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[FM19] Not all that glitters is gold.

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March 2030 Youth Intake

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Probably the weakest intake we have had in the past five years, with no real standout players here. I am aware that the quality of my players has gone up so now a 3.5* player may actually be a very solid player in the top league - but that is definitely a 'could be' given what I can initially see. Below are the better players:

Rafael Carvalho

Helder Teles

Bernando Pahiama

I wanted to have a look at how my rating system works with these new players so I have inputted all of their attributes:

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This pretty much confirms that the players are not really of a high standard as of now and there needs to be much work to improve them. However - it would appear that both Teles (a forward) and Pahiama (a winger) are better suited to central roles, according to this, and I must say that I agree. Carvalho initially would be a choice as a full back because I lack depth there but he's much more suited to a defensive midfielder according to my calculator - so he'll, for now, learn that role. Luis Franco is suited to an offensive midfielder but not that much better than defensive - so I will utilise his height (6') and train him more as a covering player.

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The Old Guard

The trio of Vagner Silveiro, Joao Santos and Jorge Dias have been with me since I first took over some eleven years back. They have played in the team that started in the third tier and all three have played in European competition for me. Joao Santos already moved on during the summer but I now look at the two remaining players and think that their time is soon up. Below are the comparisons in attributes since they generated:

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Both players are now listed as 2.5* CA with Silveiro 'decent' in this league and Dias good for the tier below but most alarmingly, Dias has played 469 minutes and Silveiro just 210 - not the numbers necessary for players who are in the first team. I am at a point whereby the young replacements are not quite up to scratch and the older players are not able to perform at this level.

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March 2030

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Still unable to keep a clean sheet at the moment - whether down to a screamer, through ball from inside our half or a cross, they are always finding a way to put it in the net, but we played really well. A good point against Sporting, considering that I had little in the way of actual chances as followed up with a great win on the road against Rio Ave. They have become somewhat of a force in the past few years and the nature of this win was a real point in our development. The derby of struggling Feirense was a great morale boosting victory and we backed that up with a solid away performance at another struggling side, Moreirense. 10 points gained as we are hot on the heals of Boavista. The recent drop in league stature means that only the top three get Champions League football which means we have at least another year to wait before that is a possibility.

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April 2030

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We started the month with a tactical victory over Varzim - who lined up with a 4222 box formation. Playing wider, emphasising overloads down the flanks and crossing from deeper areas, we caused absolutely havoc and could have had ten goals. Yet another silly loss of concentration means no clean sheet. Our trip to Boavista probably ended any chances of fourth place as we were beaten against the run of player. Relatively easy wins against Operario and Braga, where, again, we concede silly goals, ended the month. It is all to play for as we go into May.

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May 2030 (End of Season Review)

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A poor end to the season - following the draw against Benfica, we had little chance of toppling Boavista and, as such, fielded a far more rotated squad than normal. The two defeats haven't hugely cost us but it would have been nice to top off this season with a good finish. The final table is as seen below:

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The title moves away from Porto or Benfica for the first time since 2001 (Boavista won in 2000 and Sporting in 2001) as Sporting just about won the league. This gives me hope that there are these top three taking points from each other, and, although the gap is still quite large, it is reducing year on year. We seem to have quickly risen to the top of the 'others' category, as Braga, Guimaraes and Setubal seem to have fallen back from previous years. At the other end of the table, our rivals drop Feirense have dropped down and are replaced by two teams I have a soft spot for - Real and Sacavanense. Real followed our trajectory from the third tier and amazingly Sacavanense have secured their second straight league win so come into the top flight with a squad made up from pretty much entirely loanees and third tier level players. It'll be really hard for them to stay up but I will attempt to follow their exploits.

I have tried to rotate and give chances to as many youngsters as I can - here is the squad screen:

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Folha is clearly the standout here but as mentioned earlier - a rating of just 7.2 with that many goals shows that he either scores and rates highly or has an absolutely abysmal game. Loanee Medina, who will be turning his move permanent in the summer also got a load of minutes in a variety of roles. At the bottom, I am stuck with the issue I had mentioned previously - the old guard. Both Tavares and Monteiro have been with me for a long period of time and Laranjeira is now 23 but really don't have huge amounts of quality. With such restrictive transfer rules - it's hard for me to replace them. They will remain in the first team now but will find themselves being sold, like Silveiro and Dias, if their minutes/game doesn't improve.

I also spent some money:

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If we can recruit a few good players over the summer, then 4th place is definitely a target next year!

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2030/31 Transfer Dealings - Outgoings

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Firstly, Matias moves back to Argentina for a fee of just £100k. Whilst that is a profit following his bosman move, it does further bring into question why Operario payed £8m for him. I brought him in as a backup but he never did anything more than that, with nearly 90% of his appearances coming from the bench. He'll be solid back home but sadly never made the grade for me.

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305 appearances but no longer in my plans. Dias has been usurped by two younger players and, due to the very poor technical ability, doesn't suit my style at all but has been around for so long due to the attachment at being a one club servant. He's joined newly promoted Real where he'll get first team football. I wish him the best and he's certainly one of the players I'd look out for if and when he becomes a member of non-playing staff.

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Another one in the same boat and now three of the four original regens have left the club with only Monteiro left. He was restricted to just one start last season and, despite Folha being very good, never took his chance when used off the bench. As we've progressed tactically, he's become very one dimensional and wasn't useful at pressing high up the pitch. He's stayed in the top league but I do imagine his best days are behind him.

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Francisco is clearly highly rated - enough so that he's moved to the Premier League. West Ham did barely stay in the league and I see this move being a very tactical one, whereby they can use his pace to break quickly against bigger sides. He's very much a one trick pony and lacks the technical ability and work rate to really perform well in my system. He also was a model citizen and, due to him losing that tag, went down in my estimations. I got just about £800k for him - seems a good deal for both parties.

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Only a loan deal but Candeias is turning into a solid player. He's had two years at Gil Vicente in the tier below but I want to test him in the top league. He's got a lot to do to usurp Miranda and, with me not playing a keeper on the bench, won't see first team training with me - this deal is perfect to either make him or see his value rise enough to move him on.

