highest valued member of your squad.

Le Havre might struggle to make much of an impression, but will pin their hopes on regular goals from new striker Mathieu Duhamel. You also have ex-Cameroon international midfielder Modeste Mbami, but he isn't the same player that served OM & PSG in the past.

Nancy list Michel Platini as their only club legend (at least it isn't Sepp Blatter). They have enjoyed many seasons in Ligue 1, but haven't quite managed to make it back despite decent efforts in the last two seasons. Veteran Moroccan forward Youssouf Hadji returned for his third spell at the club last season (and did well) but fresh young attacking talent is needed, in my opinion. At the other end of the scale, 16 year old left-back Christ-Emmanuel Faitout Maouassa is raw, but looks like he might be one to watch.

Dijon are another club that will be looking to make a challenge after going close in the last few seasons, but whether they can cut the mustard is anyone's guess. Possibly the most interesting name here is Granddi N'Goyi, on loan from Palermo. Highly regarded as a younger player, he hasn't quite fulfilled all that early promise - but the central midfielder should still be the driving force of this team.

Auxerre have a reputation for developing great youth products, and were a very decent Ligue 1 side from 1980 to 2012. Laurent Blanc, Eric Cantona and Basile Boli are amongst their listed legends, but there isn't anybody of that pedigree here right now. French Under 21 goalkeeper Zacharie Boucher should be a fantastic addition to your squad after joining in the summer though, and on-loan defender Cedric Hountondji could also be a useful man to have on board. In attack, you have several useful options to pick from, and I think this is a club you can make healthy again.

Valenciennes have also had some recent time in the top flight, but nothing as sustained as some of their rivals here. They look to be strong in defence - with Loic Nestor, Loris Nery and on-loan Marseille player Baptiste Aloe among your choices - but that hasn't proven to be the case so far this season. Opa N'Guette might provide some flair on the flanks.

Tours are predicted to finish mid-table, and that's where I would expect to see them end up too. Christian Kouakou and talented on-loan striker Alexy Bosetti look to be your most potent threats, but they'll struggle to match the exploits of former hotshot Andy Delort who fired 24 goals for the club in 2013/2014.

US Creteil are a small club near Paris, with a fairly undistinguished history. The squad doesn't have any exceptional talents, but former French Under 21 player Maxime Bourgeois might be the one to spark you. Sadly, their best player left on a free transfer in the summer and you will now see Cheikh Ndoye tearing it up in Ligue 1 instead.

AC Ajaccio are based on the lovely island of Corsica - but are in the shadows of their two top-flight local rivals. I can't really see them making much of a challenge here, but new midfielder Rayan Frikeche might be a useful new signing.

Clermont Foot on the other hand may be able to surprise a few people. Striker Famara Diedhiou (on loan from league rivals Sochaux) looks to be a big bonus here, and defender Cedric Avinel has been a regular at the heart of the defence for a number of seasons now. Baptiste Martin has top flight experience in Belgium and is another good member of the squad.

Stade Lavallois haven't made much of an impression in Ligue 2, and are another of those clubs that will struggle to reach the next level. On-loan PSG winger Romain Habran might be capable of shining at this level, but don't expect major fireworks from this crew.

Paris FC won't ever be the biggest team in the French capital. They probably won't even be the best team from Paris in Ligue 2. However, they do have an affiliate link with Monaco, and already have a couple of players on loan from the principality. They also have Christopher Glombard on loan from Stade de Reims, and I think he is a really useful option for any position on the right-hand side of the pitch.

Red Star are similarly rated to their city rivals from Paris, and are looking to establish themselves after promotion last season. Former French international and club icon Steve Marlet is already installed as your Director of Football, and despite only having 100 season ticket holders, I think they have some good talent in their squad. Ex-Grasshoppers forward Anatole N'Gamukol is one of a number that could push this club on, and they can even call upon some forgotten men in David Bellion and Hameur Bouazza if you're in to nostalgia.

Chamois Niortais aren't ranked very highly here, but links to Lorient and Saint Etienne could help them stay afloat. Much might depend on how Frederic Bong, Jeremy Choplin and Mathieu Sans perform at the heart of your defence, and Paul Delecroix in goal will need to be in good form behind them. Midfielder Jimmy Roye is another who may put in some good performances.

