Its the season four finale and there is only two things to consider, is it finally that joyous moment of the club’s first Primeira Liga title or did it all end in heartbreak. Find out during this rollercoaster of a journey that this very instalment will provide!
Last time out, the progression was good being in all four possible competitions, meaning there is potentially a good few opportunities for a trophy win. The league title race looks to be shaped by us, Porto and Benfica but there are very good chances of success in the Taça de Portugal and the Liga de Taça.
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!
January Transfer Window 2024/25
Minimal outgoings as the majority was in the shape of development loans but one first teamer in Jose Marsa decided to kick up a fuss on deadline day, as he moved to Getafe for £2.5m. Marsa was a solid back up covering left wing back and centre back but as La Liga is considered a superior league, it was impossible to convince him to stick around.
It was just a couple of loan signings to cover a couple of aspects. Due to both defensive minded midfielders Alfa Semedo & Amadou Onana jetting off to AFCON, Mads Bidstrup (once of Brentford) was signed on loan from Napoli to cover these gaps and will remain with us for the rest of the season.
Then on deadline day I made the decision to bring in another attacker in Anthony Elanga from Manchester United. This is another loan deal until the end of the season and the reason being was fixture congestion, which was going to get pretty heavy so we needed an extra option in this area.
It’s unlikely either player will be signed permanently after their loan deals end.
Director of Football Incomings
It was a different window for Luis Campos, targeting two players that I wouldn’t expect him to sign. First was 21 year old defender Daniel N’Goma from Eastleigh for £21k (potentially rising to £47.5k). His potential doesn’t look overly appealing and at 21, he’ll do well to reach the first team.
The second signing was 20 year old striker Freddie Draper. This was a £58k deal from Lincoln (potentially rising to £140k) and he does have some promise but again, there’s a lot of work to be done on the technical aspects of his game.
It’s not our DoF’s best window that for sure and I’m not too happy with the structure of the deals but time will tell if they will pay off.
Youth Intake 2024/25
The intake came through as rated as a ‘golden generation’ for the club so let’s see the top talents from it.
Maybe ‘golden generation’ was a bit over the top but there is still some great talents within those rated as ‘Elite’ & ‘Top’ talents. Clearly Diogo Madeira & Ruslan Sherstobitov look to be the part so let’s check them out. Hopefully these guys will develop and pop up later in the project for the first team.
With this intake, I realised that most of our high potential players come in at 1/1.5 stars CA so in a bid to improve this going forward, the youth facilities will be upgraded following a long discussion with the board.
Primeira Liga 2024/25
January – February 2025
January was a fantastic month grabbing six wins out of six, with clean sheets coming in five of those games. Also factoring in that there was cup games in January as well (which we’ll cover later), sustaining this kind of form is very impressive from the lads.
In February, there was some massive games and points were dropped but the most costly was the wasteful 0-0 draw with Nacional da Madeira. 17 shots to their 6 yet the boys just couldn’t find the net. Looking at our title rivals, it was revenge against Benfica in a 2-1 win before drawing 1-1 with Porto, conceding late into the second half which I have to say, was rather frustrating.
My side are a game behind but at this moment in time, Porto have raced eight points ahead of us. That silly draw with Nacional da Madeira was a missed opportunity as we will need some favours from elsewhere to get to the top of the league.
March – May 2025
It was a case of doing what was needed to try and catch Porto – just win. The boys stuck to that beating Braga & Gil Vicente 3-1. The latter match was our game in hand meaning the gap had been narrowed.
A five point now and with five games to go, I’d say my side has the easier run in but at the same time, Porto have been crazy good so far this season.
The next four matches we hold up our end of the bargain with four big wins including two goalfests in the wins over Vizela (4-2) & Pacos Ferreira (6-3). It may be a title race but you can’t say my team don’t excite the fans! During this time with one game remaining, things got very interesting…
Porto drop points, the league considers other things before goal difference so there was a slim chance.
Vitori put in the work with a big 3-0 win over Tondela and with Porto facing Benfica, I could only hope for good news.
A single point…so so close, our points haul is title worthy but Porto pull off a much credited invincible season. They draw 1-1 with Benfica on the final day, their goal coming from a penalty which just shows we didn’t get that little bit of luck that we more than deserved. It’s frustrating, second place for three seasons and when we do break the 90 point barrier, it’s still not good enough.
Europa League Knockout Stages 2024/25
After finishing third in our Champions League group behind titans PSG & Liverpool, I was happy enough to drop down to the Europa League. We’re still outsiders in this competition but let’s see how far the team can go.
