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Marseille - Back to the top [FM21]


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Part 1

Recently, I have struggled to really enjoy a save, so this is the save until the end FM21 I have decided to manage Marseille and try and get them back to the top of French and European football. For this save, I will be using a transfer update, this was updated on the 10th of August and means we'll now have Lionel Messi in our league, but we also have some new additions ourselves, Milik and Cengiz Under standing out. 

For this save the rules are quite self explanatory. I will be enabling attribute masking, the in-game editor will be disabled and I will not be doing any international management, mainly because I dislike it with a passion. The aims for this save are just as simple, win Ligue 1, something the club has done many times since it's formation in 1899. Marseille are actually the most successful club in French football and I hope we can add more to the 10 titles they have already won. Not only have they won the league 10 times, but they have also won 1 Champions League in 1993, in the days of Fabien Barthez, who won the French GT championship and Didier Deschamps and I'd like to win the Champions League again. I'd also like to establish Ligue 1 as the best league in Europe and Marseille the highest reputation team in France, I am not sure if we'll achieve all this goals, but I will certainly try my best before FM22 is released. 

The Start 

Marseille have offered me a 3-year deal to start with and I am sure with some signs of success early on we'll earn a contract down the line. 


The Club Vision

The board wants me to qualify for the Champions League this season, meaning a top 3 finish in the league, this will be a tough challenge, but one I am sure we'll be able to rise to. With a few additions in the transfer window, I am sure we can strengthen in areas we are particularly weak. We'll be competing with the likes of Lyon and Marseille for that spot and I am sure we can achieve the boards target. As, Marseille finished 5th last season we have the benefit of Europa League this season, which the board is expecting a Quarter Final finish, but I am not focusing on this competition, but progress would be nice and I am sure we can go far if we get the luck of the draw, The final competition is the Coupe de France and in this competition I had the option for it not to matter, but I think we can perform well, once again relying on the luck of the draw to go far. In terms of club culture it wants me to build for the future signing players under the age of 23, this is something I also agree with, as the starting XI has a large amount of loan players and I want the club to be sustainable in player turnover, so building for the future is what I am aiming to do. The other club culture is playing attacking culture, which I am sure I can fit into my tactic.



The Finances

The finances at Marseille are secure, meaning we are highly unlikely to run into any financial issue anytime soon, but the board have only given me a small budget to make signings, meaning, we'll have to be smart with our cash this summer. I am looking to rely on free signings and small deals as loans are not an option as we have 5 at the club and we can't have moreFinances.PNG.d69bdf43eb797644db5625ce1a3a0652.PNG

To summarise, this is an exciting project, I hope you enjoy this part and I am encouraging feedback on my twitter (https://twitter.com/TrifleFM)

-Trifle FM




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Part 2 - Pre-season

Pre-season at Marseille was a successful one in terms of results, beating Barcelona in a close tie, but not only this we made strides off the pitch bringing in a few signings, but when I looked at the squad, it lacked in depth so everyone stayed this window and I plan to evaluate down the line with a few ageing members off the squad. 


In terms of tactics, we had an abundance of players in the 3 attacking midfielder positions, with Payet and Gerson being the focus of my attention in the side, Payet will be the pivot of the side, playing centrally as an advanced playmaker. I am aiming for all everything to happen through him this season, despite the fact there is other key players in the side, he is a standout and at the age of 33 we aim to get the most we can out of him at this stage and try to use him to build a platform to provide his replacement. This team is all around solid and I am sure I can use it to push up the table this season and meet the boards ambitions. I am using a basic 4-2-3-1 control possession this season, playing the ball out of the defence and trying to push up the pitch through the centre of the field. 



This is not the players that will be starting the season as first choice, but it is a good side capable of qualifying for the Champions League this season and having a good run in the Europa League


This team had a considerable lack of depth, so I was not really interested in selling any players, especially considering I didn't have a large budget and one I could use to find replacements, but I have strengthened at right-back, but the my other 2 signings are back-ups who could feature when we play rotated sides in fixtures that are not as key, I have made 3 signings and despite the fact I feel like I am still lacking options in midfield, loans are not an option as I have used the 5 loans I can have and I have a small transfer budget and the free transfers are underwhelming, so I have made 3 signings and I hope they all do there job this season. 