Nimes start the season with an eight point penalty, and that could signal a season of struggle. Midfielder Jonathan Lacourt and goalkeeper Mathieu Michel may be the ones to aid the rescue mission.

FBBP were promoted last season and enter new territory this year. A return from where they came wouldn't be a major shock, but in Senegalese striker Pape Sane they possess a finisher who notched 21 league goals last season. He's also done well this term at the higher level, and will be crucial to any progress you wish to make.

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Title favourites La Berrichonne are a professional outfit with a strong squad for this level, and look well set to be one of the clubs promoted to League 2. My other confident tip for promotion are fallen giants RC Strasbourg Alsace , who have a proud history that saw them participating as Ligue 1 regulars until relegation in 2008. They have the largest stadium in this league (capable of accommodating 29,000 people), and still have very good youth and training facilities. Surprisingly for a club of this size, their status is showing as semi-professional though, which may cause some unexpected difficulties with player recruitment - not that you will need to worry about that as they will turn pro after making it to Ligue 2. CS Sedan Ardennes are another semi-professional club who appeared in the top flight as recently as 2008. They possess the second largest stadium (capacity of over 23,000) in the division, and might appeal to some given their media prediction of 17th. Corsican side CA Bastia have the smallest venue (1,300 maximum) so growing that club might not be easy at all, whilst another interesting pick might be Groupe Sportif Consolat. In case you're wondering why that is, it's only because they are based in Marseille, the only one of the famous French footballing cities represented at this level.

Three teams get promoted to Ligue 2 at the end of the season, whilst four get relegated to the CFA levels (A-D). In my opinion, the team to watch from the CFA structure would be GF38 - who had a couple of seasons in Ligue 1 until 2010. They have a 20,000 all-seater stadium at their Grenoble home, built in 2008.

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Yes Jogo! Love it, these league dedicated threads are a great idea(all stemming from the football league original). I'm finishing the Serie A one handy as I have a Milan/Parma eve going but I also have a challenging Marsielle save going on.

I've reached November time, I'd posted in the OM thread but there's not a lot of activity. Going well despite losing N'Koulou(£32m-ish to Man Utd) & Mandanda(£12m-ish to Sevilla).

Of course as you know me this has allowed me to go a bit trigger happy with squad rebuilding.. I'll stick a wee update up tomorrow with some screenies and accurate info..

Hope this thread catches on. Good work man.

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Cheers boss! Hopefully it won't keep people away from the dedicated club guides already made (e.g. Marseille) or about to be made in the future. The OM guide was a great thread with lots of very useful information in it, and the time and effort should be better rewarded, but c'est la vie...

However, if anyone wants to share their experiences in here (managing OM or otherwise), I'd be happy to see it. I'll write a piece on all the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs in the next few days, and a very brief overview of the National League. Within the Ligue 1 guide there might be a few names mentioned that can be used in France and also in other countries. Some of the young talent they have coming through is quite exciting, and could give some interesting alternatives to the usual transfer suspects :cool:

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I started a game with Strasbourg and got promoted easily in first season. After you get promoted to Ligue 2, the club automatically switches to professional status.

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I started a game with Strasbourg and got promoted easily in first season. After you get promoted to Ligue 2, the club automatically switches to professional status.

Excellent, thanks. How competitive were they in Ligue 2?

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Excellent, thanks. How competitive were they in Ligue 2?

I've only played a few rounds (LFC game taking my time atm), but I'm doing quite okay. After 6 games I'm 2nd and basically ready to fight for promotion.

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I'll write a piece on all the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs in the next few days, and a very brief overview of the National League. Within the Ligue 1 guide there might be a few names mentioned that can be used in France and also in other countries. Some of the young talent they have coming through is quite exciting, and could give some interesting alternatives to the usual transfer suspects :cool:

If you manage short texts as awesome as in the Championship thread, I salute you!

And yes, as always, very exciting Youngsters in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. And some very interesting squads in general. I wonder who'd like to take the chance using SCO Angers and SM Caen to test Cleons counter attacking style, and be as successful, as they are in reality. ;)

I'd love to start a game with Nantes or Nice, but, ah... so little time. :(

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If you manage short texts as awesome as in the Championship thread, I salute you!

