Welcome back all, season number five with Vitoria Guimaraes and it is time to go again in the search for that very first Primeira Liga. Last season ended in double heartbreak as Porto beat my side to the league title, before beating us on penalties in the Taça de Portugal. You can see how it all went down right here.
It wasn’t all gloom though as the club retained the Liga de Taça, meaning in every season so far, a domestic cup has been captured. The trophy haul has good consistency but there is just one missing piece to the puzzle in Portugal.
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!
In this instalment, it is all pre-season focus as the squad goes through a small transition in defence, we jet off to the USA for our training camp but amongst all that one player kicks up a fuss about a somewhat undeserving request for a pay rise. There is also the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira final against Porto!
Now I had some relationship with the president Mr. Lisboa, there was hate then it turned into a great friendship as we finally aligned on our visions. However, as re-elections came around Mr. Lisboa decided to step down meaning there would be a new sheriff in town…
Joao Marchao takes over, the most important thing is that I’m keeping my job so let’s get cracking with summer!
Summer Transfer Window 2025/26
A few first teamers did leave and some notable ones at that. Captain & centre back Pedro Henrique left the club to join Blackburn for 7.5m. This was followed by the sale of Falaye Sacko to Real Sociedad for £12.5m. Both were due to their age and if they were kept, the goal of having the average age at 23 or under would have been even more difficult. Great servants and I was sad to see them both leave.
Playmaker Tomas Handel left to go to Bordeaux for £600k. In the last year of his contract, he didn’t look like becoming a go to player, so I made the decision to sell him. Then young winger Diego Moreira who was also in the last year of his contract, made it known he wasn’t looking to stick around when it expired so again, I had to cash in. A £1.9m to Espanyol for the youngster.
The rest of the moves were either young players leaving or going out on their respective loans.
Before the incomings are viewed, striker Agustin Alvarez had requested a new contract trying to double his wage which I thought was an unfair request. He was bought a season and a half ago as our main striker but his inconsistences found him being back up to Samuele Mulattieri. After negotiations broke down, things went very sour.
Transfer listed by request, however no team fancies paying the agreed asking price of £25m. Alvarez remains at the club for now.
Four new faces come into the squad as the defence is refreshed with some young reinforcements, as well as a replacement for the outgoing Tomas Handel.
18 year old right sided defender Mauro Paparatto was signed for £6.5m from Racing Club, looking to fill the void left by Falaye Sacko’s departure. Paparatto is very good for his age and still has plenty of room to develop. Next was Martim Neto who has been on the shortlist for a while and was finally signed from Benfica for £6m. A young playmaker who will deputise for Andre Almeida for now.
Another young defender was brought in Hugo Faria, the 20 year old has bags of potential too. Another one from Benfica (The standard yearly raid) for £4m, who will get plenty of game time within the league and domestic competitions. The last signing was 19 year old Alex from Flamengo for £1.5m. After scouting him, a few teams started circling so I acted quick by activating his release clause. The left back has been loaned back to Brazil for the season with the view of coming into the first team next season.
In terms of the average age, the target of 23 was hit again. I’d love it to drop below that number but it seems to prove harder every season whilst trying to transition the squad!
Director of Football Signings
I’ve come to realise something about the DoF signing players for youth squads (It’s taken me long enough!), they sign players who are good enough for their respective team and not look at to be future first team material. This will explain some of the players signed.
Wasswa Kasule is a young winger who has some work to do but was recently released from Bayern Munich’s academy. He has been loaned out to the fourth tier of Portuguese football. This next one I was not happy about, Joshua Dudock is a German striker with a finishing stat of 4…bloody 4?! He’ll do well to appear in my squad! Martim Almeida was signed for free from Benfica, the defensive midfielder doesn’t have the greatest potential.
Alexandre Brito was signed for free from Sporting, another defensive minded midfielder who has some good early stats in places so I’m hoping he can develop a bit over the next season or two. Creative midfielder Felix Boelter was signed on a free and again there is some potential there to be unlocked but also some key areas to work on. Lastly, Jason Mosango was signed for free for SAS Epinal (no idea either), who plays the creative role in the middle as well. Although, the future isn’t looking to bright for him first team wise.
The Squad, Tactics & Pre-Season Results
The squad has had that small refresh in defence and in that, a little bit of ability has been lost but at the same time, the players brought in will develop to be as good as if not better than those who were sold.
Finally, I have a player from an intake in the first team! It’s in the form of defender Ye Silong who joined the club on the first or second intake. He’s currently in training to become a better wide centre back but he will definitely get his opportunities this season.
Also winger Issahaku Abdul Fatawu will be with the first team this season after a couple years out on loan. Things didn’t look so good for him after a terrible loan spell in Austria two seasons ago but Fatawu dusted himself off and smashed it for Fortuna Sittard in the Eredvisie last season. He will also replace outgoing winger Diego Moreira.
Just one minor change to the tactics, with the 3-2-2-3 the creative midfielder has had a role change from DLP support to AP support. This is to try to create and score more going forward as ‘goal scored’ plays a massive part in the league and is prioritised ahead of goal difference.
As mentioned earlier, it was a tour of America this summer but altogether there was only five games. This was due to the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira final taking place in the last weekend of pre-season.
A very good pre-season with wins across the board and the positive is, there was plenty of goals. Four goals scored in three of the games and maybe that small tactical amendment is having the required effect. Wantaway striker Agustin Alvarez definitely tried his best to get himself in the shop window with some of his performances!
Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
Porto ruined me in season four, not just footballing wise but there were fully in my head. Emotions were running high that for sure. They beat us to the league through a last day penalty and then beat us in the Taça de Portugal on penalties…luck was definitely on their side.
I was fired up for this Super Cup game and had the boys raring to go as well but how did we fare?
LETS GOOOOO!!! SUPERTAÇA CÂNDIDO DE OLIVEIRA CHAMPIONS 2025!!!
First blood to Vitoria Guimaraes in the 2025/26 season as the boys get revenge by the same way Porto beat us last season…penalties!
It went all the way to sudden death as centre back Abdou Diallo had his effort saved from Andre Gomes before Fransisco Ortega slammed home the winner, massive win!
Champions League Group Stage Draw 2025/26
As our club coefficient is still low and we’re still improving our European standing, it was another place in pot four for the draw.
Wow, just wow. I think this is the toughest so far in terms of team quality and reputation. We faced Liverpool last season which was difficult and Bayern Munich the season before, where we somehow ended up knocking them out. Celtic will prove a different test but are very capable on their day.
As usual, the general aim is the Europa League as the team aren’t good enough to win this competition, which is fine as I have to be realistic. Regardless, it’s not going to be easy by any means.
Football, football and even more football. All competitions get going as we’ll make our way to the start of 2026. Of course, my side will battle hard in the league again but I want another domestic trophy too so it’s hopefully going to be a big season for the club!
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.
Also I have delved in the world of Twitch and I stream every Sunday (Times TBC each week) leading Borussia Mönchengladbach. I’d appreciate if anyone can drop a follow and come join when I’m live for a general chat and to enjoy the ways of the Bundesliga!
Thanks again for reading this whirlwind of a project, I’m enjoying it so I hope you all are too. Hoping to be back with the mid-season update sooner rather than later. Take care all of you.
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