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Conor McDonald: The Student

Started on 18 April 2020 by Jack
Latest Reply on 3 September 2020 by ScottT

Bordeaux Complete Pepe Loan

Real Madrid’s young left-back Pepe has been announced as Bordeaux’s second signing of the January transfer window with the 21-year-old agreeing a six-month loan deal.

Bordeaux confirmed the conversion of fellow left-back Khalid Abboubi’s loan deal into a permanent €19,000,000 transfer.

Pepe has been battling it out with Real Madrid’s first-team left-back Ian Molinari for a starting spot and has made 13 league starts as a result but since November, Pepe has seen himself more out of the team than in.

The 21-year-old came through Real Madrid’s academy and made his Real Madrid first-team debut back in 2023, coming on as a substitute for Alex Telles.

Pepe had to wait another two years for another first-team appearance but impressed for Castilla in the meantime. Last season he made his first start for Real Madrid along with three substitute appearances.

This season has been his breakthrough year at the Santiago Bernabeu despite Real Madrid trailing the league leaders by nine points already.

Conor McDonald agreed a €6,000,000 loan fee with Madrid boss Jurgen Klopp as compensation for taking away a talented left-back alternative in his first-team plans.

Pepe will now battle it out with Khalid Abboubi for the starting spot this season at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

In other transfer news, Bordeaux have added to their youth teams with seven new players.

Conor McDonald’s former club have had their back-up goalkeeper taken for €600,000 as Josef Perrin joins Bordeaux. Maximiliano González, Julián Rizzi, Fabian Zarco, Carlos Aguero and Juan Roy have all joined the Ligue 1 side for a combined fee of €8,000,000.

FK Vojvodina’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder Dalibor Palinkas has also joined Bordeaux for €1,500,000.

Seb: It's great to finally say he's ours as he has been nothing short of sensational since his first spell last season.
Scott: He fits the bill perfectly here! The only bad thing about it is how long it's taken us to finally come to an agreement over a permanent move from Juve.
Tango: Once we get some oil-rich Russian or Arab then we'll ditch the loans ;)
Some cheap signings out there, if they deliver you'll have a hell of a profit
Pepe certainly has a lot of quality about him but quite an expensive fee to spend for a player you'll only have for the next six months. A decent amount of cash spent on an array of young talent also. Bordeaux certainly aren't afraid to get the cheque-book out in contrast to recent years.

Girondins de Bordeaux: The Departures

The movements out of Bordeaux this January have been a bigger focus than the arrivals with five permanent departures so far this month.

Despite Chinese teams having €50,000,000 offers for midfielder Fabio Marechal accepted, the player has chosen not to agree terms with the interested teams. With a few days left of the transfer window, it remains to be seen whether he will agree terms with another team.

However, the first confirmed departure out of Bordeaux was the €8,000,000 sale of right-back Enock Kwateng to EFL Championship side Crystal Palace.

Kwateng was one of McDonald’s first signing in the South-West, agreeing a €3.3m transfer from Genoa. After 35 appearances in 18 months under his management, the club have turned a €4.7m profit on the 29-year-old.

Lazar Pavlovic’s sale was announced one week after Kwateng’s as the Serbian attacking midfielder was the subject of a €14,500,000 bid from English Premier League outfit Southampton.

FK Partizan’s release clause for Pavlovic was triggered alongside Filip Stevanovic’s and he joined Bordeaux in July 2025 for just €2.7m.

He became a key player in last season’s Champions League push under McDonald, creating 11 assists and scoring 6 goals in 33 appearances but with the arrival of Gaetano Di Paolo on a free transfer and Brahim Díaz’s good form, he saw himself on the bench too many times for a player of his quality.

Borja Garcés was signed from Burnley as a back-up striker in the summer of 2025. He was signed for a small fee of €675,000 after only playing one first-team game for Burnley.

He made 11 substitute appearances last season, scoring once in the league but he failed to make any appearances this season with Darren Wright in superb form.