First signing I'd like to present to you is Santiago Arias, who cost me £9 million, but only 3.3 million, but the rest of the fee is being payed in instalments over the next 3 years. I had barely any options at right-back and none of them were natural at the position and had the attacking attributes I wanted, so I found Arias as a transfer listed player in a recruitment meeting and he was a good player asking for a reasonable amount of money in a position of need. He ticks all the boxes and he signs for the club and will play in nearly every game as we are week in the position. I am looking at possible back-ups, but I will probably rely on Alvaro to play the position when I need to rotate.


My next signing is the former England and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshire, he joins the club on a free transfer earning 10k per week, I was limited on options in midfield and I saw Wilshire available and attempted to sign the player after my attempt to sign Mo Besic was unsuccessful. This deal is to bring some depth to the position and I am still looking to sign another player, but the options are poor. 1799323440_BenArfa.PNG.9fe1665b248e34549f28f8de5670d9d2.PNG

My final signing is Hatem Ben Arfa, just like Wilshire he is here to be a rotation option, I wasn't confident on competing on 2 fronts, so I have signed a lot of rotation players and Ben Arfa gives me options across the attacking midfield positions.


In pre-season we played a range of sides, mainly easier, but we did play Barcelona and Manchester United. Overall in pre-season it just showed our tactic was working, but there was few stand put performances for 2 players, Milik and Guendouzi, who showed they could be the difference makers this season.


Season Preview

The media prediction for the side is 4th, but I think with the talent in our squad we can break the top 3 and qualify for the Champions League, the team showed it can compete with top clubs in pre-season, lets try and get the good results we need. 

Overall, I hope you enjoyed, once again constructive criticism is welcomed at (https://twitter.com/TrifleFM)



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Good luck with this one, my main save for FM21 was with OGC Nice and thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of Ligue 1 and the attempt to overhaul PSG! FYI this was not achieved despite finishing one season undefeated and becoming one of a few teams in history to not taste defeat and still not lift the trophy at the end of the season! 

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Part 3 - Season opening 

The start to the season has been a relatively easy. No team have really been a challenge, even Monaco, a team predicted to challenge us for top 3 were easily swept aside, we 6 wins from 7 games drawing to Troyes AC in our second game, but overall we have dominated fixtures and not really struggled. This easy beginning to the season let us build up momentum and morale as we go into the season and try to achieve Champions League football. This start to our season see's us sit in second place on 19 points - 2 points behind the unstoppable PSG - they have won all 7 of their opening games. The start to the season has been so successful we are easily opening up a gap to our rivals, the team in 3rd Reims are 6 points behind, but I hardly see them challenging for the UCL spots and I see Lyon and Monaco (despite the loss) coming back into contention.



The teams success has not been down to individuals, but a real team effort, that doesn't mean players, don't stand out, one of those being Arkadiusz Milik, who has gone on to score 9 goals in 7 games for the club and earn himself an average rating of a 7.56 in the opening games, including 2 hat-tricks. This was such a successful start, it earnt him player of the month for September and got me thinking about the struggle we'll have to replace his goals next season, but with a release clause I am sure we can sort something out. 



The surprise package for me was Nemanja Radonjic. who had a successful start to the season. scoring 4 goals and getting one assist in the opening 5 games of the season he played; four as a starter and the other game was a substitute appearance, this spell was unfortunately broken up by a short-term injury, but when he played he did the job and performed, he is solid at everything, but stands out at none and that really has helped him to get himself into 1st team selection.


Europa League

Our UEL group this season is not the hardest to get out of. Lazio are the hardest team in our group, the other two teams I do not see as a threat, I could be surprised, but I feel if we perform like we are so far in the league we will be comfortably into the knockouts.