And yes, as always, very exciting Youngsters in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. And some very interesting squads in general. I wonder who'd like to take the chance using SCO Angers and SM Caen to test Cleons counter attacking style, and be as successful, as they are in reality. ;)

I'd love to start a game with Nantes or Nice, but, ah... so little time. :(

Thanks Jean-Luc, much appreciated - hopefully I won't let the standards drop too much!

Angers are a really attractive proposition for me, although it's a shame that Kodjia left them. OGC Nice will be a much harder task than last year when I tried them. So many teams, so few days to fit them all in...:lol:

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Nice was my other options before I settled on OM, partly due to how Ben Arfa has been playing.. So much so I'm angling to get Ben Arfa in to play alongside Gourcuff.

Had a great save a few FM's ago with PSG, the last season before the money arrived. Trying to implement the same kind of ethos.

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Nice also still has some very promising young talents. And I find their 3-5-2 style quite fascinating.

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If you manage short texts as awesome as in the Championship thread, I salute you!

And yes, as always, very exciting Youngsters in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. And some very interesting squads in general. I wonder who'd like to take the chance using SCO Angers and SM Caen to test Cleons counter attacking style, and be as successful, as they are in reality. ;)

I'd love to start a game with Nantes or Nice, but, ah... so little time. :(

Hi Jean-Luc !

I've actually got a Nantes save going at the minute. I started off with the idea of trying to implement "un jeu à la nantaise" but I just didn't have the personnel. However, it is a very interesting save, just don't expect much money transfer wise. One way of boosting the coffers is to sell decent youngsters who come through the ranks evn though it is always with regret. Big clubs always coming sniffing and the Nantes academy is very productive.

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Hey! Good job Jogo Bonito!

Who you playing as? Firing up a season in France right now! Me and a friend are taking the Eurostar to France on Saturday to watch the Lille Vs Lorient, so may go Lille!

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It took me a good while to find a set up that could fit in all the players I brought in, which I'm guessing was half the problem with the influx of players needing to gel. There's real promise with the squad at the moment, after losing N'Koulou for a decent fee I decided to bring in a group of young players to both help us improve but to help set up a solid financial future through selling on for hopefully a large profit. From now on i'm going to follow the ethos that I had in my old PSG game before all the money came in, i'll only be signing players based in France or who have played in the French leagues. It will hopefully help due to them having experience of the surroundings and the language.

I'll post some wee update screenshots just now and then do a more detailed update with my new scouting targets further explained..

Transfers

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League

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Not the worst place to be in, especially given our rocky start so happy to not be too far behind PSG, they've not been as all conquering as I had thought with the amount of points dropped already. I just need to try and get some solid form going and take advantage of it.

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Nice update sir, and hopefully you won't forget to push the OM thread along also.

I've update the OP with some background to the current state of play in French football, and why it might be a good place to manage. I've just got the Ligue 1 previews to do now, but if anybody has greater knowledge on Ligue 2 clubs, players (or lower), I'll be happy to improve those sections of the guide. In respect of Ligue 1, I am much more familiar with it and should be fine with those clubs and players.

* Saint_Lane, apologies for missing your question. I haven't yet started with a French club but likely to be ASSE, OM, OL or Angers if I go top flight. I hope you have a great time watching Lille v Lorient.

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Great update on Ligue 2, Jogo Bonito!

Sochaux is a name that for many years was associated with the French top flight. They recently suffered some financial problems, and the loss of long-term sponsors Peugeot could slow down their quest to go back up. I think it would be nice to see them do it, but it certainly won't be easy unless the likes of Karl Toko can fire you there. An interesting member of your squad is Lionel Zouma, with the young central defender being the brother of Chelsea man Kurt.

It's shame to actually seem them battling against relegation at the moment...

Lionel Zouma is a very interesting player indeed. One I can recommend as a potential transfer target for most Second Division clubs in Europe.

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Thanks Jean-Luc, yes it's a shame with Sochaux.

OK, now that my laptop problem is fixed, I have completed the Ligue 1 club previews, so the guide is now complete. For those that might be interested, there is a video link to the Ligue 1 transfer budgets at the bottom of that section. It's a very short You Tube video of about one minute.

