It is time ladies and gentleman, the title race is fully on and today the season will be concluded. It will twist and turn, it will never be straight forward but will Vitoria Guimaraes win their first ever Primeira Liga?
There is also cup competitions to be had as well, the team are still in both Portuguese domestic competitions as well as the Europa league, which was dropped down to after the Champions League group stage. Of course, the January transfer window, youth intake and End of season review will all feature too.
Our current progress, sees us top of the league with some degree of control after a very fast start, catch up on the last episode to see how it all panned out!
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 2025/26
Now, I’m not a big fan of doing a lot of business in January as I feel it can disrupt the team cohesion, however things were taken out of my hands when three first teamers willingly left the club.
Goalkeeper Andre Gomes, winger Matias Soule and wantaway striker Agustin Alvarez all exit the club which just caused a lot of work finding new players. Andre Gomes was playing regularly but when the Bundesliga came calling, he decided he didn’t want to stay with us. £11m to Hoffenheim it was, a club I reckon we are better than.
Matias Soule has been generally hit & miss since joining last season but out of nowhere, Boca Juniors activated his £21.5m release clause! I offered him a new contract but Matias threw it to the side and subsequently moved back to his homeland. Lastly, Agustin Alvarez left and had no desire to stay despite his good performances. Being linked to plenty of top clubs, only PSV met the asking price of £22m. A sideways step for him in my eyes but regardless, we keep moving on.
The rest were development loans and player(s) who were deemed not good enough leaving.
Six signings in total however, two you may have spotted have been loaned out already. Starting with Giovanny Duarte who was signed from America de Cali on a free (expiring contract), is a creative midfielder with tons of potential. The plan is to get him amongst the first team next season. Diogo Rodrigues is another prospect who is a striker, was signed for £675k from Mafra who are in Liga 2. Rodrigues will be loaned out next season as well probably but definitely has high potential to feature in the squad in future.
Now for the replacement of the outgoing players, first was young goalkeeper Carlao who was signed for £1.2m from Botafogo. Carlao is only 19 but will serve as back up in the first team squad whilst he develops. Coming into the last week of the window, I had to protect the squad as I didn’t know who I was signing to replace Soule & Alvarez. I signed Yad Louchereau-Pho from AS Monaco on loan. A good young player who can cover all our attacking positions so win-win for the team.
Then the deadline day madness as the raid of South America continued, starting with striker Marco Aurelio being signed from Flamengo for £11m (release clause). 19 years old but has first team quality, once he settles I think he will be very good for us. Then our last signing was Jose Quinteros from River Plate for £14.5m. I’ve chased Quinteros for a couple of seasons and finally got the winger, just at a much higher price. He will be a very good player on this project.
Director of Football Signings
As mentioned last episode, it was clear if you assign DoF’s to sign for your youth squads, their potential ability isn’t really considered. So I have now started adding young players I want as transfer targets for the DoF to attempt to sign. This is as well as the DoF making his own signings.
Wesley Perrin was one of my transfer targets and he was signed from Nancy for £195k. A young winger who still has work to do but if the development is right then he could land himself a first team role.
The rest were signed by Luis Campos off of his own back (spending my transfer budget though!) and first was Karel Mustmaa (Benfica for a deal worth £5.25k) a young winger who doesn’t look too bad despite his questionable potential ability. Next was Matthew Richards from West Brom for £22k (£57k). The young playmaker will do well to reach my squad. Winger Afonso Moreira came in from Estoril for £12k (£27k), again he is another with work to do development wise.
Another English signing landed in Bailey Smith from Brighton for £25k (£61k). Not too happy with this one as his technical ability is very poor! The last signing was Frederico Rodigues on a free from Marinhense, who is a winger but another who needs to work on his technical abilities for his roles.
Youth Intake 2025/26
The projection was average but did anything decent come out of the intake of players?
This is the best of the bunch, current ability is low and potential ability remains to be seen. There was no elite talents as part of this intake which wasn’t to my pleasing.
These are the rest of the players that were begrudgingly signed, as there is quite a few players being released from our youth squads come the end of the season. Maybe one of them will shock us and become a first teamer…very optimistic of me I know.
Primeira Liga 2025/26
January – February 2026
During the crazy transfer window, it had some effects on us as points were dropped when we wanted to keep momentum the most. Alvarez gave us a goodbye present, saving us after being 2-0 down to Vizela (2-2), whilst a resurgent Sporting beat us 1-0 in a disappointing performance.
Benfica then put us away in a 1-0 loss as things started to get shaky, but the boys bounced back well with two convincing victories over Cova da Piedade (3-0) & Santa Clara (4-0). February ended with a silly draw to Tondela at 1-1, where we just didn’t put away our chances.
A frustrating period as the games that were won, the team looked very good. Improvement must be made in the last few months of the season.
The gap has closed right up and as Porto stutter a little as well, Benfica bring themselves right back into the title race. The fight is well and truly on!
March – May 2026
Here we go then, the biggest seven games of the project so far. Have you got that nervous feeling as well?
The boys get by at the start of March with two much needed victories but how does it look going into the last five games?
