It seems like a long time since the Auxerre save was cruelly robbed from me in a hideous corruption of a save game file. I’ve honestly struggled with FM since. I’ve made it through a season with about five different clubs, but wasn’t interested in progressing any further than that. I feel like I’ve not really been planning things out properly and just hoping for the best and for things to fall into place. So, now that I feel inspired to do something again, it’s time to write it all down and make sense of it all.
Choosing a club to manage is a tiresome experience for me, I’m sure I’ve mentioned that countless times in the past. For this save, I wanted to be in a top league and I wanted a team that could potentially challenge for top four with the right tactics/recruitment. I also needed a team capable of playing the system I wanted.
I narrowed it down to an Italian team or a Spanish team. The Italian teams I was interested in, Udinese and Empoli, didn’t have the right type of squad available or the capital to amend that. Looking at Spain, Villarreal were the main team for me to consider. Good squad, good stadium and money to be made if I want to change things up. So, Villarreal it is.
I like to have the best support staff I can get, in place at the club. That means signing staff with the right personalities and mental attributes. I always go for positive personalities and it’ll be no different here. I never really focused on the mental attributes of my staff in the past, but I’ve had a change of approach recently and consider it more important now.
My players personalities can be tutored, so I’m less worried about them, although I do take them into consideration them when shopping. I have a set of core attributes I want from players though. Ideally, I want them to be hard working and intelligent. Role and Duty selection will also mean I add other core attributes such as pace, concentration, movement and technical ability. It’s a team game, so I rarely sign players that don’t contribute something in terms of work.
Within the first three years, I’d like a trophy. The league is going to be incredibly tough, but the Copa Del Rey or the Europa League might be attainable with a favourable run. Can we challenge for the league in the future? Possibly, but it’s not an aim for the first while, although a top four spot is something I’ll be aiming for as early as possible.
Villarreal tend to be a selling club, they buy players cheap and usually sell them on for good money. In the past, they’ve also signed players from big clubs that need to be the main man. Riquelme is probably the best example of this.
I usually set myself a rule of not signing anybody over 27 in a save as it can be a waste of money as you’ll never get that cash back. I run my clubs like a business so I always want to be in the black financially.
So, I’ll be adhering to the following guidelines when signing players.
- Try not to sign anybody over 24, unless available on a Bosman deal.
- Scout extensively and trust the scouts opinions.
- Use statistics to back up scouting data.
- Accept offers of double player value.
- Always have players lined up.
- Upgrade where possible, or promote youth players try not to buy backups.
It’s quite straightforward I think. I suppose I should have some sort of caveat in place in case I want to sign a player for tutoring purposes. I’ll obviously have players in the squad that are over 24 and will age to be over 24, but sometimes an experienced player can make the job a lot easier. I’d limit this sort of signing to one a season if needed. I’m also ok with signing players over 24 if they are free as I have no initial financial outlay to lose.
With regards to scouting and having replacements lined up, I’m usually quite disorganised. I end up panic searching for players and that is frustrating. I don’t currently have a scouting system in place and it’s something I always feel I could be better at. Once I’ve figured something out, I’ll go into a bit of detail on it. Going to try and use some statistics to backup my reasons for purchase.
The last point is really important. I see people sign players to be backup choices. Buy players to challenge for the first team or be the new first team player.. or even buy/promote a good youth prospect.
We’re not really setup to be a proficient youth development machine. That’s something that will take time and finances to get in place. I’ll revisit this in a future post but will keep an eye on the situation if someone great comes along.
We all see tactics differently and it’s open to debate about how you should/could set your tactics up to achieve a certain style. I’m being pretty honest and saying that I’m struggling with tactics right now. I go through phases where I can do no wrong, but then I need to remind myself of the basics.
In FM16, the 4141 has been my favourite formation. It’s defensively quite solid and with the right setup, it can break forward to be really efficient. I’m thinking of using a “counter” style(note, not a counter attacking style) with only a few instructions. I’m not going to go too into depth about my tactic, but in the few games I’ve used it, I’ve been happy with the results and the performances. We’re keeping the ball well and using it effectively. I’m not setting myself up to be a counter attacking team that sits back on the break, but I like the counter mentality. It’s a bit more patient and measured compared to some of the higher mentality choices.
The squad you start the game with is actually pretty good. There’s a good goalkeeper in Sergio Asenjo, although he is injured. A decent backup in Alphonse Areola. Mateo Musacchio is my obvious stand out central defender, but Eric Bailly and Victor Ruiz are no slouches. We’ve got two good starting full backs, but no real backups. Youth options could be the way forward in these positions.
The midfield has an abundance of talent. Denis Suarez is the obvious stand out player, but youngsters Nahuel Leiva and Rodri have promising futures, while Bruno adds an assured experienced head will always back them up.
Up front we have Léo Baptistão on loan from Atletico, the experienced Roberto Soldado and the sadly underrated Cedric Bakambu in the mix too.
Some players will likely leave during the first transfer window as big clubs are circling around the likes of Trigueros and Mario. Hopefully I’ll be able to fend off lowball bids and stick to my rules outlined above.
In my next post, I’ll take a look at the staff I’ve brought into the club, how I’m approaching training and how I deal with pre-season.