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Sarabando, another experienced head, moves on following a summer signing that I've made. He's been in the first team since 16 and played over 200 games for the club but has found his own playing time limited due to the emergence of Nuno Lima at left back. He's a solid player but as soon as the bid from Real came in, he asked to move and I granted it.

Despite these wholesale changes, largely to experienced, team leaders, I feel that with the incomings and the current crop we already have, then there is a chance of us getting back into the fourth place berth that I feel is our ceiling for now.

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2030/31 Transfer Dealings - Incoming

I spent literally hours scouting around, using Google Maps to find towns and cities from the Centro Region, scouring through the reports my staff have made over the past few years (I'm still relying on scouts rather than player search feature and I only use the 'scouted players' drop down with the filters on). Although the pool is pretty small, I've rated players and am in the process of making shortlists and furthering my scouting approach, which will probably warrant a post of it's own. I also expanded the 'no place like home criteria' to include anybody born within the province of Buenos Aires, as opposed to just the city - I used the (BA) on their place of birth to identify that, which doesn't include all of them. 

Whilst we are in a solid position (around £25m in the bank) that has decreased significantly with ground and facility upgrades this summer and I am conscious of spending too much money. We were due another instalment of the Teles deal, £5m in August, and that was already earmarked for potential signings. During the looking at Portuguese cities, I came across a mistake I had made - using the term Mira on our filter. There are two towns on Mira in game, one in Italy and one in Portugal. The Portuguese one is called Mira (POR) and didn't show up on the 'City -> IS -> Mira.'  When I made that change, I found this lad, Francisco Ribeiro at Leiria, now in the 2nd tier. His is a phenomenal player and I quickly scouting him, with his value around £40k. This started a bidding war which Porto won for an eventual £5m. Whilst I was prepared to pay that, I do still want to focus on developing my own players.

Here are the players who I did manage to bring in:

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Following a successful loan spell last year, Adrian Medina signs on a Bosman deal. As mentioned, he performed really well in a number of roles for me last year and this deal was a no-brainer, despite him spending the season before on loan at Metz, not making an appearance in Ligue 2 - prompting me to have some worries about being able to settle. I'll use him in a variety of roles - a winger, attacking mid (playmaker or non-playmaker) or a central midfielder in a combative kind of role.

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Born 60km north of Aveiro and coming through local side Espinho, Ramos was on my radar but joined Maritimo two years back after making 50 appearances in the third tier. He hasn't set the world alight in the mid-table side but has developed his attributes somewhat. He has a great set of player traits for the role that I want and comes, unlike many other wingers, with the ability to work hard and run for days. Like Larranjeira, who I sold this summer, he does lack some technical attributes but I feel that he has much more about him than his predecessor. He came in on a Bosman and I'm happy with this bit of business.

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40 minutes north of Aveiro is where Ricardo Almeida hails from and joins from third tier Lusitania for £35k. He's got a good personality and his technical traits are in a reasonable position for his age. He's got some potential and I am interested in how he does develop.

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My record signing (not that this is much when the previous amount stood at £110k) and third Argentine import from the city of Buenos Aires in my career, Elias Quinteros. Found at second tier Huracan, he moves to Portugal for £240k. I think that this lad could be absolutely fantastic and this was the main reason why I allowed Sarabando to leave. Pretty well rounded and not weak going forward - he has the makings of a fantastic wing back and being two footed allows him to cover both full back berths, if necessary.

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Paulo arrives from second tier Estoril but was actually born just four miles away in Gafanha. He's hard working and that was the main thing that drew me to him - but his passing ability and relatively physical stature also impress me. He's a little older than I'd like, in order to be able to develop him properly, but at just £75k - it's a win-win situation for me.

 

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Diogo Vargas comes in from Leiria for just £10k. There is a lot of potential here I think.

 

I'll do a short run down of the first team shortly, but I feel that we are in a stronger position that this time last season.

 

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Temptation

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Must resist! Transfer regulations means I can't sign this Colombian lad who has near perfect attributes for the winger slot combined with the defensive ability to be a real threat in our pressing game. Not sure why I was alerted to him as my scouts are instructed to find Argentinians only - but now we must find the (Centro Region or Buenos Aires province born) version of him!

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Clearing my head

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We won and it didn't really matter, but I have found out, potentially, something that could be a very big thing for us, tactically. I have forever been in the boat of 'let assistant give out opposition instructions' which is great, but could be causing some issues. Look at the two goals we conceded:

Goal 1:

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We already employ a pressing game, but their right winger (#7) is instructed to be closed down always - there are four men in close proximity to him and a fifth (my centre back, #52) is even slightly interested. A simple ball over the top to their #10, now in yards of space, leads to a simple tap in.

Goal 2:

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We gave the ball away cheaply but, again, their number nine is to be aggressively pressed so now all of my players (including my two centre backs) are running over to him, leaving a simple ball to the number 10, who once again finishes.

Remedy

I took off all opposition instructions, something that I have seen in a lot of downloadable tactics - I can't say I've used any of them but they do seem to shy away from them. It would, to me, appear that we would now focus on our style of play, rather than accommodating theirs. The only results I have so far is that we conceded 2 in 18 minutes using them, and none in 72 minutes when not using them. I  don't think this is a 'never use OIs again' but certainly will be something that I look to use on standout players rather than the whole team set by an assistant who doesn't really have the same playing style as my own. 

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July and August 2030

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Finishing fifth meant that we've had to make our way through a few earlier rounds of the Europa League, which we have done with relative ease. It took a few games to get back into shape, a poor performance over Grindavik at home meant that I couldn't rotate as much as I wanted for the away leg. We spent the majority of the week between fixtures preparing for the Zurich game, putting extra effort into our attacking play. Somehow, we had 40 shots, 22 of which were on target but only found the net twice away from home. Zurich came to Portugal playing a narrow 4222 box and we played them off the park - exploiting the space with all three goals from deep-ish crosses by full backs. The game against Moreirense, as discussed above, was a watershed - two stupid goals conceded, the tale of our last season before a good, if unspectacular triple header. We did concede against Mattersburg from a 30 year screamer but, initially, the OIs seem to have solidified my defensive play slightly.

