Strikerless

Dare to think outside the box

La Magica; The Monchi Files — 07. The Art Of Negotiating A Good Deal (Selling)

Being able to maximise your recruitment process – your conveyor belt of talent from either your academy or other clubs – is just one part of what makes or breaks a club in the transfer market. When engaging within transfer negotiations, clearly, the buying club aims to bargain for the lowest price possible, while the selling club naturally tries to market the player for a much higher amount. The final transfer sum will be somewhere between these two, depending on the two teams bargaining power.

It can be influenced by the possible available substitutes (i.e. other players), the talent and skills of the player(s) in question, and the estimates that the respective clubs assign regarding the marginal utility of the player’s talent. Considering that it is a team sport, the value of individual talent and skills greatly depends on the team the player is contracted to. The extent of how much the buying and selling clubs’ bargaining power influences the signing price is still debated and vary according to a number of factors that may even come from the player himself.

The start of the negotiation process, from the selling point of view, is the part where a good manager (or Director of Football) is also able to negotiate a reasonable price, as this can earn his club many millions extra. Negotiating a good deal is a complicated game between guestimating the value of a player, assessing what the buying club is willing to pay for him and being able to extract as much money as you can out of the deal.

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La Magica; The Monchi Files — 06. Shadow Lists

Looking at modern football – how is it possible that the richest clubs own more wealth than the rest of the clubs combined? The circumstances are often in their favour, whether that be in terms of the country they are from, potential markets they can access and financial windfalls that can be generated as a result. Yet, at times, they still lose out to smaller, financially less powerful clubs, be it in individual matches or even over the course of a season. Is this a fluke, some random event where the underdogs were favoured by Lady Luck? Or do some clubs continue to defy the odds and is there a lesson to be learned here?

Clubs, such as Basel, Sevilla, Porto, Ajax, are entrepreneurial – they attempt through the lens of time, the need, and aspiration of the market. Their achievements over the past decade or so, both domestically and internationally, did not happen by chance. They all laboured strenuously to get to and stay in the position they are in this world and remain there. Opportunity is created daily and it’s all around us. Yet, only a few are able to seize it and turn it into a blessing. Football management is nothing different.

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Are Traditional Strikers Dying Out?

There was once a time not too long ago that having a dynamic, lumbering striker was almost necessary for success. The likes of Fernando Torres, Carlos Tevez and Robin Van Persie were some of the most prolific goal scorers on the planet in most of the decade spanning from 2000 until 2010.

Since then, however, things have changed. While many of the world’s best clubs still deploy traditional strikers, others have opted for a strikerless attack. In the 2018 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United, Blues boss Antonio Conte opted to deploy a starting XI sans a traditional striker. With Alvaro Morata on the bench, Conte chose to play winger Eden Hazard as a de-facto “striker” instead. The Belgian would go on to score the game’s lone goal in the 1-0 victory.

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Understanding Roles In Football Manager (And Real Life) (Part 2)

Hey there guys, hope you all liked the part one posted last week. As said earlier, in this part I’ll be explaining the roles of the center midfield strata. At first, I thought of including the MR/ML as well, but rethinking it’d be better to put in part three, where we’ll get to see the wide players and the defense roles, as it would make the post way too big and tiresome for the readers. So I’ll pretty much continue to explain the central positions, from the attack to the middle, starting by the AMC strata, then the MC so to end with the DMC roles. Hope you guys enjoy it.

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Understanding Roles In Football Manager (And Real Life) (Part 1)

One of the toughest parts in playing Football Manager (FM) is understanding the roles of the players and how they work in-game. For a better understanding, I’ll be trying to describe each role here, focusing on their movement and their needs in the game. For instance, I’ll start this part one explaining the strikers and Attacking midfielders wide roles inside FM18, then in the next days I’ll be publishing the ones relative from the other positions in the field.

First of all, there is something quite catchy to understand in the FM world that is the duties of the players. Defend, support and attack have their importance in what the player will do but also defines which part of the field the player will act. If in an attack duty, a player might be pushed forward than others in the same position, but with a support duty. Thinking the spaces the players start combined with the pockets of space in the field they will move into is fundamental to the task of perfecting a tactic whilst making the most of your squad.

In the first roles described here, you will see two lines in white crossing the field, to show this spatial distance between players in different duties and how they tend to act. After these few examples, I think the understanding of this concept will be a bit easier and the lines won’t be needed. Having said that, let’s begin with the AMRL roles existing in the game (as of FM18).

