Lille OSC – Season 2022/23
Jake Sullivan‘s fourth season. The moment at which the club becomes too small for some players. To prevent all the stars from escaping and rebuilding the team, a trophy must appear. The manager knows it very well and tries to keep as many players as possible, additionally expanding the squad with more and more expensive players.
Carrying out the most important transfers before the start of the season worked well in the previous seasons, therefore this scenario was repeated this time. Total 13 purchases. Almost all purchases were made after analyzing large groups of players using FM Tool. The tool helped invent such gems as, for example, 16-year-old Axel Moser, bought from the Bundesliga 2, became a player of the first team. In addition to skill, Sullivan in this window began to pay attention to the nationality of the player. In addition to sticking to the principle of under-23 players, he wanted to add the principle of the advantage of French players in the squad. Out of 13 transfers, 9 are French-born players. The players who were bought for the first squad were:
- Curtis Jones, 21 years, bought from Liverpool, most expensive Lille transfer ever
- Haissem Hassan, 20 years, bought near the end of the transfer window, as an alternative to Jones
- Jean-Claude Ntenda, 19 years, “backup” for Bradaric
- Axel Moser, 16 years, bought for the u-19 team with the future in mind, he already jumped into the 1st team this season
The total expenditure of around 44 milion was possible thanks to very good finances from previous years and thanks to expensive transfers from the club. Not all fans were delighted, as the club was left by some very good players, giving good numbers. They were among them:
- Lucas Tousart, sold after one season for €8.5 milion (bought for €4.9 milion)
- Dario Maresic, sold after two seasons for €18 milion (bought for €9.25 milion), due to Badiashile’s return from loan
- Armando Urlati, sold after one season for €12 milion (bought for €6.5 milion) – newgen found with FM Tool
- Yusuf Yazici, sold after three seasons for €23.5 milion
- Jonathan Bamba, sold after four seasons for €8.25 milion
- Renato Sanches, sold after three seasons for €32 milion
As many as 5 of the given 6 players played a significant role in Lille last season. There was a great risk to sell them, but with a full power over the transfers, Sullivan was able to do so, knowing he would risk his job if he was completely wrong about the new players. The only player he did not want to say goodbye to was Sanches, who, however, did not want to wait another season for the trophy and was pushing hard to leave.
The season started with such a large transfer window can show the fullness of Jake Sullivan‘s club management skills.
First part of season
This season was going to be completely different than all previous ones, due to the world championship taking place in the middle of it, from November. For this reason, the first part of the season, the 19th league game, was played on February 4th. This arrangement of the games led to matches played sometimes every 3 days. Nevertheless, after the first half of the season, it seemed that Lille was in for the best season, perhaps even in history. As much as 7 points more than at the same time last season. The following results:
- 16 Lille wins
- 2 draws
- Only 1 lost
After six months, the fans stopped thinking about the rightness of selling some important players. The new squad was completely defending itself with its results. Fantastic Gouri at the front, finally giving you the feeling of having a confident striker in your squad. A Villar that keeps its level. Gomez growing up to be even better playmaker than Villar. Ikone and Jones spreading terror from the wings. Everything was as it should be.
In addition to the Ligue 1, Lille also played its matches in the Europa League. Going to the group with strong Zenit and Roma, it seemed that there would be a fight to the last match to leave the group. However, they managed to take a certain first place, which was helped by two matches with Roma (3-1 in France and 3-1 away).
Sullivan has managed to create a great option that any coach with two strikers of the same level would like to have. The point is that Gouiri and Osimhen were divided perfectly for shooting in the Ligue 1 and in the Europa League:
- Osimhen – Ligue 1: 9 matches, 0 goals, Europa League: 6 matches, 7 goals
- Gouiri – Ligue 1: 19 matches, 17 goals, Europa League: 4 matches, 1 goal
Second part of season
The second half of the season was almost as good as the first. The fight for the national championship lasted until the last round. There were great hopes at the club. Everything was to be decided in the match against PSG.
Out of the remaining 18 matches, the results were as follows:
- 14 Lille wins
- 4 draws
- Only 1 lost
Very good games, sure scoring of next points, sure every point of the team. The decisive match with the team from Paris ended in a draw, 0-0. These points were not made up for afterwards. The season ended with 93 points, PSG scored 96 points. In each of the previous seasons, Lille would have been the champion of the country, but with such a good performance they found the best team of the four years PSG.
The Europa League ended in the quarter-finals. In the first game after leaving the group, Lille eliminated Ajax, winning 1-0. They ended the quarter-finals with a draws, 1-1 at home and 2-2 away from Athletic Bilbao, and were eliminated by the away goals rule.
The French Cup also ended in the quarter-finals. Won 3 matches, defeat by Rennes.
It is obvious that this was Lille’s best season during Jake Sullivan‘s tenure. The best players of this season were:
- Gonzalo Villar, 43 matches, average 7.44
- Sergio Gomez, 42 matches, average 7.46
Everyone forgot about the lack of Renato Sanches. The midfield of two young Spanish playmakers is doing a great job for the entire team.
After this season, almost every player could be distinguished. Only 6 players from the entire squad achieved a lower average rating than 7.00. Thanks to good performance, many of the team’s records have been broken:
- Amine Gouiri, 24 goals (previous record – 16 goals)
- Gonzalo Villar, 14 assists (previous record – 10 assits
- Victor Osimhen, 8 man of the match, (previous record – 7 mvp)
- Mike Maignan, 25 clean sheets (previous record – 16 clean sheets)
In addition to records, the following should be distinguished:
- Victor Osimhen, the Europa League Squad of the Season
- Domagoj Bradaric, 6 assists in the Europa League (the most of entire cup)
The goal scoring this season has again spread to a large number of players. The players who have exceeded the total of 10 goals in all competitions are:
- Victor Osimhen, 19 goals in 35 matches
- Amine Gouiri, 24 goals in 44 matches
- Jonathan Ikone, 16 goals in 45 matches (and 12 assists!)
- Curtis Jones, 12 goals in 42 matches
It is a pity that such a good season for Lille did not end with any trophy. Everything was as it should be. Good transfers, very good games, great results. Everything was great off the pitch as well. At one point in the season, the club had over €120 milion in its account. (by comparison, when Sullivan came to the French club, the account was €7 milion). Perhaps the most important piece of information is that this result was achieved with the youngest squad looking at all 4 seasons, so it could look even better next season.
FM Tool usage
This season, all transfer decisions, training decisions and assigning a player to a specific squad were made after using the FM Tool. Assigning appropriate roles to players (some unexpected roles) allowed for such good results for everyone.
Similar to last year’s analysis of attribute changes, possible thanks to saving the attributes at the beginning of the season in the tool, it allowed to re-examine who worked the most in the training. The player who worked the most is:
- Axel Moser, (27! increased attributes.)
Progress was made by both attackers:
- Amine Gouiri (18 increased attributes)
- Victor Osimhen (10 increased attributes)
Finnaly Almendra got down to work, as his coach fell into disrepair last season. However, now as many as 15 attributes have improved.
The worst looking footballer is:
- Tjago Djalo (6 attributes decreased)
In the case of the Youth team and Reserve team, basically the entire attribute table is green again, which means that every player has made progress.
FM Tool also enables statistical analysis, but due to as many as 20 different graphs that can be checked, it was done on a separate page.