Games in hand have been played and there is four points separating the top three. The run ins aren’t kind to any of the teams with fixtures against Sporting involved, Benfica & Porto showdown on the penultimate day, before a potential title decider on the final day when Vitoria SC face Porto!
However, something crazily unexpected and amazing happened going into the first fixture…
Wow…just wow! Where to start? 10-0 win over Feirense?! Sporting comeback to beat Benfica and Academica upset Porto! Am I dreaming? We were more than electric in our empathic victory but the other two results give us a six point lead…I couldn’t believe it!
From here, we just have to keep winning, that’s all it was, nothing else. The team is close to this feat that has been chased since the start of the project, can we hold up our end of the bargain.
The goals kept flowing with a massive 4-1 victory over Sporting, followed by the 3-0 win over Braga. The Maritimo win was key and let me show you why…
YESSSSSS!!! WE’VE F*CKING DONE IT!!!
VITORIA GUIMARAES ARE THE 2025/26 PRIMEIRA LIGA CHAMPIONS!!!
An unbelievable feeling as the club capture their first ever league title and I am just elated with it all. All the hard work, getting the tactic right and getting the right players in and its paid off!
To make it even better, we bin Porto (3-1) in the final game of the season with a half rotated squad, we are massive!
Domestic Cups 2025/26
Liga de Taça
In the Liga de Taça, we find ourselves in the semi finals after progressing from the group stage. It was a tie with Famalicao for a battle concerning a place in the final.
Great performance from the lads, a massive 4-0 victory to see us march on to the final. Can the team secure this trophy for the third consecutive time? It was a final with Porto in another showdown with our new competitive rivals…
THREE TIMES IN A ROW!!! LIGA DE TAÇA 2025/26 CHAMPIONS!!!
Porto put in the bin once again as after a closely fought game, Vitoria SC take a 1-0 victory. Now in this competition, two homegrown U21s must start and that meant first team prospect Ye Silong started. It’s an amazing story for the lad as the defender hangs around the back post at a free kick and slams home the winner, delighted for the lad!
Taça de Portugal
In this cup, the boys find themselves in the quarter final where they were drawn Porto (literally becoming the main feature of this blog!)
Porto were seen off again, with a 2-0 win however, Sporting knocked us out in the semi finals in a 1-0 loss on aggregate. Sporting hired Fernando Hierro in January and they have looked a lot better tactically. I think we’ll be seeing them right back amongst it next season.
Europa League Knockout Rounds 2025/26
After our third place standing in the Champions League group stage, it was down to the Europa and Besiktas was our first task.
Besiktas was a tough tie but the team were able to battle to a 4-2 victory on aggregate. It was then Premier League side Leeds in the second knockout round which brought a massive 6-2 win on aggregate. The first leg at home was outstanding with a 5-1 victory as we were clinical in front of goal.
However, for a second season in a row the quarter finals were our downfall, as money rich Newcastle beat us 3-0 on aggregate as the team struggled with their star quality. The first leg I’ll admit my side were poor and whilst looking brighter in the second leg, a good few chances went begging before Newcastle scored.
A couple of bits of news, starting with our training facility being upgraded. I requested this as it is key now we’re champions to have the facilities that will attract better players.
Although, there was a potential issue with star player Andre Almeida as at the start of the season, he wasn’t happy with a couple of players who left the club. I said in turn, some young players would be given chances which they were in Fatawu, Ye Silong, Hugo Faria to name a few but Almeida only acknowledged the game time of Fatawu but doesn’t feel the youngsters have enough quality. It could be another bumpy ride this summer…
End of Season Review 2025/26
An amazing season and even better that the club secured a domestic treble this season as well, which was a save objective!
To finish off, let’s see who impressed me the most over the season and deserves a well earned shout out.
The first player was an easy choice – Andre Almeida. After tweaking his role in central midfield to AP (su), creatively he has been on another level with 17 assists. He has chipped in with 14 goals too but I will say that Almeida is our penalty taker…although you still have to score them!
Next is young winger Issahaku Abdul Fatawu. The lad has spent time with our B team, had a poor loan spell in Austria, bounced back last season in Holland and then challenged for the first team this season. To see his growth has been amazing and he has kept starting wingers out of the XI on plenty of occasions. 15 goals and 7 assists, I feel there is still more to come from this exciting player.
Another season and another feature for Anselmo Garcia McNulty. Promoted to captain after Pedro Henrique moved on at the start of the season, AGM is just a consistently high level performer and sets the example a captain should week in week out. Whilst he’s great at winning the ball and driving it out of defence, he also chips in with his fair share of goals and assists from set pieces (7G/5A).
Into season six we’ll go and now that every trophy possible has been won in Portugal, can we have a European dream? Now, I will say this isn’t a full cycle save for FM22 but I will be doing at least two more seasons before moving on to my next project which is to be revealed. There is still work to do here and I will go on until I feel it has come to it’s curtain call.
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 as always for reading, success in the league finally but the trophy haul still has time in it yet. Take care all of you and I’ll be back on it soon.