I hope the thread might be popular, and even if it gives some player transfer suggestions to those managing outside of France, it will be worth it in my opinion.

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I know I am v.late to congratulate you on an excellent thread Jogo, so excuse me. I love French football, such a hot bed of young talent and passionate clubs...often overlooked by many (in game and in real life). My daughter is Anglo-French, so I will allow her to have one English club (Arsenal) and a French team of her choice. Sound fair?

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Many thanks FM_G, much appreciated.

I agree, there are lots of good young players in French football, and it's a league I enjoy too. Hopefully there will be a few saves going on and shared in here.

As for your daughter, yes that sounds fair. I'm guessing her club of choice will be linked to her roots rather than random? The rest of us can just pick whoever we like at the time, for FM purposes - her choice is for life! :lol:

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OK, surprisingly I have slightly gone off the idea of ASSE. That's probably because their recent performances have been awful, and possibly because so many of the same players are there from my effort in FM14.

I'm now leaning towards OM or Angers. The former because I can hopefully terminate a few loans, slash the wage bill and make some moves to bring in some of my preferred French league players for small fees. The latter because they have performed so well this year, have one of my real favourites in their team, and it will be a battle to keep them up - maybe similar to the Darmstadt one.

Anyone else managing in France?

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Le Grand Fromage has been appointed new manager of OM

I've finally got my first French save started, and I'm enjoying myself so far. I don't usually go for big clubs, but with some of my favourite players already there, and the opportunity to bring in some others that I really wanted to manage, this was a good place to start. Whether or not Le Grand Fromage can live up to his name will remain to be seen...

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The board are quite helpful

After the end of the regular summer transfer window, most of my new squad was already in place. I was lacking in just one area though, as I hadn't been able to recruit a good quality striking alternative to Michy Batshuayi. I had a few targets within budget, but they were not interested in signing after only joining their new French clubs in pre-season. During the 'joker' window, you are able to sign one player from another French club, and I finally pieced together a deal for a striker who was still out with an injury, but would be coming back to fitness in November. Unfortunately, having improved other areas of the squad to my satisfaction, we were just a touch short on funding, and so I approached the board hoping they may allow a very small increase to get the deal done. The response was a complete shock, but very useful indeed!

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Transfer Business

With thanks to the generosity of my board, I was delighted to get Cheick Diabate as my new striker in late September, and patiently waited until November until he was fit and ready to take his place on the bench. At the time we were struggling to get that transfer completed, I had a slightly cheaper alternative ready to join, but £2.1m for a player who had never proven himself above Ligue 2 would have been a big gamble. Noticing that his contract expired at the end of the season, I withdrew my offer and hoped that his club would be foolish enough to let him get to January with no new deal sorted. Luckily for me they did that, and I quickly swooped to seal a pre-contract deal for the promising Pape Sane to join next summer - saving my club £2.1m in the process. As you can see, I also have the highly-rated 16 year-old Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen joining at the end of 2016 too, for a bargain compensation sum of just £9.5k.

My first deal on joining the club was for one of the best performers in Ligue 1 so far this season. Cheikh Ndoye has worked his way up through the French leagues, but has continued to shine in his debut season at the top table. A strong, physical specimen with a knack for scoring (particularly from headers at set-pieces) he is a similar type of player to Yaya Toure. For that reason alone, I was never going to refuse the chance to sign him, even though I don't think I have ever paid a transfer fee for a 29 year-old in all my time in FM.

Lamarana Diallo followed him in to the club, a young winger with little pedigree but a project for me to work with in the reserve side. It's a low-risk transfer, but it would be nice if he goes on to have a decent career in the game because of this move. The next arrivals were both central defenders, as I could see very early on that I wanted to get rid of three of ours. Christian Kabasele used to be a striker, but was converted to a defender a couple of years ago, and has some qualities that I like. He would be a rotation option, but a useful player to have at the club. Lucas Mendes was the man that I decided would be the partner to my favourite defender in French football, Nicolas Nkoulou. Mendes is a left-footed centre-back that can also play full-back and he returns to the club after having departed for the fuel-funded salary at Al-Jaish in Qatar. With the squad now complete, the only other transfer was in January, where I decided to convert the loan of Remy Cabella in to a permanent deal after discovering the very low future fee clause that had been set when OM took him from Newcastle. His permanent signing also reduced the number of loan players at the club,, which is something I always like to do.

