Previously on Orange Is The New Black, Achilles Goss looked into the finances and saw the glass ceiling.
I cannot write about smashing through the glass ceiling, as I have not done it yet! We’re half way there though, and the good news is that we are on course…just about. 6th in the league and into the Coupe de la Ligue Quarter Finals after besting 9-time winners Paris Saint Germain in Les Parcs des Princes. Obviously, Ole Gunnar Solskjær remains the common foe; his LOSC lying 5th in the table and a point above Goss’ Lorient.
Our form has been woeful at times, but a strong December has seen us flirt once again with the prospect of qualifying for European football in 2022. This is my glass ceiling and I really need to break it this time round.
Last time out I delved into the finances, which painted a very stark future for the club. To counter this I concluded that I would need to sell-to-buy in the Transfer Market. In addition, I would handle player contracts for new recruits and in player retention. The first 6 months of this new way of working has been beneficial:
Players sold: €13.25m
Players bought: €7m
These gains (€6.25m) have been offset slightly by an increase in the player wages:
Previous wage total per month [end of Season 3]: €1,570,966
Current wage total per month [mid-point of Season 4]: €1,648,286
I don’t need to worry too much, as this will only be temporary as I look to re-adjust the playing squad over the coming transfer windows; with plans to bring through a few academy players (more on that next time out on the blog). I have however improved the team a fair bit for this current campaign. Highlighted by the signings of Chris Mepham (€6m) and Alessandro Murgia (€925k loan fee).
Note - you may think it’s crazy to rent-a-player for near a million euros, but I stand by the decision to get Murgia. Furthermore, his contract is up in the Summer, so hopefully I can convince him to extend his stay and swap Serie A for Ligue Un.
Of course, I’m always sad to see my favourite players depart. Rivaldo Coetzee was one of these players for me in FM19, and like Fonsinho before him…he was found in Africa and sold to the riches of the Bundesliga. It’s a €7m profit made on a classy player who put in some stellar performances for Lorient.
His replacement though is my record signing, Chris Mepham. The Welsh International has been solid at the back and although I rarely judge a signing after 6 months (I like to give them at least a full year), I think I am on to a winner with him:
The subsequent change in personnel meant I made some tweaks to my 4141/433 system. The departure of Fabien Lemoine, my ageing Deep Lying Playmaker on Defend, and the arrival of Alessandro Murgia meant I had a more aggressive and mobile central midfield. Murgia links up with his Italian counterpart Luca Valzania & industrious Assane Dioussé. As a threesome, they offer a lot in both defensive, supportive and attacking sides of the game. It’s quite a powerful engine room at last.
So, I decided to switch to a system of a Regista at DM, A Ball Winning Midfielder (Support) and a Mezzala (Attack). They press higher and get forward more often, which is good to see. In fact, they’re so good at it that I’ve removed the Counter Press Team Instruction, as I noticed we were often overly committed in the press.
Quicker transitional play
I have removed the Shorter Passing team instruction, which has been a mainstay in my setup since the start of the save. The change to Standard passing encourages the team to be more varied in passing length and at times move it forward with more penetrative passing. The reasoning behind this change is largely due to our new attack, which has become younger and more explosive in terms of Acceleration and Pace for 2021/22. Speed combined with the Pass Into Space team instruction are now our go-to weapons in attack.
Above are our attackers, with the preferred front three on the tactics screen. However, I do have the luxury of being able to interchange the wingers often…Jimmy Cabot is good in either the Inside Forward or Winger role…and Alphonso Davies is back! The worst ever FM19 signing (read it here), has been given another chance to shine in Brittany. To accompany him, I’ve brought in fellow Bayern loanee Joshua Zirkzee to compete with Enzo Crivelli up top as the Deep Lying Forward.
The little tweak has brought about some expansive play. I’ve shown one example below, as I see this goal quite often in the Match Engine (Winger Support to Inside Forward to GOAL)…but it also nicely captures all midfield and attacking roles in my setup*.
*It’s also against PSG :-)
We now look something like this going into the final 5 months of the season:
Two in-game years have passed since I last updated you on my African player recruitment project for FM19. The reasons why I am targeting this continent were laid bare in my introductory post (read that here). To date, 11 African players have been recruited. This might not seem like a lot over three and a half years, but consider that 7 of those 11 have been recruited direct from Africa. This adheres to the postcolonial way French clubs recruit African players in real life, which is what I originally intended to replicate in FM19:
The standout signings are Mohamed Diallo (Côte d’Ivoire), and Assane Dioussé (Senegal), who have both featured heavily in my side over the last two seasons. Mo Diallo, a Newgen attacker, signed on a Free Transfer from the famed ASEC academy. There's a bit of romance for me, as this is the same club that produced Fonsinho…an FM19 player that I hold close to my heart. After having Diallo for 18 months, there's no doubt that he can be an even better Lorient player than the ‘Fons’: 14 goals, 8 assists in 30 starts so far for FC Lorient.
Assane Dioussé, on the other hand, was an established named in Ligue 1 when being signed from relegated ASSE in 2020. He is a versatile midfielder who has the gift of being able to function as the playmaker, the runner or the defensive destroyer in my three-man central midfield. It's meant he has always found game time in my team, which has helped him attract some clubs from La Liga and Serie A. For now though, he's part of Team Goss.
The other four guys, recruited direct from the continent on Free Transfers, have rarely featured for Lorient, but they have age on their side and hopefully I can give them minutes over the next couple of years. They are:
Moses Nyarko (Ghana) - an explosive fullback from Ghana. Who is understudy to Vincent Le Goff. 23 years old.
Yaw Moses (Ghana) - another Ghanaian who has relatively strong mental attributes, which should help in central midfield. 22 years old.
Mohamed Lamine Khaled (Algeria) - A right sided fullback that had a recent [failed] trial with AS Roma. Achilles Goss snapped him up and immediately loaned him out to Auxerre for match experience. 20 years old.
Abdou Koné (Senegal) - A raw, but technically gifted teenager who joins us in January 2022 direct from Senegal. Still undecided on whether he is good enough, but worth a punt. 17 years old.
I’m unsure if any of the above four have long-term futures here, but if I can develop them and move them on…then Monsieur Goss will be happy.
The Future Is Still Orange
I debated for a long time about leaving FC Lorient in this save universe, but after much deliberation, I have decided to extend my stay for another year (until July 2023). Europe is in my sights now and we just have to realise it, I believe the future is still orange.
Thanks for reading/sharing & caring,