FM20: Player Recruitment

Each FM player will have their own views on recruitment, maybe they have no views on recruitment? What? No, I know, that’s crazy, everyone is passionate about signings. Nothing sends football fans into a frenzy like a transfer. Here I’m going to delve into my own transfer policy for FM20.

Age

lainez

Diego Lainez was 18 when he joined Betis

I may as well start off with a divisive part of recruitment, why not? Sign youngsters only, sign a mixture or sign veterans? We all have a preferred age range for signings. With the addition of Club Visions to FM20, the board can make it clear what their preferred policy is.

At Real Betis, they prefer me to sign U23 players.

That’s not a hard and fast rule, it doesn’t mean I can’t sign old players, it just means that they’d prefer more players in that age range. I’m ok with that. On previous version of FM, I favoured U23’s most of the time as I felt I could shape players better. It did come at the expense of experienced players. I’d bring players in who were young and I’d get excited. Before I knew it, I was selling off my first team player to fit in a youngster who was probably a couple of years away from being ready for the first team.

This year, I’ll obviously be following the U23 policy where possible, but hopefully when I’ve built the club up a bit, I’ll be looking at players who are at the peak of their power. Or maybe a player who has gone to a big club and not really had a good experience, but still has quality. Those players can sometimes be picked up for really cheap, so even at an older age, they’ll have resale value if they can rediscover their form.

Policy: Stick to U23’s mainly, but allow experience in if they offer instant quality.

Loans/Free Transfers

canales

Sergio Canales arrived for free

A Loan can be a great way to get a player into the club without spending a huge amount of money. If I’m really lucky, maybe no money at all. If I can’t find the right player to buy, I always scour the loan market. There’s a real possibility I could pick up someone who could be of better quality than what my budget stretches to.

I spent a long time searching the market for a solid, hard working, defensive minded midfielder. A few players really caught my eye, but their clubs wanted CRAZY money for them. I had pretty much given up on the idea of signing someone, but I checked the loan list and I found the right guy. Scott McTominay fitted the bill. No monthly fee, no transfer fee. I only had his weekly wages to pay. He’s added a lot of depth to my midfield and I’d feel confident throwing him into the side.

“But you’re developing someone else’s player?”

So what? When I can’t find the right deal due to fees, I’ll find the right deal for the short term, even if I have a large transfer budget. We’re going to benefit from a players talent for a low sum of money. If he does well, great, if he doesn’t, then it’s low risk.

Free Transfers are a dodgy game for me. Players and Agents tend to ask for large sums of money. I’ll be being a bit more vigilant about this sort of thing. I’m usually quite gung-ho with free transfers as there’s no fee involved, but transfer fees need to be well considered. I need to focus on agent and loyalty fees being realistic.

Policy:
Loans: Do it. Especially if I can’t get the right player for the right price.
Free Transfers: Be wary of high agent/player fees and large wages. Make sure it’s a good deal.

Markets

fekir

Fekir joined from Lyon in 2019

Certain markets will offer me better value for money than others. I think it’s quite well known that England massively over inflates the price of their players, but with Premier League money, every player is expensive.

I’ll be focusing my player recruitment on Argentina, Portugal and France as I think that these nations produce the types of players I’m most interested in and the prices seem to be on the low side.

Argentina is the only nation on this list that falls into the non-EU category, but players from there can gain Spanish nationality in two years rather than 10. That should free up spots for future foreigners fairly quickly. You tend to find creative attackers and hard working midfielders here, which is perfect for the style of play I use.

Sevilla Director of Football, Monchi, previously spoke about French players being “tactically and physically, one of the most complete on the market.” I don’t disagree. France has created some incredible players over the years and they’ve not always gone for crazy money.

Our other neighbour, Portugal, is also well known for producing fantastic players. Fantastic technical and intelligent types like Ronaldo, Rui Costa and Figo have excited fans for years. In previous saves, I’ve picked up superb players from Portugal for what feels like pennies.

Spanish players are obviously important and although it would be assumed I’d be looking at home, I thought I better mention it. Domestic transfers tend to be inflated so getting high quality players means paying high prices. The odd bargain will pop up with players playing abroad.

Policy: Sign from anywhere, but focus on buying players of Argentian, French and Portuguese nationality and from those countries/leagues.

Director of Football

krasnikov

Krasnikov is going to be a busy man

The Director of Football is an important cog in the machine when I do transfers. It has been for a couple of years now. I’m not interested in haggling on transfers. Don’t get me wrong, I have in the past gone over his head and done a deal myself, but it’s rare.

Football Manager is a game so SI give us the ability to sign players and negotiate their contracts as the manager. At a club like Real Betis, the manager would never have anything to do with the contract negotiations, so the aim is to keep right out of it. Even if it means missing out on a player.

This also means that the DoF will be making a lot of financial decisions. I’ll set a transfer fee and wage limit for him to follow, but all other bonus’ etc will be down to him. I am not interested in how much a player gets for sitting on the bench or what percentage they’ll get in future. Contracts bore the hell out of me. That’s all down to Krasnikov.

So far, he’s doing a great job. I’ve missed out on no players and the financial side of all of his deals seems sound. I’ve set him lists of players to work his way through, but we’ve never had to go to the second choice option.

Policy: The DoF will do all of my transfer deals.

Sales
Sometimes I never want to see a player leave, sometimes I can’t wait to see the back of them. At all times, I want the most amount of money I can get for them.

Unlike with player purchases, the DoF will not be getting involved here. I’ve experimented with it previously and they just seem to accept the first offer that’s received. I tend to drive teams pretty hard, usually away and back a few times before we get a price agreed. I’m a horrible manager to negotiate with.

I know this massively contradicts what I’ve said about the DoF, but it just doesn’t seem to work right on the selling side of things.

In Spain, we don’t have the large sums of cash that the English top flight generates from TV deals. A lot of the money we’ll generate will come from player sales, so I need to make sure this is working well.

I think every club wants to make a profit on a player, it’s not always possible and sometimes you have to cut your losses. I know when to do this and I’ve built up huge financial prowess at teams previously.

Policy: I’ll handle all first team player sales.

Recap
So here it is in one little neat compact list. This is the TL;DR part if you couldn’t be bothered reading the rest.

Age: Sign U23’s mainly, but allow room for experience and quality.
Loans/Free Transfers: If a loan deal makes sense over buying a player, do it. Be wary of large agent fees and player wages on free transfers.
Markets: Focus on buying players of Argentinian, French and Portuguese nationality and from those leagues.
Director of Football: To negotiate all transfer deals and contracts within set limits by me.
Sales: Manager to negotiate all sales.

I can probably call this “Transfer Common Sense” rather than a Transfer Policy, but I’m quite happy with it. It’s not rocket science, it’s just being financially sensible. It’s really easy to get carried away when a bit of money comes into the club. If my time at Betis goes well, we’ll hopefully be financially secure enough to be signing the best of the best.

Q&A

Sounds like Moneyball to me… Hipster!
This is a statement, but I’ll address it. Buying low and selling high isn’t Moneyball, it’s just common sense. Moneyball is completely different. Read a book.

You’ve not mentioned how much you’ll spend, why?
Transfer spend is a fluid thing, it varies from player to player, club to club and season to season. I might spend €40m on a defender but limit myself to €20m for another defender. It depends.

Are you planning to limit the number of signings you make?
No.

Moneyb…
Fuck off!

When will you sell players?
When I either get a very good offer, or I have a better player to take his place.

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