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Creating An Effective Battering Ram

Most avid FM players have encountered situations like these before. Whatever the exact circumstances, you desperately need to score a goal but the opposition is stifling your forwards by erecting a living wall of human bodies in and just outside of their own penalty area. Despite hopelessly outclassing the other side in terms of possession and shots on goal, your team is just not scoring any goals. These defensive exploits are frustrating you and your team, as the opposing team refuses to be led to the slaughter. In an effort to break down the opposing defence, you could employ an old-fashioned battering ram. It makes sense; when finesse is not sufficient to break down an especially tenacious and dogged defence, brute force might offer an effective alternative.

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The K O B E

Meet Oscar Ruíz. He’s a 21-year-old Colombian player that we got for less than 2 M from Atlético Nacional. Truth be told, he was one of those bargains that I just couldn’t let slip past me. As it is, we have too many Colombian players in the reserve squad of River Plate or loaned away, due to the foreigner player restrictions of the game.


Oscar was a prospect, a hot one. But I had other great and experienced players in his same positions in the first team, waiting for a chance in the bench, fellow promises in the reserve squad and the magnificent Tovar, out on his 3rd loan at Flamengo. Yet Oscar found a crack, took it and left something bigger than his own name.

Yes, he’s got a first touch rating of 17, a 19 in determination, 16 in vision, work rate and technique and his passing skills are just below 15, but if you look closely, this Midfielder can also dabble as a central defender. So I thought about playing him for his midfielder stats in a Ball Playing Defender role and gaining an extra ballplayer in my 5-2-3. That didn’t cut it.

Before I get into the tactic itself, and how Oscar became pivotal to it, let me give you some context. The year is 2023, it’s my 5th season at River Plate, having arrived from Stoke City in the 2018/19 season. We’ve won it all. Five Argentinean leagues and 5 Copa Libertadores in a row, a couple of Supercups each year and reigning in the Club World Cup (against City, United, Chelsea and Bayern). But I don’t like the way we play. I’m Argentinean and a River Plate fan. That means that the 4-3-1-2 is part of my DNA. Thanks to Oscar, and my eagerness to give him a go, I found the missing link.

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La Magica; The Monchi Files — 05. Hoarding Or Surgically Signing

To say that transfers are an essential aspect of world football would not only be a massive understatement but also quite evident. Now more than ever, clubs spend enormous, almost obscene sums of money to attract good players. The record fees for players continue to rise every season, as the amount of money splashed around by the select few at the top continues to skyrocket to levels deemed preposterous a mere decade ago.

One of the effects of this gradual influx of money is the inflation of the transfer market. The transfer fees that both clubs and fans consider normal for relatively good players have risen exponentially in the last decade or so. Clubs like Real Madrid and the tycoon-lead English clubs have initiated this tendency to spend outrageous fees on often lukewarm players. Often, clubs will flex their respective financial muscles as much as they can to lure a specific player in or even keep players away from the competition. A club like FC Bayern, for example, is renowned for simply buying up the best players from potential competitors, even if they have no direct need for a specific player.

With this sort of panorama, it has become more and more important for clubs to anticipate their own needs and plan ahead. Swift and decisive action in the transfer market has become the deciding factor in getting great players’ signatures in contracts. In this regard, Football Manager is no different from the real world it attempts to simulate. The central question is, how do you plan ahead exactly?

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Creating A Quarterback From Your Defence

Those of you who follow the blog or my Twitter feed are well aware that I enjoy creating “new” roles by tweaking existing ones or using regular roles in extraordinary situations. I have dabbled with the Targetganche in the past, which was basically a Targetman-type player in the attacking midfield stratum but I was looking for something new and interesting for FM18.

In terms of football tactics, I try to think outside the box, which also means making use of underutilised resources. This train of thought automatically leads me to look at the central defenders. When your team is on the attack, the central defenders are almost always tasked with remaining behind to protect the defensive line and ensure the team is not caught by a counter-attack. The wing-backs are often tasked with adding to the offensive phases of the game but what if we could get the central defenders involved somehow to gain an extra edge?

When the team is pressing an opposing side, the offensive line is generally the first line of defence, as they pressure the opposition defence and try to either win back possession or force a long ball. When we mirror this idea, there has to be a way in which the defensive line or at least elements of the defensive line can act as the first layer of the offensive phase. The idea I had was hardly an original one, as people like Guardiola and Klopp use the same principle. I was going to use one of the central defenders as a sort of quarterback.

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