In other news - I feel that we can make a good run at the U23 league this year, normally dominated by Sporting. We have started well:

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September 2030

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A slow start to the month where an 88th minute goal inflicted our first defeat of the season, away at Guimaraes. The game was even and a draw was probably a fair result, so I'm a little disappointed with this. When we failed to put anything past Portimonense, barely threatening their goal, I did worry that this may be the start of an impotent run and our early season excitement was a little short lived. However, three home times in eight days, all against winnable opposition has provided ten scored and none conceded. We kicked off with a good win over Kazakh champions Shakhter Karagandy - the weakest team in our Europa League group which contains Stuttgart and Genk. The winner of the group will largely come down to which side out of ourselves and the German sixth place finisher can do best on the road. We then got revenge against Portimonense, playing them off the park but somehow only scoring twice. I felt that our play over the past two months really deserved more - we'd not finished off a team properly and I was delighted that this changed against Aves. Now-wonderkid Leonardo Ramos pulled the strings and got himself on the scoresheet, along with Bolas returning from a ten month injury. The only question was how it took so long to open the scoring.

Elsewhere in the league, Sacavenense are clearly finding it too easy - two successive promotions and a team now full of freebie aging Portuguese players, yet they've taken a dream ten points from their first six games. At the other end, perennial big dogs Boavista are on two points but I'm sure they'll improve. Next month sees two Europa League games and two cup ties - so plenty of chance for rotation, especially considering Folha and Medina are potentially missing the whole month due to injuries.

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October 2030

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With games coming thick and fast - we are doing really well in the league as we have, historically picked up as the season goes on. We are behind three familiar foe though - and Porto, now under Thomas Tuchel, look even better than two years ago, when they last won the league. It is good to see Sacavanense continuing their good start - although I can only imagine it'll fall apart soon, given their squad. The fact that we played our affiliate and one of the highest rated clubs in the region (except for Leiria, who have now been named as another affiliate of ours) and beat then with a second string shows the weakness of the local area. A rare league concession from a(nother) screamer against Setubal but decent progress elsewhere. The Nacional game saw me throw away my lovely footballing approach, sticking my centre back up top as a target man and pumping the ball into him with a flat 4-4-2 - it didn't work.

Another busy month lies ahead as we look to cement our place in the knockout phases of two cups.

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November 2030

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A nearly perfect month sees us stretch our unbeaten streak back to the Stuttgart defeat at the start of October. We are still not really in full stride but performing well enough to secure the points. We threw away a two goal lead over Chaves thanks to yet another screamer and yet another cross. December is a busy month with eight fixtures to contend with but, if Benfica and ourselves win our games in hand, a gap is appearing and we are on the right side of it.

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December 2030

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In the previous months I have mentioned that we haven't quite got into top gear - well this month would indicate that I've gone back a few gears. Torn apart and 3-0 down against Braga inside 19 minutes, we were lucky to get to half time at just three down. The 'won' the second half but really have no Plan B and that was, again, evident against Rio Ave. Those awful performances sandwiched our best performance and result to date, a comfortable win over Benfica. A draw against Stuttgart sees us go through, in second place, and rewards us with a tie against Lazio. We're through the Taca de Liga group phase and still going in the Taca de Portugal - a cup run (or two) is high on my agenda this year, especially as league success is seemingly so far away.

We have got quite a few injury problems at the moment and the match fatigue is really taking its toll. Hopefully January will allow us to return to our normal swagger and we can start putting these games to bed again.

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January 2031

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What a terrible set of fixtures, just what wasn't needed after the hectic December. The semi final victory over Sporting gave us a hastily re-arranged final against Benfica and we cruised into a 3-0 lead before pretty much falling apart. We held on as I win the trophy for a second time as manager. This doesn't give automatic entry to Europe but I hope we can solidify that due to our league position. Defeat against Rio Ave was poor as we failed to learn our lessons from last time - balls into their striker and he can finish from wherever. We are clearly off the pace in the league and now our Plan A isn't working as expected - with players only in good spirits due to the cup win and largely out of form.

Elsewhere in the league, Sacavanense have won just once since the start of October as they have now well and truly found the level of this league - they lurk in the lower half but aren't currently at threat of the relegation places, filled by Varzim and Cova, who are 5 points off the pace now.

I have attempted to add a little more to Andre Folha's game by changing him from a CF(A) to a PF(A) - to aid our first line of defence. I couldn't change the closing down on a complete forward to anything other than standard so moved to a pressing forward to make this urgent. I have then added the 'take more risks' and 'dribble more' to his PI but left off 'roam from position,' for now. This has coincided with our poor run but I am seeing some improvements in his play - his season stats stand at 100% tackle completed and 0.26 interceptions a game - this is significantly down on the ~1.0p/game for the attacking midfield strata but I will work on that.

Next month appears much friendlier as I face Real (16th), Morierense (15th) as well as Portimonense and Guimaraes but I do have two ties against Lazio also.

Transfers

Transfer windows normally mean that I am spending my time fending off interest from other clubs - that has been no different this year. I have added one new face, Diogo Marques:

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Born 28km away in Murtosa, the Guimaraes wing back hasn't really had the impact I would expect with a man of the attributes he has, playing only six times for their B side. Whilst £150k doesn't seem much money, something about the deal doesn't really add up - he was valued at a lowly £3k and his contract was not expiring yet they want a significant mark up on his value but have not played him. Tiago Ricardo is my first choice full back, but at 5'3" and a header win percentage of just 42% - I wanted to ensure I had another, taller, option. Marques appears to have potential and should get a bit of football this season.

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SC Beira-Mar, once home of Stephen McPhee.

You're doing well so far. Keep it up.

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I hadn't seen this thread until now, great stuff. My own FMCU mirrors a lot of the local stuff but not sure I have the patience or the will to do spreadsheets :brock:

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9 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

SC Beira-Mar, once home of Stephen McPhee.

You're doing well so far. Keep it up.

Some obscure player knowledge that! I do remember McPhee at Hull and Blackpool but reading his Wiki page is confusing me - apparently he was signed by St Mirren in 2001 when they failed in their bid for someone called Ronaldinho (this was pre moving to PSG). 

Thanks for the kind words - I've definitely got some ideas for things from your Italian save and now your RKC save this year.

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7 hours ago, Fosse said:

I hadn't seen this thread until now, great stuff. My own FMCU mirrors a lot of the local stuff but not sure I have the patience or the will to do spreadsheets :brock:

I was about to comment on your thread actually, it's a great idea and I image much harder for an 'already big club' - I've done enough with Beira Mar that I can finish mid table for 10 years and probably keep my job, but you wont!

