Welcome back all of you to Generation Guimaraes as it is time to proceed with Season 2. My first season in charge I would gauge at moderate success with a fourth place finish, being domestic cup finalists and a fast track ticket to the Europa League group stage. The Season 1 finale will give you good intel on where we are going into the new season.
The focus today is the madness of the summer, this is mainly in terms of the transfer window as it was clear out time but also finding talent to improve the squad. There is a new tactic, some pre-season results, changes in the backroom staff which effects a key part of the project here and there is even the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira (Portuguese Super Cup) final to look forward to in another opportunity to secure that first trophy during my time here.
The Save Aims & Rules
With how I want this save to work, I need to be mindful of the squad season on season. As there is a lot of emphasis on the youth setup as these players will shape the first team in seasons to come. Here are the aims and rules to give some context of what I’m trying to pull off here.
- Squad average age must be a maximum of 23 every season.
- Disrupt the Top 3 and become a top team in Portugal (Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon).
- Win the club’s first league title.
- Win the club’s first European title.
- Win a domestic treble (League, Cup, Supercup or League Cup) or a European treble (League, Cup, European Cup)
A lot to aim for but the squad average age must be achieved by the end of the summer transfer window each season – IF THIS IS FAILED, I MUST RESIGN FROM MY ROLE!
The Board & Backroom Staff
Let’s start with the board, at the start of the summer it was time for the club presidential election and after the first season all I could hope for was a new president that possessed some ambition.
Unfortunately Miguel Pinto Lisboa somehow retains his position and will serve a second term at the club. This means he will be here for another 2-3 seasons, much to my disgruntlement. The fact that Mr. Pinto Lisboa is not looking to invest funds into the club is a real concern as the club finances require some help.
The Backroom Staff
On to my backroom staff, come the end of the 2021/22 season there was a lot of expiring contracts in all three departments and I saw this as an opportunity to revamp things.
With the coaching team now more or less among the best in the league and I could say the same to some extent with the recruitment side of things, the medical team still suffers despite a new head physio and physio being employed. The issue is, the wage allocation for the medical team is not great meaning there is difficulty in getting some of the best in.
The Director of Football
This is what I was talking about in the intro regarding a key part to the project. The Director of Football you will probably remember Jaime Teixeira, who done an average job but for me it just wasn’t quite good enough. Teixeira’s contract expired and I kept him on until I found a replacement.
A Director of Football has arrived and they are absolutely royalty within this role in the footballing world. The reason the club could afford this will be better explained once the transfer outgoings are covered but I now announce that ex-Monaco & Lille Director of Football Luis Campos has arrived at Vitoria Guimaraes!
The man who made insane player sale profits and smart signings for the two Ligue 1 clubs is now here and I for one am buzzing that he accepted the contract offer after some tough negotiations. Campos came into effect on 16th August 2022 but I will explain the difference in the two DoF’s player signings for the youth squad to allow you to see the smart thinking of Campos.
The Summer Transfer Window 2022/23
I hope you’re strapped in for this because it is going to be a bit of a ride for both sides of the transfers.
This part is crazy as a lot of players leave permanently or either on loan as displayed. There are three pages of outgoings so make sure you’re eagle eyed for one player in particular.
At the end of the last episode, I displayed the unwanted list I had collated and it was the job of now former DoF Jaime Teixeira to move them on but much to my frustration, a lot of these players got loaned out instead of sold which wasn’t acceptable. Teixeira even sold a player for 20 quid at the start of the summer in some sort of non-league vibe!
Anyway, in terms of first team exits, striker Aziz Yakubu was sold for £250k to Boavista after his return from his loan spell at Rio Ave – I didn’t envision Yakubu playing first team football for us. Young playmaker Tomas Handel was loaned to FC Arouca for the season to get regular game time.
Rochinha was sold for £800k to Rayo Vallecano after telling me he did not see his future here, despite being in my plans…so he decided to join a team nowhere near European competitions! Striker Sergio Diaz was Loaned to FC Vizela after a poor loan spell at Rio Ave last season, Diaz needs to prove himself at FC Vizela in the Primeira Liga or it may be time to go.
Another striker was out the door in mis-firing Bruno Duarte who joined Estoril for £500k. Central Midfielder Mikel Agu made his way to Alaves for £1m as the average age needed to be decreased and at 28 years old, he was the chosen one.
The Rafa Soares Sale
A dark day in my managerial career as sensational left wing back Rafa Soares leaves the club but it wasn’t my decision, instead the unpopular president took it upon himself to accept a sizeable bid from West Ham.
This was West Ham’s sixth bid of the summer, however not once did Soares ask to leave – it wasn’t even his preferred destination. This is part of the reason I didn’t want to sell but I had also built a new tactic around Soares & Marcus Edwards. I was powerless in this one and then absolutely ruined with the cut of the £37.5 million received, as the president only gave me £8.75 million of it to spend on new players, absolutely disgraceful!
I’m disillusioned with how Lisboa is running the club, how can he expect the club to develop when he is not reinvesting the money where it is needed. The only positive was this allowed to wages to get Luis Campos in as the Director of Football.
Although shout out to the following three FM community members who basically became my support group with their comedy and wisdom during this transfer scandal, all top lads – make sure you go check them all out! @TheLastThrow, @SadPanda_333 & @BassyBlogs.
I needed players that was for sure but I very much needed young talent, the kind that can develop over the seasons as well. Back up options was a must too including generally filling out the squad some more.