Garcés has signed for LaLiga 2 outfit Cádiz FC for a profitable fee of €2,700,000.

The second-largest transfer fee that Bordeaux received this summer came from Germany’s Hamburg SV as they paid €10,000,000 for the Colombian midfielder Eduardo Martinez.

The 20-year-old was initially signed under Alain Perrin for €1.7m in 2024 before being loaned out back to his home country to Atlético Nacional in Liga Postobón.

Martinez returned as a first-team player but mainly from the bench due to the loan signing of Stéphane Pruvost and Fabio Marechal in central midfield. His Colombian heritage also meant that he took up a non-EU spot in the Ligue 1 squad registration which McDonald felt was better used on a different player.

The most recent permanent departure was the transfer of Portuguese winger Gerson Sousa to VfB Stuttgart for a €7,000,000 fee – a €5.5m profit on what McDonald paid for the player last summer.

Since signing from Benfica, Sousa played a pivotal role on the right-wing last season as he made 28 starts, scoring 4 goals and assisting once.

Thanks to the then-record-equaling signing of Moussa Diaby from Gladbach, the 24-year-old has not been included in many matchday squads, making only one start out of six appearances this season.

In terms of loan moves away from the club, Benjamin Sagnier – who has recently agreed a pre-contract with PSV Eindhoven – has been loaned out to Girona. Bordeaux’s academy product Franco Toledo has joined Tenerife meanwhile Rudy Muniz has agreed a domestic loan to divisional rivals Sochaux-Montbéliard.

Tango: It's like stocks, buy low, sell high ;)
Scott: I am partially regretting the deal because he's only temporary. However, with his quality and our need for a back-up left-back he is a valuable asset if we achieve another Champions League campaign.
A tidy turnover of profit from those sales. Excellent business from the club to avoid making any losses on previous purchases. A shame that Marechal couldn't agree terms. The money would have no doubt been put to good use.
A huge loan fee for Pepe, but with the sales that you've made... you're still helping build the clubs balance right up. Some phenomenal work in the transfer market, the fact that you're signing players and then selling them for considerably more just 12-months later shows what a good job you're doing.

Is there anywhere in the squad you feel needs to be strengthened further?

December & January Results

Ligue 1 Standings (as of 31st January 2027)

Champions League Group G Standings (as of 31st December 2026)

Conor’s Verdict

Once again, I am delighted with our performances in December and January. The end of January spells sixteen games since we last lost in the league and that is quite a fantastic record.

Yes, I was disappointed in our embarrassing game against Manchester City when we lost 4-0 particularly because both teams were still fighting for the top of the group, but I overlook that as an anomaly.

Moric had a struggling start in December with a few goals conceded in the league and the Champions League but throughout January he has been great again, keeping three clean sheets out of a possible six.

I am delighted to have reached the target of the Quarter-Finals in the Coupe de France with our extra-time win against Dunkerque. We have drawn Paris Saint-Germain in the next round but with us performing so well in the league, I wouldn’t be too disappointed to be knocked out as this stage.

February presents us with a couple of key matches in the league against both Lyon and Lille who are still breathing down the top threes’ necks.

A Quarter-Final qualification in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund would also be the stuff of dreams but I do recognise that beating a team of their calibre over two legs may be a bridge too far.

Scott: With the low fees I paid for Pavlovic for example, it would've been hard to not get a profit! Either way, it's always sad to see a player go but there was some good business done there.
James: Yeah, the Pepe loan fee really was not what I wanted to pay, but it's what I expect for a RM first-teamer. The list of where I wanted to improve would be endless but I just don't have the money! :P
A fantastic run of form continues and extends across further competitions - albeit against lower-league opposition - with Wright continuing to prove he could be one of the best pieces of business Conor will ever make as a manager. PSG must be a little wary now!
Oh come on you had one job against City

In the league, nice to see the number of hiccups dropping like that, you're gonna need the consistency to take PSG out

Marechal Completes €50M Move to Germany

Bordeaux have finalised the deal that sees them collect their biggest ever fee as Fabio Marechal joins Bayer Leverkusen for €41,500,000.

