Hello one and all, I am back and ready to chase some more silverware with Vitoria Guimaraes! I know it has been a little time since the season 5 finale but I needed a little break from the save to refresh and work on some other things in the background…all will be revealed soon enough!
Season 5 was momentous for the club and myself, not only did we capture the club’s first ever Primeira Liga title, it was backed up with two domestic trophies which brought home a domestic treble! You can check out the madness from all of that right here.
In this one, it is all about preparation as I navigate through the summer and pre-season, looking to build momentum going into the season but also looking to refresh the squad in a few places. In addition, there is the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira final against Sporting CP and also the Champions League Group draw.
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)
As you’ll see some targets are now in green as they’ve effectively been passed, just for clarity!
Now just before we get into the summer events, our new president aligns with the vision on youth recruitment, by agreeing to upgrade in this area.
Summer Transfer Window 2026/27
Let’s start with the outgoings as this will give justification to some of the signings that were made.
Quite a few first teamers exited this window, some were planned and others were taken out of my hands just about. Goal and assist king Nuno Moreira had his head turned by QPR‘s Premier League status and pushed through a £10.5 million move. Despite being signed last season, I made the decision to sell Hugo Faria to PSV for £7.5 million, this will be justified by one of the incomings.
Facundo Pellistri (Stuggart – £4.5m) & James Garner (Celta Vigo – £5.5m) both exited, in my view their times at the club had come to an end and we had to reinvest in these areas of the pitch.
Deadline day proved a little brutal as two stonewall starters left the club. First was wing back Filipe Cruz, bought from Benfica and developed into an absolute star but when Man City came calling I had no hope. City bid £25m, I knew if I rejected he’d kick off so I made a self valuation of £40 million (20% sell on fee) and City agreed. Every player has their price in my eyes.
Lastly, all round midfielder Amadou Onana has asked for a new contract but asked for £100k a week which would have more than doubled his current wage and it was out of our budget. The talks broke down and he handed in a transfer request but no team bid the agreed price of £25 million. It ended with an unexpected loan move to Cagliari with an optional future fee of that £25 million.
Four new players came into the first team with not one over the age of 19. Jose Garbanzo was recommended to me and being a 3 star centre back at this age, I couldn’t say no. He was signed from Alajuelense (Costa Rica) for a cheap £1 million. Next up was wide and central attacker Jordi Toril. I’ve been tracking him for a couple of seasons and finally had the money to secure a £12.5 million move from Espanyol. Toril will battle Fatawu for the right wing position.
James Kranger was next as a replacement for Facundo Pellestri and the wonerkid was secured for his low release clause of £12 million from Real Betis. High hopes for the this one as he will battle Jose Quinteros who switches sides of the pitch for the left wing position. Lastly, as a replacement for Filipe Cruz, Juan Londono was signed from Liverpool for £12 million. Londono wanted to leave for lack of game time so I swooped with an hour left of the window and got the man we needed. He’s not as good as Cruz yet but plenty of time to develop.
One position I couldn’t secure was a new centre midfielder after Onana’s departure which may be problematic as Alfa Semedo is injured for 6 months leaving Martim Neto to step up on his own!
Now for the first time ever on this project, our average age as dropped below 23 to 22. Finally some progress but better late than never!
Director Football Signings
Four signings as well from Luis Campos, I pushed him towards two of them in attacking midfielder Quentin Poreye who was a free agent and also Marc Schneider, who is a playmaker as well. Coming from AS Monaco & Borussia Dortmund’s academies, I see great potential in both.
Onto signings Campos made on his own, I can’t fathom the first one. Striker Marin Lucic was signed for free from AC Ajaccio in France and wait until you see his stats, someone explain the rationale behind this because he is terrible…absolutely shocking. Another striker was signed in Ricardo Cunha on a free from Benfica, who thankfully has a bit more promise!
The Squad & Pre-Season Results
Some changes to the squad with the exits, we’re well set in defence but left back Alex is training with the first team whilst playing for the B team to help his development. Same with striker Diogo Rodrigues as his finishing needs improving. Both should get game time against lower down teams in the cup.
Marcos Aurelio will share the striker responsibility with the clinical Samuel Mulattieri. Giovanny Duarte will act as playmaker cover for Andre Almeida as well. I like the look of this season’s squad, although it is very young especially in wide areas and in attack. This will add to the challenge of defending the title.
There is no tactic overview as I haven’t changed anything from last season, to view how we’ll play check out the season 5 opener.
A rare tough pre-season for my side but sometimes a reality check is needed to understand the levels that the team need to maintain. The lads really struggled on our pre-season tour of Germany against Bundesliga 2 & 3 liga sides, only winning one of three games and even that was a struggle.
The AC Milan loss was an almighty collapse after dominating the first half, taking only one of five clear cut chances. Milan more than punished us in the second half with a rampant performance. With the Super Cup coming up, something had to change.
Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
After their resurgence last season under Fernando Hierro, Sporting has some fire in them again and I was prepared for a tough tie against them.
BUT THEY COULDN’T STOP THE GOLD RUSH – SUPERTAÇA CHAMPIONS 2026/27!!!
A game where my side dominated, again we struggled to put away our chances and going into extra time the nerves really set in as I was half expecting the worst. However, young striker Marcos Aurelio made a near post run in the 94th minute to smartly volley into the net, big moment for him!
The xG of 3.05 shows our dominance as well as other areas of the stats, the team need to start putting them away when the season starts though.
Champions League Group Draw 2026/27
As league champions, my side go from being a mainstay in pot four, all the way to pot one! Will it work in our favour or will it be another group of death like past seasons?
Bar Juventus of course, it’s not bad sharing the group with Real Sociedad & Olympiacos. I’m quite happy with it and personally, I’d like us to progress into the knockout rounds this season. Although it’s more than difficult for us to win the Champions League, I need to gauge the team against some of the top teams to see what standard we are at now.
Next up will be all competitions and fixtures up until the midway point of the season. Ultimately the focus is our league defence and the Champions League progression, so squad rotation is key and I have to get it right!
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 starting at 10:30/11:00 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!
It’s good to be back on the save and blogging it as well, hope you’ve all enjoyed and I’ll be back again soon. Take care all.