As some of you will be aware, hard working midfielder Jeando Fuchs was signed on a pre-contract in January, the same was done with creative midfielder Dylan Levitt who was snapped up on a free. After deciding on a striker clear out but not really having an option in mind to sign permanently, Brazilian striker Rodrigo Muniz was brought in as a bench option, on loan from Fulham.
Next was the wing back areas with Jordi Osei-Tutu being signed for £1.1m from Arsenal and Reece Devine has joined on a season long loan from Man Utd to cover the left side. After some in game research for a young winger, my scouts brought Issahaku Abdul Fatawu to my attention, the 18 year old winger comes in on a very cheap £37.5k deal from Dreams FC in Ghana.
Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe was also looking for a new home after PSG decided to offer him around clubs and the young exciting midfielder signed for £750k. It was then a couple of deadline day deals as Jose Marsa joined on loan from Sporting Lisbon and with 2 hours left Rafa Soares’ replacement was signed in Francisco Ortega from Velez for £4.5m. I’ll be honest, this was a blind signing as two prior deals broke down so I had to make a judgement off of masked attributes!
I’m very pleased with my business, some real quality in there and developing talent who are already with the first team.
Which brings me to the average at the end of the window, I can confirm I will stay in charge of the team as the target of 23 was hit!
Director of Football Signings
There was only four DoF signings this summer, largely due to the the size and the utter meal made out of the unwanted list.
Before Jaime Teixeira’s departure from the role, two players were signed. First being midfielder Javi Guerra from the Valencia Mestalla on a free. To Teixeira’s credit, Guerra looks like he has the potential to be a very good player. The last signing of the Teixeira era was left sided Italian, Flavio Romano. The initial stats aren’t great but there is also some potential there however, a lot of development is need physically to ever fit into the first team plans though.
Luis Campos then made a couple of free transfers himself in young winger Tiago Santos from Sporting Lisbon being the first, a bit of a mix bag ability wise with some potential that remains to be seen. Secondly was another winger in Andre Azevedo from CD Trofense. In my view he is currently better than Tiago Santos but again some work to be done development wise.
One thing I did notice about both of Campos’ signings is that they are homegrown and also he signed both on one year contracts. I like the latter point as it essentially makes both players risk free if they were to leave come the end of the season as there was no real value to them in the first place.
The Squad, The New Tactic & Pre-Season Results
Here is the squad I’ll be working with for the first part of the season anyway before the winter transfer window, excluding the new players there will be quite a few names that you’ll recognise.
Very happy to keep hold of Marcus Edwards & Andre Almeida as neither received bids on deadline day, this gives us some great attacking quality. A name you may not recognise is Lyle Foster who was on loan in Belgium last season but I’m looking to give him some opportunities this season to see how he fares in the Portuguese top flight.
The Tactic – 3-2-2-3
The game list this as ‘5-2-3’ but I structure it personally as 3-2-2-3 so yeah…take that FM! In all seriousness, what this tactic is about is attacking at speed and exploiting various spaces that the team can make the opposition expose themselves to. Primarily this was built around Edwards & Soares but Ortega & Devine will have to try and churn out the assists from left wing back now.
Defensively, the team is expected to press while regrouping into shape to make things difficult in small spaces for the opposition and hopefully win the ball high up the field. As you will see there is emphasis on width but this allows the wing backs to drop back in when required.
During pre-season I was playing trial and error with the new tactic. As you’ll see despite winning, we conceded 5 goals in two games but this was because of playing a high line. In the shock draw with Fleetwood, I tried a lower line but that took away from the attack.
After taking off ‘be more expressive’ and using standard line of engagement, it started to click with a flowing victory over Doncaster (as you’d expect) and a very respectable draw with RB Leipzig. Only issue for me is we didn’t keep one clean sheet in pre-season so is this an indication of early defensive issues?
Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
I didn’t expect us to be in the Super Cup as it was a fourth place finish and runners up in the Taça de Portugal, with Sporting Lisbon doing the double. I expected second in the league to participate but turns out in Portugal, if a team wins the double then the runners up of the Taça de Portugal take part so another big trophy opportunity here!
As you’ll remember it was penalty heartbreak in the last cup final with Sporting Lisbon but there was only 1 goal in normal time in this final but which way did it go and who was the hero?
GET IN THERE!!! FIRST TROPHY AS VITORIA GUIMARAES MANAGER AFTER A 1-0 VICTORY!!!
Striker Oscar Estupinan was the hero, finishing in the box one on one in the 19th minute as we rallied to hold the lead and ultimately secure the victory.
It’s clear Sporting looked more dangerous going forward however, they were often wasteful but I have to applaud back up/cup goalkeeper Matous Trmal who made a couple of tremendous reflex saves when our opposition started piling on the pressure. Still, it’s great to get some revenge and start the season in such fashion.
Next up it will be time to get stuck into the season for the months of August – December. I’m hoping for a quick start and to rack up some early wins to get us in the area of where we want to be. One key thing is ensuring we don’t lose too many during the first half of the season.
While you’re here, DP-FM’s guest blogger @emperor_fm is sticking around for FM22 and will be taking on the challenge of returning Deportivo La Coruna to the big time in Spain. With the current state of Spanish football, could this be Deportivo’s best opportunity yet?
Check out the intro post here – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/11/08/el-regreso-del-deportivo-introduction/
I’ve really enjoyed writing the episode, I may keep this format at the start of every season depending on how busy the summer is. I hope you all enjoyed this one too and I’ll be back soon with the next instalment. Take care one and all!