On that note, I had terminated the loan of Mauricio Isla as soon as I took over, with his high wages offering no value or purpose to me. I was really tempted to do the same with Lucas Silva in the winter transfer window, but with cash not so tight anymore, I decided (just) that he could see out the season with us. The three players I mentioned earlier as being ripe for removal did all exit the club, although in the case of Karim Rekik it is originally on a loan deal until I can do something permanently. Despite the spending, I am still able to boast a transfer profit for the season though, after taking the decision to sell winger Lucas Ocampos in the January transfer window for £13.75m plus some future clauses.

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Summary of the season so far

I've been happy with our season so far, and results have been decent enough. The squad has improved, our financial position has improved, and we now own more assets than we did before too. I've extended the contracts of the captain and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, and the vice captain (Nkoulou), which was no easy task. I'm also ensuring that my best young first-teamers are also here to stay, with Benjamin Mendy and livewire winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou under contract until 2020. The French league is competitive, but I'm confident we will finish with some sort of European competition secured for next season. I'm realistic enough to accept that we won't get near PSG, but everybody else we should be able to match.

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Tactics and formation

I don't really complicate my tactics and instructions too much. I like to be solid in defence, and that is my starting point. In central midfield I want to be strong, but I urge Ndoye to push in to the opposition box as he does in real life. My flair players are out wide and operating just behind my lone striker, who is finishing a good number of chances so far.

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OM - End of Season 1 update



Final Results & Ligue 1 Table

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Results in the final part of the season were a bit disappointing. Apart from the narrow loss to PSG when even Laurent Blanc agreed we were the better team, there were too many occasions where we were not good enough. We never challenged Monaco for second spot, and possibly only ended on a high with two victories because I finally changed to 442 with an eye on alterative ideas for next season.

Season Review



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Here are some of the details behind our season. Financially I did well, but although finishing 3rd was acceptable, the distance between us, Monaco and PSG was not very satisfactory. We definitely need to be more forceful and clinical at home, and more resilient on the road.

Squad Review



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It's clear to see our most prominent performers from these stats. Michy Batshuayi was the star act, but Georges-Kevin Nkoudou also had a productive campaign. There weren't any real disappointments, so looking at it positively perhaps we are not far away from a better season next time around. Cheikh Ndoye and Remy Cabella were my pick of the midfielders, whilst all of the defenders were solid and consistent. I don't think the ratings for goalkeeper and captain Steve Mandanda were very reflective of his form, he was always a big presence between the posts.

Major Injury Summary



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The injury to defender Lucas Mendes was the biggest one we suffered, but although he was a loss we always had a capable deputy to slot in to the side. Cheick Diabate was injured before joining us so we only had a couple of months absence from him before he was fit to play. I can't really complain about injuries, we could always put out a decent team.

OM Player of the Season (34% of fans votes)



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As mentioned, Batshuayi was rightly selected by the fans as our best player. The striker only had a few quiet spells, but was a consistent scorer throughout the campaign. 99% of the time he was a lone striker, although on some occasions he was given a partner in attack late on in games, with Diabate being the one coming off the bench. Michy was also Ligue 1 top scorer, which was an impressive achievement.

Transfer Budget for Season 2



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New Signings

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With sale proceeds exceeding money spent in Season 1, the board have continued to back me ahead of the new season. I always try to run a tight ship, and it's very unlikely we will be investing much money in Season 2 - at the very least, I intend to bring more money in via sales than we spend. I'm planning to tackle season 2 without any loan players also, which will also help keep the wage bill to a sensible level. However, whilst I am looking to give opportunities to younger players, I won't hesitate to pay the going rate to keep the biggest stars at our club.

Big Departure



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I had to think long and hard about this one, as I knew I wouldn't be able to get the same quality as this for such a low fee. However, presented with the chance to get my investment back, and knowing that we had a couple of youngsters ready to support Batshuayi, I eventually decided to accept this offer from Nantes. If I continue with my 'one striker' formation, I think this won't come back to haunt me. If I switch to a strike pairing, there is a chance I might regret this decision.