The spreadsheets are just an added extra - putting my thinking down on paper really, nothing too strenuous!

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Locally Sourced

I have put a lot of emphasis on the home-grown talent in this save and I feel that it is paying off. Whilst I currently have two players from Buenos Aires, the rest of the squad is completely Portuguese born - the only regen I have had born from outside of the country is Teles, and he is no longer at the club. What is more interesting though, to me, is the link to the location of these player's births. I have only ever been able to reach average youth recruitment (for some reason) but this has been increased in the past few years to that level. I have collated all of the places of births of the players in my team, as seen below:

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It is worth noting that the regens who come from further afield, Vila Real, Massama and  Caldas da Rainha, are all younger and are products of our better recruitment. I see (not reflected in the game but my own vision) of us, with not the best recruitment but amazing facilities for our own area - producing players born really close to the city of Aveiro.

The furthest afield that I have signed a player from is Alcobaca, nearly 100 miles away but I have also signed a few from Leiria as well as the odd ones from Murtosa, Mira, Sever do Vouga and Coimbra.

It will be interesting to return to this if/when we reach the pinnacle of world football!

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February 2031

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We have managed to escape another hell-like month unscathed and in the 2nd knockout round of the Europa League, just. We kicked off the month with a morale boosting victory, which saw Andre Folha find his scoring shoes again but then completely ballsed it up against Real, struggling to a draw. My scouts gave me information that Lazio would be playing a 4-3-1-2 narrow formation, manager Marco Gianpaolo's go-to attacking shape. I spent the week preparing for a central onslaught, not worrying about the fitness, height or form of my wider players, merely working out how to approach that. Sadly, when the game started - they played a 4-2-3-1 with a lot of width and just did us every time they moved the ball wide. At 3-0 down, we were facing an early exit, but 4 unanswered goals gave us a fantastic comeback and a hope for our trip to Rome. A routine win over Guimaraes preceded a defensive masterclass the Italians would be proud of - 10 men behind the ball and snuffing out all of the chances. We conceded two goals against Portimonense through our favourite methods - a long ball over the top and a cross (no wonder goal this time) but held on to win.

We're probably too far away from 2nd and 3rd here although we do play Sporting again this season, but our target is to win the game against Rio Ave (we are 0-2 against them this season) and solidify our chances of a fourth placed finish.

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Youth Intake 2031

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Whilst I wanted a youth intake with depth, this provides me with one absolutely fantastic player, Guilherme Marques. He, already, is rated as an absolutely fantastic central defender or defensive midfielder. Elsewhere in the intake, Andre Marcos has decent attributes for a centre half and Rocha has good striker attributes.

Guilherme Marques - has the necessary height to become a centre back, despite possibly being higher rated as a defensive midfielder, maybe in the CM(d) role. He's right footed, an area in which I have Sergio Pereira, who hasn't progressed much at all, but is good enough to play out of the defence.

Hugo Rocha - Not as quick as my other strikers but does work hard and can finish. I'll be interested to see how well he can develop.

Andre Marcos - A little small but doesn't have any gaps, yet isn't great across the board.

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A drab affair, which probably shows the overall lack of quality within my youth teams at the moment. Marques was fantastic, eight interceptions, six of eight headers won and 38 of his 46 passes completed as he stood out in an unremarkable game. Huga Rocha got himself into a few good positions but skewed his only shot wide.

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March 2031

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Fantastic progress in Europe as we comfortably beat Salzburg, who were probably the weakest team left. We are rewarded with a tie against Chelsea, currently seventh in the Premier League but bound to give us our sternest test yet. We lost, as expected to Porto but then decided to not turn up against Nacional - losing a chance to put some distance between ourselves and Rio Ave, who had earlier lost to Benfica. 

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April 2031

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The European dream is over but we secure qualification for next season and look to wrap up our equal best finish as well as needing five points from our last four games to secure our record points haul. However, I am aware that we are very dependent on Andre Folha, 34 goals this season and 104 in 176 career games to date and that other players simply aren't performing well enough. I am more than considering making changes to the recruitment policy over the summer, making these 'priorities' rather than 'musts' so that I can embrace the true real life approach Portuguese clubs take. This is season number six in the top flight and, although the gap is closing and we are making European progress, we need to accelerate that.

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May 2031

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Seven points this month was my target and we have achieved that - comfortably finishing fourth and scoring three more points than ever before. 

The top of the table produced a fantastic end of the season - with none of the clubs looking like they wanted to win it. I thought Porto had thrown it away, losing 1-0 at home to Setubal, giving both Sporting and Benfica a one point lead at the top, with Benfica leading the head to head due to a win earlier in the season. Then Benfica went to Sporting and drew 0-0, keeping the head to head record and extending their lead over Porto to 2 points, although having played a game more. Porto then, once again, took control with a fortunate 1-0 victory over Chaves, moving Thomas Tuchel's side back to the top of the league - a position they have only not been for three games since the eighth round of fixtures. The last day of the season saw Sporting beat us, Benfica draw at title-ruiners Setubal and Porto win, thanks to the 11th (!!!) penalty of the season from Josh Tymon, who at one point was the league's leading scorer.

I am planning a large scale review of the playing squad over the close season, but here are the statistics for my squad from this season:

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A huge amount of football played here and this highlights the lack of appropriate depth we have within the squad. Standout performers are Folha; who, once again, has shown that he can mix it with the best in the league, Bento Raposo; who has come of age and led the team from the centre of defence and new signing Elias Quinteros, who has become a wonderkid following a really good debut season in Portugal.

I will be looking in depth at the performances of these players and then decide how I want to approach my summer business.

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 1 - Deciding an Approach

The first of many 'get my thoughts into text' posts for this summer. I want to reshape the squad in order to make us more competitive in the long run. Whilst this might seem to be 'giving up' firstly on the youth only approach, secondly on the 'cantera' style policy and thirdly on the 'same city as manager' approach, I don't think that it is. We have hit a glass ceiling somewhat - my last couple of youth intakes have been poor, there is a very small pool of talented Portuguese players and the Argentinians are too costly for a team that makes no money and really only survives on transfer income. I plan to play this save for the majority/all of FM19 and, if I did stick to the youth only approach, would probably be able to find success in the long term - and I do have lofty ambitions for not only this club, but the league and then other clubs in the local area - of which could take upwards of another thirty years, anyway. On the flip side, I don't see for one minute that a summer of recruiting players from elsewhere will immediately see us take the league, and Europe, by storm, 'completing' my goals.

