Previously on Orange Is The New Black, Achilles Goss was declared rich and Mamadou Sakho returned to France.
I’ve moved into the Autumn of this FM19 save, so my posts therefore naturally gravitate towards reflecting and assessing the progress we have made as a club. Today specifically focuses on ‘La Jeunesse’ who I introduced you to on this blog two seasons ago (read here). During this post, at the climax of Season 4, I decided to place greater emphasis on giving game time to the Academy players who were nearing adulthood.
So, I want to spend some time with these Newgens today…to recap on their growth and also introduce a couple of new guys who are ‘knocking on the Lorient First Team door’. I’ll also have a little update on Africa too, as I haven’t done that for a number of seasons. But first, how is my sixth season going (2023/24)?
Just as the season was starting, we waved goodbye to Markel Alemán who was sold to Bayern for €50m. It was obviously great to turn in a tidy €44.4m profit on a player who was only here for a year, but it left me weaker in depth. Sakho and Mepham would therefore be my central pair for 2023/24 as I couldn’t sign a replacement of real quality with the Alemán millions.
The departure of Joshua Zirkzee (back to that club again…Bayern) has not been massively felt due to the form of Gustavo Ramírez - who has scored 19 goals in 26 starts (all comps). His goals along with Mo Diallo and Alessandro Murgia’s see Lorient competing for the European places once again:
Generally we’ve been good, although a difficult November and December had seen us slip as low as 6th. Retaining European football is once again the target as we move home after this season, waving goodbye to Stade du Moustoir and opening the new 25k FC Lorient Stadium for 2024/25.
We’re smashing the 2024 Europa League campaign! The 7-1 win Vs Standard equalled my record win in this save (the other was a 7-1 in the French Cup against amateur opposition). Last year we exited at the 1st Knockout Round Vs FC Basel…so I am fully aware that I need to take Feyenoord seriously this time round!
On my to-do list is to sign a top Centre Back, as Chris Mepham will be leaving in the Summer to Benfica. It’s proving very difficult so far to find somebody of real quality, but my top target is RB Leipzig’s Luc Tournier…who has a wonderful €11.75m release clause. Just look at him:
It’s too early to say if we can convince him to swap Bundesliga for Ligue Un…but maybe qualifying for the Champions League will be enough to tempt him back to France (after previously playing for Monaco and Sochaux). We’ll see.
La génération d’aujourd’hui (19-20 years)
Two seasons ago I introduced four Academy players and discussed their pathway into the team, they were: Alex Rolland, Roland Le Moigne, Matteo Julien & Adam Rousseau. I do not feel there is a need to re-introduce them, so if you want to see their background and what they looked like at 17/18 years-of-age, read the post here.
Alex Rolland (born 09/03/2004 - Lambersart, Lille)
Over the course of 18 months, Alex has flourished as newly developed Full Back. He started re-training in the Summer of 2022 and had become Awkward in the role by October of that year. But the game-time over 2023/24 has seen him become an Accomplished Right Back a year later. He’s also bettered his personality from Balanced to Fairly Professional.
19 years old
62 appearances for FC Lorient (3 goals and 4 assists)
7.14 average rating
‘Wonderkid’ Media Description
Roland Le Moigne (born 05/12/2003 - Brest, Brittany)
Of the four youngsters I introduced, Roland Le Moigne was the one I was the most unsure about; and for that reason he’s played the least. Assembling just 10 appearances over the last two years, Roland has made gains in some areas and has changed his personality from Ambitious to Fairly Professional.
However, Roland has had major overall improvements in all three attribute areas and I think he is now ready to step into my central midfield more regularly.
20 years old
10 appearances for FC Lorient
6.76 average rating
‘Defensive Midfield’ Media Description
Matteo Julien (born 16/07/2004 - Quéven, Brittany)
After two years of dipping in-and-out of the match day squad, Matteo Julien is now the first choice Left Back at FC Lorient. I’ve used him 35 times as a Wing Back on Support Duty and he’s been solid with an average rating of 7.21. His craft has been recognised by France U21s and is our highest Internationally capped Academy player.
I’m slowly seeing the benefits of a good Mentoring group too; Matteo has picked up the ‘Runs With Ball Down Left’ trait and has made gains in his Determination…both from club legend Vincent Le Goff. It’s the same three-man group that Alex Rolland has been in during this two-year period, we’re creating Le Goff clones here!
19 years old
35 appearances for FC Lorient
7.21 average rating
‘Full Back’ Media Description
Adam Rousseau (born 08/06/2004 - Ploemeur, Brittany)
Despite not seeing huge gains in training, Adam Rousseau saves his best stuff when actually on the football pitch. He’s played 48 times already for Les Merlus and has an encouraging 7 goals and 9 assists for Team Goss. Again, we’ve seen a change in personality from his Mentoring Group, but his individual focus of Passing isn’t really yielding much.
Adam Rousseau will need to remain patient whilst at Lorient, as he has real competition alongside Julien Ponceau and Arsène Sidibé (who we’ll see in a sec) for the starting right attacker role.
19 years old
48 appearances for FC Lorient
7.12 average rating
‘Winger’ Media Description
La génération d’aujourd’hui (18 years)
Readers should know all about Julien Ponceau by now, the first Goss Graduate into the First Team, you now know more about the four guys above too. But let me introduce you to the sixth and seventh Academy players to join the First Team squad: Arsène Sidibé & Vincent Maury.
I added both these guys to the team for season 2023/24, and set individual training to roles within my 433 tactic (Winger and Full Back respectively). Annoyingly, Arsène Sidibé has seen a 2 point drop in Determination which will need to be corrected via Mentoring. But in terms of attributes both have made slight increases.
I have no plans to re-position them, as I see a pathway into the First Team via their natural positions…but I have placed Sidibé on a focus on Strength (Strength & Jumping Reach) and Maury on Passing (First Touch/Passing/Technique). Hopefully I can give the game time over the next couple of years, and I’ll make a vow not to recruit to any of the right sided positions to help facilitate this.
With all the focus on Academy youth development, I did not want readers left thinking I had abandoned my FM19 recruitment project (read my original plans here). Africa remains a focus for Achilles Goss and I’ve increased the tally to 13 players recruited from the continent.
New recruits are Gabonese youth Goalkeeper Georges Sombola & Ivorian ASEC graduate Isidore Kossounou. I am particularly excited about the latter, with Isidore scoring a crucial away goal on his debut against FC København in the Europa League qualifiers. He has the right kind of raw ability that Goss has polished before (see Fonsinho & Mo Diallo on the Goss CV).
I never like to put a fixed date on ending things, or make any grand promises on how long I will play this save. Readers only have to witness the vagueness in my introductory post as testimony:
“My aim is to be as consistent with blogging as last year, so that’s two posts a season. As with last year, I expect to play at the same speed too. So please don’t expect a 20 year save, it’s more likely to be somewhere between 5 and 8 seasons”.
Moving into the new stadium is a big reason I stuck around with FC Lorient, it’s something I’ve wanted in Football Manager for many years now. So, my desire is to see out the inaugural season in our new home before calling it a day with this fine club.
That would be 7 seasons in Football Manager 2019 and enough to give me closure of this fine save. The countdown is on…let’s enjoy the ride we have left.
As always, thanks for reading, sharing and caring.
FM Grasshopper/Achilles Goss