The EL is to come in the next blog, alongside a few more key match-ups in the league, this is going to be an intriguing and it's all to come,




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On 25/08/2021 at 17:34, Celtic_xG said:

Reminds me of fond memories guiding Montpellier to the title a few editions back that was a good game. Milik is world class, Poland have some strike force! 

Ik, been a a big player at key moments, hoping to sign him for the 7 million pound price tag in the summer

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Part 4

After an extended run since the last blog, we've played through the Europa League group stage, increased the number of Ligue 1 games to 14 and had our youth intake. In the league we've continued to have success and we are still undefeated, but we have dropped a further 2 points, slipping up in a 3-3 draw against Nice. In this game we were ahead comfortably, but a penalty and an open play goal opened in the last 10 minutes cost us the win. Despite some amazing form, the giant that is PSG are still yet to drop points, winning all 14 of their opening fixtures. This form see's us sit in 2nd - 4 points PSG and 7 points of Montpellier - with a lot of the season to play. Not to be cocky, but I don't see a scenario where we fail to qualify, all other sides are tripping over themselves.


We have performed well at this point of the season, playing some of the expected UCL contenders and we have easily beaten the better opposition, but we haven't played Montpellier who sit in 3rd or PSG. When we play PSG, I know we will need to perform to the best of our ability, but even then I know it will be a big ask and I know we need to rely on beating the smaller sides, which so far we have been doing comfortably. The control possession system (see part 1 for tactic) we are using is allowing us to control the tempo and it is showing in our results. Looking at our fixture schedule there is some harder games, but now we have finished in the UEL it should be easier as we don't have to rotate.1210291604_10_12.20LeagueTable.PNG.3233936e9cc2ae8e202b6d299bf17b71.PNG

Talking of rotation, we're have had a lack of back-up in certain positions due to injury. One of the positions is central midfielder, at the start of the season we were weak in that position and despite the signing of Jack Wilshire, he has since got injured long-term, leaving us with limited options. Another position is striker, as back-up Benedetto had a serious injury that will see him miss the rest of the season; this has meant we are relying on Ben Arfra as a back-up in this department, which is less then ideal.


Europa League update

In the EL, we have been quite good, winning our group by 6 points. The key point in our EL group stage campaign was the 3-1 win over Lazio, this win meant that we needed 4 points in the final 2 games to win the group. We went on to win the final 2 games and won the group 6 points clear of 2nd place team Lazio. This EL group stage caused mayhem with fitness and injuries, but it is worth it and we will be in the 1st knockout round, which the draw will be in the next chapter.


Youth intake preview

This season's youth intake preview does not fill me with confidence, but, this is a very unknown part of FM and we'll have to wait and see.


The Squad

This season, the team has performed, with goals flowing and and we've been reasonably solid in the defensive area. We've had some great individual performances, Milik and Radonjic that we mentioned in the last chapter, but since then Dimitri Payet has started to perform (with 11 assists in all competitions) and Jordan Amavi, which has attracted minor interest from Tottenham.



Club Vision

So far the board are pleased with my performance as manager, they're happy with competition performance and the attacking football we're playing, but they are disappointed with my lack of under 23 signings, but with the small budget I have and the holes in the squad at the start of the season, I don't know what they were expecting, but next summer I hope to bring in some youth.


This has been part 4 of the journey with Marseille and next time we have the EL draw and big fixtures with PSG and depending on if I make any January signings, a transfer window round-up.




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Part 5

This chapter is a December and January round-up, First of all, we have finally lost a game in the league, a 1-0 loss to RC Lens cost us the undefeated season in the final game of January. The month started well with a 1-0 win over PSG with Dimitri Payet scoring the only goal in a pretty boring match-up, this game helped us close up, but it the long run we since have fallen away. Throughout this period, our form has been very good, scoring a large amount of goals and matching PSG's form, until the final game, where both sides had a man sent off and us conceding. In the Coupe de France we have played 3 games, winning them all comfortably, but none of the sides have been giants. In the next round of the cup we face Monaco and this will be our first real test in this competition. 