Transfer Dealings until the end of pre-season, and our progress



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A new contract has just been signed by Nicolas Nkoulou but Batshuayi is currently having doubts over my squad assembly. Hopefully he will soon forget that, and the arrival of Sebastien Corchia might help if early results are good. A few more funds have been raised with the departures of some other unwanted players who had been away on loan last year. Our first official match of the season is now upon us, with Dinamo Moscow our opponents in the Champions League...

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Hi all

Great thread, I've just been appointed as manager of Nimes in L2.

They are struggling at the time of my take over, in season 2.

Would love to keep them up and build and squad to achieve mid table and in the future capable of promotion back to L1.

Nimes is in a great part of the country and they do have a bit of history behind them.

Great to hear somebody else is managing in France! It sounds like you have a nice little challenge there with Nimes, I'm really interested to hear how you get on.

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Managing Lille. Coming to the end of my second season. Very unsuccessful second season considering how well I done in my first. Drawing Barcelona in the qualifiers for the champions league didn't help. It has been an enjoyable save regardless. I'll post some screen shots of people are interested. Nangis and Boufal are to talented young wingers.

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Excellent, and yes I would be very interested to see how you're doing. I just signed Corchia at OM after the first season, and was really trying hard to get Sidibe but was priced out of it.

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Hello Jogo Bonito,

nice thread.

About Strasbourg semi-professional status, this is just a FA rule, this competition is not professional. Only clubs relegated from Ligue 2 in the last 2 years may keep their professional status. ;)

regards.

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Back in this thread after a while, was originally going for a Marseille save but lost interest fairly quickly.

Another team which has piqued my interest is Monaco, who just seem to be wonderkid central on FM16 (Think they have around 30-40 youngsters with 4-5 star potential!!), with some interesting prospects to possibly follow in real life (Lemar, Mbappe, Bernardo Silva).

They also seem to have the money and the infrastructure to become a real force in 1-2 years time, and being the second strongest team in the league, should give me enough quality to be able to give the promising youth a chance. Obviously you have the challenge of trying to topple PSG, but along with this I will be trying to harbour the best French talent from teams like Lyon, Marseille, Rennais etc. Also had a bit of a soft spot for them since they've previously had our Martial and Evra, along with Henry and Trezeguet.

Anyway, updates to come when I get home, should be a very exciting project!

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Dave, it's great to hear you're taking on Monaco and I will look forward to reading your updates. There are so many young French talents to scoop up (or those that have settled in France), but hopefully you will have the backing to do so. The trouble I find is that most of them are attacking players (ignoring PSG and Monaco you could talk about Nkoudou, Dembele, Ninga, Ounas, Tannane, Cornet etc), and it's way too easy to end up with a really unbalanced squad!

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Dave, it's great to hear you're taking on Monaco and I will look forward to reading your updates. There are so many young French talents to scoop up (or those that have settled in France), but hopefully you will have the backing to do so. The trouble I find is that most of them are attacking players (ignoring PSG and Monaco you could talk about Nkoudou, Dembele, Ninga, Ounas, Tannane, Cornet etc), and it's way too easy to end up with a really unbalanced squad!

That excitement didn't last long..

After having a very promising start, bringing in Paul Clement as my assistant, Phil Cannon as my head of youth and a load of youth contracts who have high potential, I just can't seem to get the team to play. First, I went out of the CL losing both legs to Rapid Vienna in the playoff, but accepted it, then I ended up winning the first leg of the Europa playoff against Rijeka a great 3-1, then losing 2-0 at theirs, with their keeper playing a blinder and not able to score a single goal even though I threw everyone forward and went all out attack. It really feels like you're destined to lose sometimes, as I originally quit a Monaco save a few months ago due to the same thing happening with the team being hopeless..

So I rage quit after the Europa loss, as in the end I wouldn't have the motivation to play a season with them with no European football at all, so I can rather continue at that Europa stage again, although I might always feel cheated, or start again, but I put a lot of time into infrastructure and youth signings....

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Oh dear! Well, the choice is yours to make. I remember managing St Etienne in FM14 and setting my target too high, not living up to it and getting sacked after about two months. I started again, lowered the expectations, and went on to enjoy some great seasons with them.