Our run ended in the quarter finals but the lads done themselves proud with their performances. Trabzonspor were beaten 4-2 on aggregate after two action packed games, before a tough tie against the forever stubborn Villarreal. Managed by Diego Simeone at the time, it was two closely fought ties that saw us win 2-1 on aggregate and Mr. Simeone was sent to the job centre after the tie had ended, after what was considered an early exit for the yellow submarine. Sitting in the bottom half of La Liga didn’t help his cause either.
The opponents kept getting tougher when we were drawn Arsenal. This ended in a 2-1 loss on aggregate. My side played great in the first leg earning a draw but a very dubious penalty call in the second leg allowed Arsenal to progress.
I’m happy with our performance in Europe this season, it’s always going to be tough for our club as we don’t hold the same level of finances as others.
Domestic Cups 2024/25
Liga de Taça
Last time out, there was the shock of none of the top 3 qualifying for the semi finals, so it was in our own hands to retain the trophy.
A very convincing win in the semi-final beating Tondela 3-0. Of course it was a favourable draw against a team we have a very good record against, however in the final it was local rivals Boavista.
VITORIA GUIMARAES RETAIN THE LIGA DE TAÇA!!!
It carries on my record of at least one domestic trophy per season as a 1-0 win over Boavista proved to be enough, thanks to an early Matias Soule goal! Our performances in domestic trophies season on season have been remarkable.
Taça de Portugal
With progression through rounds 3-5 already completed, it was time move on to the quarter final stage.
Vizela were toppled in the quarter final in a comfortable 3-0 win, before a semi final double header against Famalicao. This also went in our favour, winning 4-1 on aggregate and it meant an end of season curtain call against Porto in the final.
Absolute heartbreak after a whirlwind of final, it was 2-2 AET with a 4-3 loss on penalties. I am gutted, it could’ve been revenge for the league but regular taker Andre Almeida hit the post when it matter most, before left back Francisco Ortega missed the target and Porto went on to seal the deal, down in the dumps is an understatement.
A couple of bits of good news to share and firstly it starts off with my good friend Mr. Lisboa (yes, the nightmare president of old) offering me a new long term deal after being pleased with our efforts in the league.
And now something that is good for our developing players, our ‘B’ team led by EFL legend Lee Peltier secured back to back promotions and find themselves in Liga 2 which is the second tier! Fantastic work by Peltier after experiencing relegation in his first season, he’s more than redeemed himself.
End of Season Review 2024/25
Now, despite our European exploits the finances have drop somewhat as the club lose £30 million across the season. Player wages and gate receipts are very similar but when you take things like bonuses into consideration, it has had a real effect on the balance. The club are still regarded as ‘rich’ but if we’re not careful, things could get messy by the end of next season.
Let’s see the three player who have had great seasons and deserved to be showcased for their efforts.
First up, is left winger Nuno Moreira. Sound familiar? That’s because he was featured last season due to his 28 goal contributions however, this season he has upped his game after being given the number 10 shirt – 13 goals and 19 assists this season meaning he has had 60 goal contributions in two seasons with us, unreal stats!
Next is one of our newer defenders who joined in January 2024, Anselmo Garcia McNulty. An absolute rock at the back and just seems to smash every game. Defensively sound, even when the team start attacking he would often dribble the ball into the opposition’s half and get things going in that sense. Easily one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Lastly, another player who has featured in player review in the past is our number 9 – Samuele Mulattieri. Always a player who can produce up front and has really improved in training on aspects like heading which has added another dimension to his goal scoring ways. This season though, 27 goals and 9 assists in 37 starts shows how important he has been this season.
It will be time to go again and try to topple Porto or whoever else that is challenging and secure that league title. It’s clear we’ll have to be near enough perfect in the league so I’m looking for a smart summer window again, to try and improve the squad in the right places. The fight is not over yet by any means!
Emperor FM is currently on a journey to take Deportivo back to the heights of Spain and Europe – check out the series here.
TomBlogsFM has come on board at DP-FM and has taken on the task of toppling Bayern Munich with the much loved Borussia Dortmund in ‘Breaking Bayern’. Check out this one here.
RileyFM who has recently joined the DP-FM guest blogging team, is on his own journey in Italy with Cagliari, track his progress here.
Thanks to all for reading, sharing and supporting, as long as you’ve all enjoyed it then I’m happy. Take care out there.
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