Therefore I am now proposing my new approach to transfers. One thing of note is that I did not include attribute masking, simply because I intended for this save to be a youth only few season introduction on the Beta, not this time-consuming monster it has now become!

1. Players from the youth academy, the Centro Region and Buenos Aires are priorities still but I am now able to sign players from wherever I want to in the world - giving me new impetus to build a scouting and recruitment team as well as having all of the other club-focused things to focus on. In addition to this - I will not be signing players 'just because' when I have adequate cover in my own team or the intended incoming player will not be significantly better than what I already have or have potential either to a) make the first team squad or b) become a sellable asset.

2. Players will only be signed when I have got a full scouting report (to offset the lack of masked attributes) and ideally when I have watched them in action myself. This will mean that the signings are well thought out and are really geared to improve my club. I will utilise scouting shortlists to create a database of players who I am interested in signing.

3. The squad DNA will be a key part of identifying new signings and scout reports will be filtered by some/all of these attributes.

4. Players can be signed in the buy-to-sell approach, which has been utilised heavily by Portuguese clubs in real life and in this game. I will look for players in otherwise unfashionable countries who can be signed for cheap who have sell on value, but they still must fit in with my tactical approach (e.g. no lazy forward players who cannot press). All sales will look to include percentage of future fees as we just about make enough money through gate receipts and prize money to cover the wage bill and outstanding loans.

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Summer Transfer Dealings - Part 2: Working out a budget

With £25m in the accounts, a £10m loss over the season - of which £9.75m of that is from expansion to the youth and training facilities, we have a decent amount of money in the coffers. The current wage bill stands at just about £6.2m per year and we will pay back around £5m in two loans but this £11m is offset  from a total of about £7m in TV money (which has a year left to run on it's current deal),  £7m in sponsorship and £7m in season ticket sales and gate receipts - although we will be moving back into our newly-expanded ground which has a slightly smaller capacity than the one we have used this season.

This basic information tells me that we do have some wage bill spare and, with £10m earned this season in prize money from the Europa League - can afford to stretch our wage budget to almost £200k p/w - which works out as £9.6m a year - about a third more than we currently spend. That frees up £80k p/w in wages for any new signings and renewing contracts, although there are only two first teamer players with 12 months left on their deals.

In terms of transfer funds - the board have given me £24m (this figure has been pulled from somewhere but I've no idea!) however - a realistic approach will see me receive the last £5m from the Teles deal and another £7m from a pre-arranged transfer (more on that later) so I think £12m is a good target to aim for. That £12m outlay, plus £9.6m in wages as well as other outgoings will see us need to turn over about £25m in incomings to see stand still. Obviously, with wholesale changes incoming, there will be some extra outgoings to balance the books and the buy-to-sell approach should be able to assist with this, albeit in a few years.

I know that I could have worked out a 'real wage budget' and have done this several times before but with a 'new' stadium, a changeable TV deal, a good run in Europe that cannot be guaranteed and the possibility of quite a lot of sales this year - I went for this slightly less scientific approach.

Wages available: £80k p/w

Transfer budget: £12m

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 3a - Analysing the current squad (Defensive Players)

I want to look at the players currently in my first team and decide whether they 'deserve' to remain here or not for next season.

Goalkeepers

Paulo Miranda

I like Paulo and he's played over 240 games for us already and I've been quite critical of the defence this season and have completely overseen something that may be party to blame. Paulo is 5'10" and does not command his area too well. We have conceded 27 goals from placed shots this season, and one would presume that these are in the corners of the net - where a smaller goalkeeper cannot reach. Likewise, 14 of our goals, more than another type - have come from crosses. Whilst he is good at handling, his reflexes aren't great for this level and at 32% pass completion, his ability to be a sweeper keeper is really not good. I already have a pre-arranged transfer of an 18 year old goalkeeper and I am very tempted to throw him into the team at the expense of Miranda.

Probability of sale: Quite high

Right Backs

Tiago RicardoDiogo Marques

A strong area of the team that I don't think needs any changes. Whilst Ricardo is tiny and does put us into jeopardy with defensive crosses - he is well rounded and good going forward. With both of these in rotation, I know I can play Marques against teams who are likely to play the ball wider or have a taller left winger. Maybe with a slightly more commanding goal keeper, these errors will be less obvious.

Probability of sales: Very low.

Left Backs

Elias QuinterosNuno Lima

Quinteros has been a revelation since signing and has settled in really well. With him only being here a year, nobody has been able to turn his head yet, but I do foresee this happening at some point. On the other hand, Lima has been poor and not developed well. He became an emergency centre back in a time of need but has now kicked up a fuss twice about not being able to leave. I must remember that we are currently not even the biggest team in a league that is rated well below the big-5 and must expect players to want to leave for the likes of Torino, Hannover and Nantes - despite us outperforming them in Europe.

Probability of sales: Lima will be out the door if I can find a backup. I no longer need a two footed player to cover both flanks since I signed Marques.

Centre Backs

Bento RaposoGabriel MendoncaSergio Pereira.

None of these players can head, and this is probably causing me an issue but out of these lot, Raposo has impressed me the most. Mendonca is looking solid, but his heading has never improved, despite this being a weekly feature in training and Pereira has shown no improvements from the age of 17. I am losing 33 year old Joao Silva on a free transfer so I am short of a centre back anyway, at least until Guilherme Marques is ready but I do like the idea of two left footers and two right - meaning I need a short term right sided player and a left sided to replace Pereira.

Probability of sales: Plenty of interest in Pereira, so he'll go if I can find a replacement.