 This screenshot was taken after PSG recently played, we play the day after, but we are 4 points behind PSG and we have a tough battle to even have a chance of winning the league. We have to play PSG at the Parc de Prince and that could be a season defining game and show whether we actually have a chance of winning the league title or just settling for CL. Talking of the CL, the large 12 point gap to Lyon is helpful as we look to pull clear and build on the amazing season that we've had so far. The 13 point gap give me confidence, even though we have to play some top sides, I think we have leeway and can go into every game with confidence.  


The PSG game was a big result, the team played well and were even on-top for parts of the match, especially in the second half and the chances started to flow more until Payet stuck it in the back of our opponents net and we took the lead. Yes the goal was important, but the key players for me in the game were the defence and goalkeeper who stopped them from finding that important goal. Despite the fact this was a weakened side, with both Messi and Neymar unavailable for selection, I am extremely surprised and happy with the result and this really gave us a platform to build on in the next few games and it showed as we won the next 4 games scoring 3 goals regularly. 


Transfer Window

I came into this transfer window expecting to say nothing and you'd be correct. I signed 1 midfielder as it is the area of squad that lacks the most depth, so I asked the board to sign a young Norwegian midfielder, Edvard Tagseth, this deal cost the board 3.9 million. I didn't have the money, so I approached the board and asked them to sort out the deal and they agreed and now he has signed for 3.9 million, he has made a few substitute appearances and if I can't bring Matteo Guendouzi back to the club next summer, he will be his replacement. 


The rest of my summer was selling a few youth prospects for low amounts, no-one important. Other than that Kamara has signed a new long-term contract, he joins the club on a 4-year extension and takes a slight pay cut and if he develops, this is a good bit of business.


To round up, we had a quiet January transfer window, had a good run of games, in which we performed well. Going into the next part we have the Europa League knockouts and more key games as we look to confirm our spot in the CL.





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Part 6

Since the last part our form has not be great, I would like it to be better, but we are winning enough games to put is in a good position to finish second this season. We have gone on to win 7 of our last 13 games in the league, meaning our point gap over the teams behind shrank, but the points gap to PSG grew massively. The title was long out of the picture, but when we lost 2-0 to PSG, it confirmed them as league champions after 33 games. 


Despite the disappointing loss to PSG, we won our next game against Montpellier 4-0, meaning we increased the gap to 11 points going into the last 4 games, where we need 2 points from a possible 12 to finish second.


In the game against Montpellier, we won 4-0 with Dimitri Payet standing out and winning man of the match, His performance squashed my doubts about his ability as he has started to regress at the age of 34 and is not as mobile as he was at the start of the season. This game was complete domination and a goal from Milik boosted his chances of being top goalscorer, a category he leads by 4 goals to the player in 2nd. 

Youth Intake

The youth intake was so bad I am not even going to show it, but we have increased our youth recruitment and improved our youth facilities so I am hopeful in 2022. There was a large amount of youth players released this year, only a few got contracts, the best players had 4* potential. 

Europa League

I've delayed it for long enough, it's time to discuss my dreadful performance in the EL. Honestly it went down hill even before the game even started with Milik being ruled out for the first leg and with back-up striker Benedetto also injured, it left me playing Nemanja Radonjic up top in the first leg. It went poorly, we lost 4-1 in the first leg, leaving me with no hope going into the home leg. 



This game was always a pointless game, as much as I hoped it was possible, we never really got the goals flowing and in the end we ended up conceding a late equaliser and we were knocked out of the competition and the bored were very disappointed.


Coupe de France

In the QF's of the Coupe de France we undeservedly took the game to penalties and eventually we lost when Gerson missed the 4th spot kick.


This has been a great season so far and in the final part of the season we will round up all that's happened and look forward to next season.




