Welcome to the first post. If you haven't read my initial post about my journeyman save, you should definitely check it out.
This series will be divided into two parts per season. Part one will consist of pre-season happenings, and the first half of the season up until the January transfer window opens. The second part will, obviously, consist of the season closing, a small season review, and what I plan to do next.
My first impressions at RC Lens was that if this team is going to get promoted - and stay promoted - then we'd need some players in. Perhaps only loanees (of which I can only bring in two because of the French system allows 5 loans per season and the tards already blessed me with 3 of which I can't use), but they would need to fit the profile I'm about to set for the team. The first team needs some strengthening, if my 3-4-3 formation is going to work in the long haul. The team needed at least two extra central defenders, mostly because the ones acting as backup now are pure shite, aswell as at least some backup wingbacks, a creative force in the attack so I wouldn't have to rely on freaking John Bostock of all people, and a better SS. So I brought in some experienced power and some upcoming talent.
This is how my first window looked like at RC Lens. These are all screenshots taken at Dec. 31st, so they don't reflect their starting attributes.
Isaac Vorsah (DC)
Former Hoffenheim and Red Bull Salzburg centreback, recently released, was a fine choice as a backup defender. Strong, and relatively good marking and tackling. Signed on a free transfer.
Unai Bilbao (DC)
This kid is probably best known for being the back bone of Athlétic Club Bilbao's B-team alongside Yaray, where the latter has recently been promoted to the first team. However, Unai is the right sort of ball-playing defender I'm looking for to play alongside Fofana and Landre, so this was a no-brainer. He's been signed on a season-long loan, however, with an option to buy for €1m.
Tristan Lahaye (WBR)
Experienced wingback brought in from league rivals Chamois Niortais for €300k. Lahaye has actually been playing so well that he's now the main right wingback, as he's better in marking, tackling, and crossing than Kenny Lala.
Pieter-Jan Monteyne (WBL)
Another experienced wingback picked up from OH Leuven in the Belgian 2nd tier for €68k. Monteyne has, like Lahaye, become the main left wingback, as he possesses better marking, tackling, and crossing than Anthony Scaramozzino.
Strahinja Karisic (AMC)
There's a fine talent running around in Granada's B-team wasting his skills. This 18-year-old Serbian upcoming talent was signed on compensation and already looks like a promising Advanced Playmaker, and proved himself quite the goalscorer during pre-season. He looks like he needs some work, however, he looks like one of those players I might get attached to and keep developing.
Jakob Novak (AMC)
Jakob Novak is without a doubt a wonderkid. A quick glimpse at his stats will tell you that he's the perfect shadow striker for a team like mine, and Ligue 2 (and eventually Ligue 1) is the perfect step up for him, while still being a place where he can develop. Signed for petty €175k, he's already proving himself as an important part of the team, and has already activated his wage hike.
Abdelhak Nouri (AMC)
One of the brighter stars coming through the Dutch conveyorbelt of talent, Nouri is still only 18 years old but he's inches from bursting through the Ajax first team. Signed on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy for petty €650k, he's established himself to be the main createur in the attack, right infront of Karisic in the pecking order. He can be used as both Advanced Playmaker, and ideal for me to experiment with the Enganche.
Joker transfer: Bingourou Kamara (GK)
As I was able to offload some of the whiny wingers that wouldn't get any playtime with my 3-4-3 anyway, I had some money to spare and the opportunity arose for me to get my hands on the guy dubbed "The New Areola". €1m up front, and additional €2.5m when this wonderkid rounds 50 games, Kamara will replace a rather aging Douchez in goal. This is one for the future, and he'll be needed when we're promoted.
Half way review
By Dec. 31st, we're lying 3rd in the league but we're not far behind 1st place. In fact, it'll only take a win for us to go straight to the top, as we're the best scoring team in the league. We're definitely contenders, and we're meeting both Havre and Valenciennes later in the season.
As you will notice below, it's a sort of mixed bag result-wise. There's an odd draw here and there I'd surely wish we'd been without, but that's football I guess. However, we've only recorded 3 losses in the league, which keeps me optimistic that this promotion is doable. If we can only avoid injuries and keep scoring goals, then I'll be a happy camper.
We came close to beating PSG in Coupe de la Ligue. We actually pulled a major upset and beat Marseille to meet PSG, and were up 1-0, but those pesky multimillionaires had skills we didn't. It was one of those moments where you feel you came really close, but then look at the scoreline and the matchstats and you see that you were way off.
But in the end, we didn't perform in both cups. Which is fine by me. The league is important, and we can't waste time and risk injuries by playing above our level against larger teams.
Hopefully I'll have positive news in the next post, as I expect we go up. And hopefully we can get hold of both Bilbao and Nouri to keep them permanently. Bilbao's contract expires this summer, and with a bit of luck I'll purrsuade him to stay. I've even started to scout for replacements for next season should we go up. We'll need better wingbacks, a much better BWM-backup - maybe even a new main, a much better DLP, and hopefully a new striker aswell.
Until then, fingers crossed!