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 3b - Analysing the current squad (midfield players)

Supporting Midfielders

Sergio TavaresFrancisco BolasPaulo LaranjoAntonio Vieira

I have excluded Adrian Medina from this as he's already been sold. Three times he kicked up a fuss about wanting to leave when I rejected bids - noticing his personality of F.Determined and Outspoken media handling tells me he lacks professionalism. He had several players in agreement so I cut my losses and pre-arranged a £7m deal for his to move back to Argentina with Estudiantes, importantly with a 50% of next sale clause. That is market value but an overall cost of around £500k (free transfer plus a year of wages and bonuses) sees us cut a decent profit here. The remainder of the midfield is settled, if not spectacular. Tavares is the weakest and, should I have the budget left, may look to upgrade him. Other than that, I am fairly happy.

Probability of sales: Big one already made, any further is dependent on remaining budget.

Attacking Midfielders

Andre GuilhermeClaudio Magalhaes.

Guilherme is fast becoming my favourite player has developed so well, largely due to his personality. He's not too highly rated by my coaches yet but scored twice and assisted 7 times in the league this season - I would expect those numbers to continue to grow over the next few years. Magalhaes is good at what he does but I would love a better passer in that area, although I am aware that this could very much limit the game time Andre gets.

Probability of sales: If I can find an amazing AMC for cheap, Magalhaes could be out.

 

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 3c - Analysing the current squad (attacking players)

Wingers

Leonardo RamosVitor PereiraCarlos Monteiro

A weak area of the squad, to be fair. Ramos has settled in really well and has had a good first season at the club, performing the W(s) role. Despite now becoming a wonderkid, I haven't been overly impressed with Pereira - I would expect more than a goal every four games for a player who, despite being an IF(a) will play on the last defender. I need to look, in depth, at how his role works and see whether he is unsuitable or whether I am expecting too much in the final third. Monteiro is the last remaining original player and does provide some decent cover but is really not good enough and is declining.

Probability of sale: A winger would be my top priority here, but ideally one that could play on both sides would be even better. I do have a young winger who is a year or two away from possibly making the step up - this will need to be taken into account.

Strikers

Andre FolhaJoao Louro

Folha is immense and Louro has just become a wonderkid himself, however, with only one season in the third tier - I do worry that he's not going to be cut out for those tough European trips and games against the big three.

Probability of sale: Probably not unless I can bring in a proven player on loan or for a cheap year or so.

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 4 - A shopping List

Working with the initial budgets I set, I can now start to create a more realistic figure.

Wages available: £80k p/w

Transfer budget: £12m

 

Potential outgoings:

Paulo Miranda: fee ~£8m wages saved - £8k p/w

Nuno Lima: fee ~£1m wages saved - £3k p/w

Serigo Periera: fee ~£1m wages saved - £1k p/w

Carlos Monteiro: fee ~£500k wages saved £4.5k p/w

Giving me new budgets of £22.5m and £96k p/w available for wages.

 

 

Shopping List (in order of priority)

1. A tall, right footed centre back in his prime (only needed until Marques can be ready) but will be useful for mentoring.

2. A left footed centre back (can either be a ball player to rotate with Raposo now or more traditional centre back to be used alongside Marques in future). 

3. A winger, but preferably one who can play on both sides - right footed, but also has a history of good goalscoring. He can be in his prime and maybe on loan.

4. A backup left back, able to get forward but mainly solid defensively. 

5. A proven goalscoring forward, maybe in or past his peak that can allow Folha some time off when needed.

6. A defensive midfielder capable of regaining possession and passing the ball on, probably laterally. He can be experienced but must be an improvement on Tavares.

 

This will then be in addition to any sell-to-buy young players I can uncover.

 

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 5 - Sealing the outgoings

Going into the summer break with confidence that I could make these new acquisitions, I decided that I'd sell the players first to ensure that I had enough in the wage budget and transfer kitty. Here are the following outgoings:

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I got the expected amounts for the players I wanted to move on and  am now faced with a dilemma, as Sergio Tavares is asking for a new challenge - one I am possibly happy to grant. Carlos Montiero is currently in talks with Boavista over a £500k deal which will finish my outgoings. That leaves my first team looking like this (excluding Tavares):

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I've got a handful of targets that I am working on - largely due to the couple of years I've had scouts out in Europe (to look for Centro born players) and in South America (looking for Buenos Aires born players) - so removing the filters has opened up a whole world of talent!

 

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 6 - Incoming

The first player wasn't part of my shopping list as I'd already agreed to sign him. Armando Braz signs on a free transfer from third tier Chaves Satellite.

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I was utterly shocked at seeing a keeper of this quality in that tier of football - but I know Portugal has the potential to spring up these kind of players. I have made a big on this - replacing my veteran of several top flight years with an unknown 18 year old, but his attributes are, to me, just begging for me to give him that chance. Braz had played two full seasons in the third tier, 61 times in total, keeping 24 clean sheets and earning five player of the match awards - a great feat for a young keeper.

This comparison made my mind up:

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The big thing is that he is significantly taller than Miranda and much better in the air, he does give up a little bit of speed, which will be handing coming out to get the ball as a sweeper keeper but I believe he has significant potential left in him.

I could see this lad being the number one here for another twenty years.

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 6 - Incomings

The top of my list of priorities was a right footed defender, but I wasn't concerned about age as I potentially have a youngster who could be ready for first team in action in a matter of years. What I have found is a player who, despite being 21, could go on to be either a good first team player or potentially be a very sellable asset.

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This was an easy one - removing the filters from my South American scout uncovered this Lima born lad playing at Sporting Cristal. With six months left on his deal, Avalos appeared towards the bottom of the list of over 100 players that'd been found. Rather than wait until his contract was up, I managed to negotiate a £150k fee with the club and brought him in. My scouts were impressed at his personality and ability to settle in a new country and couldn't find any issues with his injuries or consistency. I plan to initially partner him with Raposo but could see him become a target for bigger club, especially if he makes his way back into the Peru setup.

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 6 - Incomings

If Avalos came easy, then props to my scout who has been scouring the Brazilian Serie A for the past two months and props to me for accidentally pressing the wrong button after reading the Nicolas Zarate scout report - pressing the upwards button rather than the backwards button. This led me to the profile of youngster Xuxa and the rest is history.