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Well I think if anything I will be starting over, at least giving me another shot to get it right at qualifying for the CL, and I suppose I could just quickly re-sign everyone I had on this save.

The main problem seems to be getting a scoring striker, with Love, Traore and Carillo all being fairly unspectacular. I tried for Remy, even on loan, but I don't have the wages for him! I probably also need at least one solid defender too, as Carvalho's legs seem gone, and Wallace/Raggi seem quite average.

Anyone have advice on tactics? With this save, I had two formations set up, one for home/easier matches with a 4-2-3-1, with TIs being dribble less, play out of defence, and retain possesion, while my other tactic was a 4-3-3 counter with just Dribble Less activated.

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Dave, good luck with attempt 2. I'm not yet on to 16.3, but perhaps have a look at Malick Evouna (Al Ahly) or Dembele (Fulham) as striker options in addition to some of those names I put above. Central defenders are much harder to find, but Maxime Le Marchand, Paul Baysse, Romain Thomas and Adama Soumaoro have all been decent within Ligue 1 this season.

As far as tactics, I just try to copy the style that a team deploys in real life. Maybe others can help you out, although I'm not sure you need it :)

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SEASON 15/16 REVIEW

I finally managed to pull myself away from the Bundesliga for my first foray into France since FM13 with OM.

Prior to FM16's release I had pencilled in a save with a Ligue 1 side and I loved the look of the Toulouse squad! They have been an absolute shambles in real life so here's my stint as manager!

TACTICS (HOME/WEAKER OPP)

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Control/Fluid, start Standard if away from home or against the big boys at home.

Higher tempo, Balanced width, Clear to flanks, Pass into space, Look for overlap, More direct passing.

I'm happy to lose the possession battle in favour of a faster, direct approach utilising decent pace out wide.

TACTICS (AWAY/TOUGHER OPP)

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Counter/Structured

Close down much more, Prevent short GK, Get stuck in, Pass into space, More direct passing, Hit early crosses.

Keeping a normal line we look to harass the opponent into giving us the ball, then rely on the offensive unit to make the most of any chances we get.

Transfers

Sold Mihai Romas for free to get his wages off the books.

I opted not to spend any of the 3 million budget.

The board purchased a young striker named Thomas Berthelot for 100k from Tours FC. In 30 games for the U19s he has 18G, 10A 7.54 rating so could be promising.

Teams are sniffing around Ben Yedder and Akpa-Akpro but i have managed to hold onto both so far.

TABLE (HALF WAY MARK)

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We are doing well but the league is a tight race so far with anyone's guess who will take 3rd place. PSG and St Etienne have bolted clear but other heavy hitters Monaco and OM have both sacked managers and flirted with the relegation spots until recently. Lyon poor aswell so far.

Too many draws for us but better than losing!

GENERAL MUSINGS!

I was offered a new contract already, which is a first for me so early on!

Budget remained the same at Jan transfer window despite asking for more.

Ben Yedder is one of the best strikers in Ligue 1 so try to keep him........i'll start listening to offers over 15 mill!

Oscar Trejo requires micromanagement off the pitch. Moans if he misses a single game or is subbed early! Playmakers are a luxury it seems in FM16 with so much wide play keep your eyes peeled for interested buyers.....in the meantime keep him happy!

Tongo Doumbia has a beast of a shot and has a knack of belting one in when you need it! I use him over Akpa-Akpro.

Etienne Didot is the glue that keeps your midfield from gifting chances to the opponent. Use him as a CM/D and let the engine type player do the running. An option at set pieces also.

Jean Daniel Akpa-Akpro seems to never get fully fit and gets jaded when played regularly. Nurture him where possible and don't over rely on him.

Pavle Ninkov bombs quality crosses in all game. Get him forward and reap the rewards. Begging for a target man! Keep them low for Ben Yedder!

Jean Armel Kana Biyik lacks height but has the strength and speed to have opposition strikers begging to be subbed off!

Mauro Goicoechea has a 1.1 mill release clause. Hasn't been tested yet but his value shoots up if you use him. Keep an eye on it!

Alban Lafont is a promising young GK. If you aren't the patient type 2 mill or more could bolster your transfer kitty. Play hard ball!

