The fifth season – 2023/2024 – of the FM20 save with Celaya FC in Mexico 🇲🇽 is over. And it was really an eventful year, to be honest. We saw several great matches against top clubs. We saw unexpected performances from our new goalkeeper. And the club won trophies as well.
Celaya FC transfers 2023/2024
If we compare the transfer activity with the previous year, we will see there were more outgoing loan deals and less permanent transfers. And also less permanent transfers for big fees.
The biggest received fee this season was €850k for the transfer of midfielder Liam Chapman (click to the name to see his profile). We signed this American young midfielder for free in 2022 from Victoria Highlanders and he moved back to his nation for a really good profit.
In terms of incoming transfers, I knew I need to sign new players for right and left wing-back positions. I didn’t have enough money so I decided on some compromise.
Edson Gutiérrez signed for free as a backup player to create a useful combination with the young Jamaican Christopher Hardware.
The second player signed for the wide defend role was Colombian Jefri Barón as we bought him for €400k from Junior FC. He was also the last Colombian players I bought just because it’s a part of the club vision to sign Colombian players. (I was able to remove it at the end of the season).
His signature was important also because we had only newgen Luis Hernández who developed very well but he is the right-footed player. And every time he got the try to use weaker foot trait, this trait was removed from his profile after the game restart.
I decided to buy Barón to be able to use Hernández in both defensive and midfield role as a cover for Emiliano Ozuna.
You can also find the permanent transfer of José Alberto Castillo to Deportivo Toluca among the outgoings.
Castillo was our number one keeper last three seasons after I bought him for €15.25k from Pumas. He wanted a new contract with the wage of €50k per month. I decided to sell him. We received €400k from Toluca. I thought and still think it was a good deal.
But I could not even imagine what can happen in the next days during January…
Our number one, 19 years old American Luke Hickey, signed a new contract until 2028 after I rejected some bids from MLS. And two days later he damaged his cruciate ligaments = specialists and 8-9 months out.
Only Erick Vargas left us. A member of the youth intake 2020/2021 in Cafetaleros as we signed him for €40k.
And as it was already after the squad registration, I have only one keeper available for the whole Clausura part of the season.
The young Erick took his chance, he played 27 matches and kept 17 clean sheets as he conceded 18 goals.
Vargas was injured between the Clausura playoff finals but I used injections and he was able to play. He will be alright after his well deserved holidays.
I am glad Erick Vargas was able to play top-level football because I like to have a domestic keeper in my teams. And I hope I will be able to develop him and also keep him in the club.
Tomás Lecanda transfer saga
The Argentinian central defender was the club record transfer signing back in 2021 when I bought him for €425k from River Plate.
Lecanda developed very well and he became our defensive leader and scored some important goals. But as always, the taste grows with food. He wanted to move to the bigger club despite we won the Clausura last season.
Tomás has €6.25M fee release clause so I decided to not accept lower bids. He made only 8(1) appearances during the Apertura this season as he was unhappy and I rather played different players.
When some club finally placed the bid to match his release clause, he rejected the contract offer. Great.
He was excluded from the league squad list and he didn’t play in the Clausura. He only made 7 Champions League appearances because no registration is needed here and I had only one central defender available at the end of the season due to injuries.
This transfer saga ended April 2024 when the board accepted €5M bid from Tigres and he will join them in June. We will lose a great player but I don’t want someone who doesn’t want to be here.
Results – Apertura 2023/2024
The early exit from the Leagues Cup after a penalty shootout defeat with Portland Timbers. On the other hand, the Champions Trophy win over CF Monterrey. It was a good start to the new season in July 2023.
And the end of the Apertura was very sweet as well. We made it to the playoff final and we beat CF Monterrey after penalties.
If you will take a look at the results with the bigger detail, you can very easily see the most common formation we played against.
Results – Clausura 2023/2024
There were more matches in the second part of the season as we entered the CONCACAF Champions League. Also, Monterrey had a fantastic start to the Clausura after the final defeat.
They won first 12 matches including a 23-1 Champions League win on aggregate over Metropolitan FA from Puerto Rico.
But as I mentioned in FM Slack, they had a very bad end to the season. They lost the top spot before the last league match and they were eliminated from the playoff just in the quarter-final.
We were great in the Clausura despite the unsuccessful end. I already mentioned the number of clean sheets by Erick Vargas.
It started on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, when we beat Monarcas Morelia away from home. He was in our goal until the end of the season.
We moved up the top of the league and we made it to the playoff final again. But this time, we were defeated by CF Pachuca and their perfect 4-4-2 formation with Efrain Alvarez (ex-LA Galaxy) and Jan Hurtado (ex-Boca Juniors) upfront.
Our biggest success is the CONCACAF Champions League as we beat Alianza, Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United and Monterrey in the final match as we beat them 6-5 on aggregate. The first match ended with a 4-4 draw, we won the second one 2-1 at home.
It’s not within the club info yet but I’m sure it will appear here in the future. CF Monterrey is our biggest competitive rivals since we won the promotion.
We still owe them a lot. We won only 4 matches from 18 in total. Our team still has -10 goal difference. That’s something it has to be changed. But the last two seasons look much better in comparison with the first two years.
The Celaya FC squad 2023/2024
The match squad must have at least 9 players considered Mexican-born. That’s the main and the most important rule in terms of squad selection in this save.
I have 27 players (24+3) in the 1st team squad at the end of the 2023/2024 season. Fifteen of those players in Celaya squad are Mexican players. From 12 foreign players, Lecanda will leave and Hickey is long-term injured. Five players (Laborda, Ozuna, Barón, Hardware and Pinilla) are considered as first-team or key players.
I would like to have 8 from 11 players in the starting line-up home-grown. There is a chance I will sell some of the foreign players in the summer and will promote some of our own youngsters. But that would mean I will have to lower my own ambitions because the previous youth intakes were not good enough to boost 1st team squad with newgens.
Maybe we will have to enter the transfer market and find some Mexican youngsters. But since we won the first trophy and our reputation is growing, other teams want higher and higher fees for their young players.
José Manuel Dojaquez scored 22 goals in all competitions this seasons (Osorio scored 25 last season) and 19 goals in the league (Osorio 21 last season).
Emilian Ozuna had the second season in a row with the goals/assists double. The Argentinian midfielder scored 16 goals and made 17 assists in 46(1) appearances.
Sebastián Osorio as IF(S) scored 18 goals and made 8 assists in 46(6) appearances. He was not as good as last season (25 goals and 13 assists) and I will probably think about selling him.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your own FM saves.
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