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Valued at a small figure, around £6k if I remember correctly), I liked the look of his attributes so decided to watch the next Atletico Mineiro U20 game, whereby I thought he'd be featuring. He didn't, but I did make use of 'my trip' - watching him play 90 minutes against Cruzeiro in his 9th appearance for the club. He got an assist and looked assured at full back (since his signing, it has been confirmed that he played as a CWB). However- the best news is below:

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A stupidly low foreign club release clause (that I am now exploring myself across the league) means that he cam for just £41k. An absolute bargain.

Whilst he is perfect for a backup role at left back, maybe even pushing for a starting role (this was not needed but impossible to turn down) but I see potential as a central midfielder on defend duty. He is lacking some positioning but teamwork, tackling and passing are really good and he's pretty big - but hopefully will continue to grow into his frame.

I hope that I don't lose him in the same manner that I have purchased him.

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Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 6 - Incomings

I am beginning to realise that I can't suddenly turn a club with no scouting knowledge into a worldwide force - picking up players at ease and that I am also not quite of the size I thought I was - being priced out of many a contract for experienced players. I have added my left footed centre back:

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He's 'ok' but there has literally been very little else available within the price range - considering that I have only budgeted £80k p/w for in wages for all of my signings and therefore cannot spend £50k p/w on just one rotation centre back. Hernan is another try-before-I-buy type of player as his contract is up next summer. If nothing else, we've added some height to our defence this summer. He is also from Buenos Aires, which is a bonus.

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Posted (edited)

Summer Transfer Dealings: Part 6 - Incomings

Two deals in one post here as I've added some experience to what is a very young side. I have made a decision to allow Joao Louro to spend the season on loan at Fiorentina - they have fallen away somewhat and are predicted 14th but he will be first choice at a big side in Serie A. That gives me a year to replace him and I think I've found a good choice for that. I have also 'replaced' Monteiro with a player who should be able to do a job for a year on loan before I re-assess youngster Tinoco.

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Gabriel Jesus has been there and done it all - a £64m signing for Real Madrid in 2023 - he's just about got some legs left in him. He has already announced his retirement at the end of the season (and is a really poor DoF) so he'll hopefully have a swansong to end it all. Will almost entirely be used off the bench in the last twenty minutes of the first half of easier ties before his legs go. Cannot doubt his quality when on the ball though. Jota signs on loan from Tottenham and we are paying just 10% of his wages, but he adds some experience in a tough role to recruit. Being able to find someone who cuts inside from the left and runs down the right is fantastic (I didn't specifically want these but all the other options had one or the other). He too will add some depth but will be used a bit more often than Jesus as he's a bit more physically able.

That leaves our shopping list looking like this:

Shopping List (in order of priority)

1. A tall, right footed centre back in his prime (only needed until Marques can be ready) but will be useful for mentoring.

2. A left footed centre back (can either be a ball player to rotate with Raposo now or more traditional centre back to be used alongside Marques in future). 

3. A winger, but preferably one who can play on both sides - right footed, but also has a history of good goalscoring. He can be in his prime and maybe on loan.

4. A backup left back, able to get forward but mainly solid defensively. 

5. A proven goalscoring forward, maybe in or past his peak that can allow Folha some time off when needed.

6. A defensive midfielder capable of regaining possession and passing the ball on, probably laterally. He can be experienced but must be an improvement on Tavares.

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Whilst not each of those is a perfect match - Avalos is a lot younger than I initially wanted, Jota hasn't got the greatest scoring record and Xuxa is essentially number 4 and number 6 on that list - I feel like I have done a pretty solid job in this window. I don't intend to make any other deals unless my hand is forced but I have definitely learnt that you cannot just rock up to a window with an ideal goal and get exactly what you want. This has largely been the reason for the small fees - just £190k on transfers and £28k p/w on wages is a fraction of what I had budgeted but I expect to see records falling in the next few years as my infrastructure is fully set up.

It's been a fun summer!

Edited by _Ben_

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Really enjoying this save still. Be interesting to see if your new transfer policies will help you push towards those CL places.

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August 2031

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The season kicked off with a tie against Nacional - who lined up in the Chelsea-esque 3-4-3 with four players across the defensive midfield strata, two wingers and a striker. My initial go to was to ask Guilhereme, the AP(s) in the AMC role to drop back to an AP(a) in the midfield strata so I played a combo of CM(d), AP(a) and BBM(s). We then played out of defence (four defenders should be able to play through three attacking players) and played through the middle of the park, where there was a gaping chasm left by the Nacional midfield. That allow plays like this to happen (our midfield trio are 7,38 and 44) where we get comfortable with possession, move forward, bring the wide players in and score from a whipped cross. The clean sheet was ruined by a freak goal in what definitely looked like a cross; goalkeeper Braz certainly not to blame. However, he was at fault for Nacional's second - a forty yard shot that lobbed a 6'7" keeper!

A hatrick of screamers from Bolas was enough to see of Guimaraes but we are still susceptible on the break and conceded from a cross in which 5'3" full back Ricardo just cannot deal with. I put a couple of defending sessions in the following week - aerial and wide, to try and get some practice in these situations.

We faced Sporting in a very different manner to previous years - I wanted to make sure that I didn't give any points away, so went very defensive. We successfully killed the game off and left with a point. My thinking is that, to keep touch with them, I don't want to give them a head start. 1 from 6 completed!

The month finished with a draw away at Boavista. More promising play but, as always, Folha has started the season slowly.

We also had our Europa League draw - not the easiest group and a trip to Moscow is always hard on the legs, but I am confident:

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Succession Planning and Delegation

As I move forward with the 'relaxed' transfer regulations and, after a quiet summer, the need to make sure I am successful in my transfer dealings going forward. Firstly, I have built a squad depth chart with all of my players on - the initial outlay of time will be reduced somewhat now it just needs editing.

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Red indicates a player is out on loan, whilst blue indicates an incoming loan. I have kept the * to demarcate a player I have picked out from my own intake who is yet to make the first team yet. Following on from this, I have created a very simple SWOT analysis that may help me move forward with the scouting and recruitment process.

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I have kept it simple for now - only a couple in each box. It all should be pretty self explanatory but it tells me that I really need to prioritise a new winger and a left footed centre back (remembering that Regner could be signed) for the future. If my loanees develop, particularly Louro, Tinoco and Almeida, then I will have covered some areas, along with Diogo Vargas developing my U23 team. The threats are if my best players leave - Gabriel Jesus is not old enough to run the attack himself if Folha leaves and Xuxa is too inexperienced with Almeida on loan, should Quinteros leave. This means I need to have a couple of players identified to fill these gaps, just in case.