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Part 7 - The final part of S1

This season started well, then we had a rocky patch late on in the season, but in the end, we finished second. This has been a good season in my opinion, the win of PSG, the win over Montpellier, it has all gone well. The season ended in a comfortable fashion, winning all 4 of our last 4 games, meaning we end the season with 91 points. This shows how much of a challenge it is going to be to win the league and beat PSG. In the 18/19 season, 91 points was enough to win the league by 16 points, this season PSG got 105 points and are only getting stronger, signing Mahrez and being linked with Salah. This up-hill battle has really squashed my worries that this save is too easy, my only hope is that PSG's squad ages and regresses, giving us a short window to pounce and win the league. Despite the difference, we have finished 2nd and earnt ourselves 8 million pounds to spend in the transfer window, meaning I am completely screwed.


The season review

This season has been a good start to the save game, finishing 2nd in the league. Despite the disappointing performance in the EL and not matching expectations in the Coupe de France, the board is happy with our performance. Our players performed extremely well over the season. Milik won the golden boot in Ligue 1 and the European Golden Shoe. Arias had the most assists in the league with 14, Payet was also joint 2nd with 13. 


Despite the fact, I definitely didn't play Ben Arfra more then either Gerson or Cengiz Under, we still had a very good performing team all over the pitch. 

The future is going to be interesting, with only a small budget, I can't bring back all the loanees and Milik is the priority in my opinion, this leaves us needing to make sales and one player that really needs to be sold is Strootman because the club cannot be burdened with is 105,000 a-week contract. Onwards and upwards, Pre-season chapter out soon. Time to play in the CL



moments to remember.PNG

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Part 8

Well, the first game of the season is coming up, so it is time to recap the transfer window we've had and how I plan to line-up for the upcoming season. 

Kevin Strootman

Time to being the Strootman rant! Kevin Strootman is on 105k-a-week and he does not deserve it, he is massively screwing with my wage bill and I have signed players expecting him to leave and he is just not going. I have received multiple offers from clubs that allow me to sell him, (Villa offered 0 and the board blocked it) but despite the fact he said he'd be interested in the move, he will reject the offer. I am guessing he will be ambitious and is not interested in the move. He is just causing issues for the club finances and I really want him gone. JUST LEAVE!


Let's move onto the next part of the window, the incoming players. This window we have brought in some familiar faces on permanent deals, but because the board were being stingy with the budgets I had to cut corners and in certain position I have downgraded from last season, but there is not much more I can do, the board need to back me more and it is not happening. This lack of funds has seen the board expecting us to digress, unlike last season, when we were trying to chase down PSG until January, this window we are expected to drop off and battle for Europa League. 


We have brought back some key players from last seasons campaign, European Golden Shoe winner, Milik and key figure in midfield Matteo Guendouzi. Both deals were on reduced fees as the deals had been agreed before I joined the club. Other signing include, Ricard Sanchez who has been brought in on a very reduced fee as he was transfer listed and he fills the need for depth options at right-back. Other signings include Simone Scuffet, a reasonably good goalkeeper, also on the transfer list, brought in on a reduced fee and he fills the gap at back-up goalkeeper this season. Finally, we have Damian Canedo, a young centre-back who is again a bit of squad depth and helps reduce the wage issues Kevin Strootman is causing. Now onto the "big two," there is nothing big about them, they are good rotation options who will play more games than I like because I was only given 8 million as a CL club. The first of those being Iuri Medeiros, a player transfer listed by Braga and I really needed rotation options, he does an ok job


Next signing is Ruben Lameiras, again, he is hear for depth as we are in the CL this year, I felt we lacked good depth last season he is been aimed to solve that issue, these signing just show the lack of funds and the issues it has caused. Going into this season I was hoping to build on the gap from last season and be consistent throughout, unlike last season when we dipped in from towards the end. 



Now for the outs, to begin with, I didn't see the potential in De La Fuente so he was sold to a division rival for £7.25 million pounds, to match that Alvaro also left for a similar fee as I saw him has an unnecessary expense.

The club vision is the exact same as season, try to sign U23 players, so I failed that one and play attacking football and as I am playing the exact same as last season. 