The fee sets a new club record, overtaking the €40,000,000 that took Malcolm to Barcelona in July 2018.

The transfer includes clauses that could see the transfer fee rocket up to €52,000,000 based on the amount of league appearances that the French midfielder makes for his new club.

The 21-year-old joined Bordeaux at the age of 19 in 2024, signing a €6million deal taking him from Ligue 2 outfit SM Caen.

Marechal instantly became a first-team player in the center of midfielder, starting 31 games in his first season, scoring 3 goals and assisting 5 times in the 2024/25 campaign.

Last season under McDonald, Marechal was a vital part of his manager’s plans, making a further 34 league appearances as Bordeaux achieved a historic Champions League spot in an impressive season.

This season, he has started every single Champions League fixture for his club as well as an additional 18 Ligue 1 games.

The eyes are now on Conor McDonald to see if he will replace his star midfielder and if so, who will be coming in to fill the gap left behind by Marechal’s departure.

Scott: Turns out that Marechal did come through ;) Wright is simply incredible, everything he touches turns into goals!
Tango: Decided to rest the lads against City with more important games coming up ;) PSG are a tough nut to crack but we need to be motivated to beat them this season.
Great to see Wright has continued his form into the new year and he has been a vital part in seeing you apply so much pressure to PSG at the top. The loss of a key player in Marechal though is huge halfway through the season and I think Conor may need to bring in a replacement for him. Nonetheless, another good amount of profit bought into the club following the earlier departures.
Haha, that's me told. A lot of money giving scope for Bordeaux to bring in a more than adept replacement.

Bordeaux Complete Deadline Day Loan Signing

Bordeaux have concluded their January business with the loan signing of Chelsea’s Andy Stockbridge until the end of the 2026/27 season.

With the sale of Fabio Marechal to Bayer Leverkusen coming just two days previous, a central midfield replacement was needed quickly for Conor McDonald’s team.

Stockbridge has spent his entire career at The Blues having started to come into the fold at Stamford Bridge in 2024 when he made nine substitute appearances in the Premier League.

His involvement has continued since then, making a total of 23 appearances in all competitions over three seasons.

Stockbridge’s loan move is his first move away from London and he is looking forward to playing under a fellow Englishman in Conor McDonald.

Andy Stockbridge:
“I’m elated to come and get some experience with Bordeaux. The team is fighting for the title and competing in the Champions League this season and really look like they are going places.

“I’m really looking forward to working under the gaffer who has told me everything I need to know from the perspective of somebody coming from England to play in France. It’s a big job this season but I can’t wait to get started.”

Ligue 1 rules dictate clubs can only register five loan players at one time during a season and Stockbridge is Bordeaux’s fifth loan player on the books following Khalid Abboubi’s loan spell from Juventus becoming permanent in early January.

Bordeaux will be paying all of Stockbridge’s €54,000 per week contract at Chelsea and he has been given the number 15 shirt for Bordeaux this season.

In other Bordeaux-related news, Under-19 prospect Patrick Lafarge has been sold to Portuguese club Sporting for a fee of €1,100,000.

Seb: Marechal is a big loss, don't get me wrong. We had to rush to get a replacement in Stockbridge as it was deadline day, so we will just have to see how well Stockbridge does to emulate Marechal's evidently great performances.
Scott: Sadly no one was available for the price I wanted that was suitable enough to replace Marechal. Stockbridge will have a big burden on his shoulders to replace him!
Stockbridge looks a decent player. Perhaps not to the level of Marechal but on a temporary basis he will be decent enough to plug the gap until a permanent suitor is found.
Another good loanee, with Conor seemingly very keen on making those loan deals here. I wonder if Stockbridge could be made permanent come the end of the season as he looks packed full of potential. I imagine it would cost a pretty sizable figure though.

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