How I will do that? Meet this man:

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I have never really 'used' a DoF before - merely had one just to renew contracts of staff. But I now plan to fully utilise his attributes (of which I have no idea what is important for buying players).

I am going to do a full post about how I will set my scouts up and who they are going to be looking for. But when I've found a target, such as the aforementioned winger I am in the market for - I will had it all over to Angel - see the example below:

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I have managed to keep a really tight grip over wages and running this club as a business - but now, with the added outgoings from this season, a 30k seater stadium and European football to supplement my income, I want to hand this over to Angel to run. This is how I shall attempt this:

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I've left the signings to myself - this is to stop Di Maria from coming up with his own targets but I will use the aforementioned process to hand over the bidding process to him. He will then negotiate the wages before I run the rule over confirming the signing or not - depending on the stupidity of the wage he offers!

I may come to completely regret this in future but I feel that it's worth a chance to further change up this game.

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Great progress. Loving the details. Keep up the good work

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I've thought about doing a SWOT analysis before too haha, one of my favourite ever threads on here - keep it up!

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September 2031

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To be honest, I'm getting pretty sick of conceding the same goal over and over again. We press the wings and bring the player inside, who then passes to his team mate and unleashes a 30+ yard strike into the corner of the net. That, or he manages to get a cross in and, as soon as a ball is pinged into the box, every attacker finds some space to put it in the net. We play a defender on cover to stop the balls over the top, which we conceded a goal a game from in the past, and now we have no presence between the lines. At the other end, we are averaging about 700 shots per game, all from stupid areas - teams have now seen that we are 'good' and are sitting back. This would largely explain why Andre Folha has had such a poor return.

Realistically, we should have won every game this month and we should do the same next month - our fixtures have been very kind to us and, if we want to break into the top three, cannot afford to drop silly points and concede silly goals like this. We need to have pretty much perfection against the other 14 teams.

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19 hours ago, kidthekid said:

Great progress. Loving the details. Keep up the good work

 

16 hours ago, Fosse said:

I've thought about doing a SWOT analysis before too haha, one of my favourite ever threads on here - keep it up!

 

Thanks both! Really enjoying this save. Progress will likely slow down a bit lately as work restarts tomorrow but I still should get through a season every week or so!

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October 2031

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Marginal gains. Small steps. Tactical tweaks. Not a clean sheet since the 23rd August but we are doing this a little bit better. 

Firstly, I have changed our defensive width to 'wider' this will mean that we will engage the wingers closer to the touchline. I have also set all wide players to be shown on to their weaker foot through OIs - this should mean that we get to them and move them inside (this gets tweaked when it's apparent I'm playing against an IF) - to hopefully stop the crosses coming in. I'm unsure of the results, as of yet, but giving it a go. It definitely is now leading a new problem of conceding wonder goals each game, My next focus is to ensure that the central area of our defensive third is well manned and we are letting as few shots on target as possible.

Offensively, I've also found what is maybe a glitch in the ME - we've set up long throws but both of my full backs are quite poor at them so the ball just seems to get chucked into the 'come short' option who is completely unmarked and can whip in a cross. I will continue to analyse and see if it is a bug (maybe they've analysed our 'data' and it says long throws so they crowd the penalty area) and if so, will re-think the plans.

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7 hours ago, _Ben_ said:

 

To be honest, I'm getting pretty sick of conceding the same goal over and over again. We press the wings and bring the player inside, who then passes to his team mate and unleashes a 30+ yard strike into the corner of the net. That, or he manages to get a cross in and, as soon as a ball is pinged into the box, every attacker finds some space to put it in the net. We play a defender on cover to stop the balls over the top, which we conceded a goal a game from in the past, and now we have no presence between the lines. At the other end, we are averaging about 700 shots per game, all from stupid areas - teams have now seen that we are 'good' and are sitting back. This would largely explain why Andre Folha has had such a poor return.

Realistically, we should have won every game this month and we should do the same next month - our fixtures have been very kind to us and, if we want to break into the top three, cannot afford to drop silly points and concede silly goals like this. We need to have pretty much perfection against the other 14 teams.

https://community.sigames.com/topic/462364-long-shots/

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November 2031

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We are getting much better - even a rare clean sheet! We seem to be finding our feet going forward and, on the whole, look better at the back. The defeat against Leipzig is annoying but doesn't really make any difference as we have already qualified after five games with just one left against Rijeka. The top of the table is a bit strange at the moment with Setubal and Rio Ave enjoying great starts to the season. We play Rio Ave next.

 

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Beating the big clubs - Transfer 'sensibility'

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Mendoza has been on my radar for a few years, and the half-Mexican, from the Rio Ave academy has always performed well against me, on both flanks. He was valued at £3.5m when I looked and I was quoted upwards of £10m for the lad. He wasn't on any shortlists as I looked at him during the time I was only signing Centro Region players and he was born outside of that area, but still in the country. The succession plan identified the left wing as a key area for development and my scouts reminded me of him when out looking for a left winger.

His value is so low because I will be able to sign him on a pre-contract in just 12 days. However, I am still quite a small club and I can't have that going against me in my deals. In early December, I made him my prime target and got my highest rated player, Gabriel Jesus to tout him to the club in an attempt to unsettle him. 

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The issue is that Milan are interested in him and I know they'll be able to offer way more than what I can, even though his wage demands are utterly ridiculous for a player of his level. With the lack of spending in the summer, I know I have some of the 'roughly calculated' budget left so can afford to spend some of that. I sent out Angel Di Maria to conclude the deal and he has done the following:

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I think he's done a good job!

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Posted (edited)

December 2031

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Despite finishing the month a position lower than we started, we have completed an unbeaten month, albeit with some dropped points against bottom half Camacha and Portimonense. The draw against Rijeka meant we didn't finish top of our group and have been rewarded with a tie against Lyon, whereas we play Sporting in the Taca de Liga and Chaves in the Taca de Portugal.

January brings a time where I feel that there is going to be a few deals completed but that will more than likely signal the end of such busy incoming transfer periods, now that my policy is in full swing and my youth academy is performing well.

Edited by _Ben_

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