Now the hopes of this season and my ambitions match the boards, but the progress will not be there, this is going to be a bigger challenge than I expected at the end of the previous season and I hope to earn the money to be able to build on the squad next season.





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Part 9

The season has started with a bang, the team are performing very well. Once again though, PSG are just a free-scoring demon and I can't keep up, as soon as I dropped points against in the draw against Montpellier, I am saying goodbye to a good chance at the title because this team is insane. Over the summer, when I only had 8 million to make improvements, the go and add Mahrez and Coutinho to there already stacked squad and now we have a long road ahead of us as we try and challenge for the CL again. In other news our defence has been amazing, conceding 1 goal in the opening 4 games and we are really building a good platform for the rest of the season to go on and retain CL football for next season. This team has the minerals to be consistent with some depth being brought into the club over the summer. 


The team overall has been firing on all cylinders, but the player that stood out was new signing Lameiras. He has got 6 goal contributions in the opening 6 gaames and he has really been an impactful signing, whether this form will last, I don't know, but if it does, we have got a very good shot a retaining 2nd place in the table. 


Transfer Window


We have finally done it, Kevin Strootman is no-longer a Marseille midfielder, he has been sold to RC Lens for 3.8 million and he is not performing well, having played 2 games, he has an average rating of 6.2, but more importantly for a short time we were inside our budget restrictions, that was until I decided to go and sign an 18-year-old CB from Istanbul Basaksehir for a reasonable, 13.5 million, but if he plays 50 games, the club receive a further 4 million pounds from the club. As soon as Tagir signed on deadline day, he was immediately loaned out to Alaves for first-team opportunities, something I was not fully confident he would get at Marseille this season.


CL Group

Our CL group is missing a top team, but has a few solid teams like Dortmund, Benfica and it will still be a tough test. I am aiming for 2nd place, but I would be happy with 3rd place in the group. The quality of this squad is ready to challenge for a spot, but overall, this is hoping to solve the money issue is solved and next season I get bigger budgets to compete in the transfer market with.


Overall, the we have started strong, but we still have a tough season ahead and with the Champions League to contend with this won't be an easy season, but it is all to look forward to 





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Part 10

Well, the season continues on, with a successful Champions League campaign, it was such an amazing run of games winning key matches. We had a rough spell in early October, after losing to Dortmund in a close match, if we didn't have a man sent off I reckon we could of gone to win the match by a goal or so. Then we went on to lose two games on the bounce in close fashion. This poor stretch fell just as Milik got injured for 2 months or so. We did regain from and won 5 in a row as we went on to confirm CL knockout qualification and maintain second in Ligue 1. 

509523531_leaguetbale2.0.PNG.d42243f372a63968b6ca5c1c99fcf1c1.PNG 1025038979_Games2.0.PNG.e73efb2f40ed2d84a2fa64924138fccc.PNG 

As you can see on the schedule, during the run of game when Milik was injured. Amine Adli really stepped up and helped push on, scoring 6 goals in the Champions League. I barely noticed Milik was missing at times, but can't wait for him to return from his injury so we can continue to compete in the Champions League and maintain second in Ligue 1.


The Champions League

We are competing at the pinnacle of European of football and the team has really pushed on and secured us a spot in the next round. The competition didn't start in the greatest way losing to Benfica and drawing with Dynamo Moscow, but we turned it around and trounced Dortmund in the 3rd game of the group stage. Going into the last 3 games, we knew it was crunch time. We fell at the first hurdle losing to Dortmund, but we fired back, going on to win our last 2 games. Leaving us 2nd in the group finishing with 10 points.


 Transfer window

It is not even open and I have brought in reinforcements in the midfield, Matteo Pessina joins on a multi-year deal from Atalanta. He joins for 22 million, but spread over multiple seasons, costing me £10 million this season and 6 million over the next 2 years. He is to help build-up midfield options because when Guendouzi or Rongier are unavailable for selection I am not fully confident we will be successful in that area of the pitch. 


Going into the next chapter, we will have the January round-up and we will have found out our Champions League performance.



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