AML Position lacks true depth but can be covered with Somalia and Regattin. Look to bolster if funds come available, could even be your first big name signing!

GO ON!

Give Toulouse a go...........what have you got to lose!! (I'll see myself out..)

Second half of season to come when i finish it.

Thanks for reading!

Fantastic thread Jogo Bonito! Top job!

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Fantastic update with details of your Toulouse team, thanks for sharing. Pleased to see somebody have a go with one of the less impressive sides, and I have to say I am amazed at how well you have started. Looking forward to seeing your updates as you progress.

I was planning to update the thread with any significant 16.3 changes, but haven't moved on to the new version yet.

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SEASON 15/16 REVIEW (PART 2)

JAN WINDOW

Out: Jean Daniel Akpa-Akpro - Benfica 8 million

Alban Lafont - Chelsea 2.1 million

IN: Emmanual Badu - Udinese 1.2 million.

Badu a cheaper version of Akpa-Akpro so pretty much replaced him.

FINAL LADDER

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A great second half of the season but despite holding 2nd for quite a while we ended up third. The big teams got better but couldn't overcome the bad starts they had.

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The cups were a nightmare but we could have done without them for the run in anyway. Hopefully next season will be better!

Ben Yedder and Doumbia got in the team of the season!

Doumbia scored goal of the season, a belter from 35 yards. My laptop wont encode it unfortunately.

All in all a fantastic season, highly recommend giving Toulouse a try!

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Great season there with Toulouse...

Being Danish and all, I was wondering how Braithwaite did for you?

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Funny you ask Gungner. He was one of my main reasons for choosing Toulouse.

Is he well liked by Danes?

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Yeah, he's held in pretty high esteem. Not quite first choice on the national team yet, but he will be.

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Well done bkftw, an excellent 3rd place finish. It's nearly time for me to return to management in France, so updates will follow shortly.

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Alright guys. Haven't contributed to the forums since the 2016 game has come out so do apologise! Have been playing generally just French football on it and love it! Won the league with Toulouse in second season. A front three of Alessandrini (OM 1st season), Ben Yedder and Zivkovic, literally carried me. Would of continued the save but neither of them wanted to sign new contract as they were all wanted by likes of Barcelona, Madrid, Chelsea and lost interest in it after that. So here I am, about to start as Amiens in the National League. Will try and update as much as I can as I want this to be a journeyman save!

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Excellent Rustler, very happy to have you on the thread - especially at a club like Amiens. Bon chance :cool:

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Yeah, he's held in pretty high esteem. Not quite first choice on the national team yet, but he will be.

Guess it depends on who you are

Being a Dane I really don't rate him spectacularly highly, decent enough squad player at the national side, but never a first team choice

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Amiens SC Football - Season 1 - National

So as I mentioned, never really done anything like this before so give us a shout if I can do this better!

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First season went pretty well. I know we won the title, but we were very inconsistent and I honestly believe if another team had a run through Christmas like we did, they would of won. Defensively we were poor but we were the top scorers in the league which helped. I would do a transfers page, but there was no incoming players, just a few who left that were fringe players. Kept the whole team in tact pretty much.

Player of the Season: Emmanuel Bourgard

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Injured for the better part of three months but still won the award for the league and at our season award ceremony. And if that isn't impressive enough, this was all through center midfield, not in his natural left wing!

Where now? I honestly believe we will struggle next year. We haven't signed anyone for next year yet, mainly because so many do not want to re-locate because at the time of writing, we are still a semi-professional club. This as well as myself not rating a lot of the players, which makes our achievement this season more remarkable, seems that just surviving, will be more of an accomplishment than this season. If anyone has any experience playing in the lower leagues in France, please suggest some players because I am open to suggestions in any positions.

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Well done on a successful first season. Being better than the rest was enough, but Ligue 2 will probably be hard. Are you on the 16.3 database? I've only just updated to that last night, so not really familiar with the 'new' transfer targets yet.

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Love the emergence of these national threads! I had a little play around with SCO Angers a while ago, and had some fun. Karl Toko was excellent as a F9 for me, and quite cheap too (1.2m?). WIll look at maybe doing a French save again soon, possibly Paris FC or Red Star.

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