Collateral Damage; What To Do With Excess (All) Strikers?

Let’s just presume you have fallen under the spell of the siren song of strikerless tactics. Otherwise, why would you be here, on Strikerless.com? By its very name, a strikerless formation has no need for actual strikers. So, when you are hell-bent on playing a strikerless formation, you are going to have to find solutions for your excess bagage; the strikers you have inherited in the squad you have just taken control of. What do you do with excess (most if not all) strikers?

So what are the most effective and efficient ways to get rid of those banes of my Football Manager existence; strikers? If you’re the kind of guy that’s not interested in long, winded posts, here’s the TL;DR version:

  1. Re-train them;
  2. Sell them,;
  3. Loan them away.

Solution 1: Re-training The Fuckers

The most economic measure consists of re-training your players. It will give your team additional cover without any further financial expense. Natural strikers can be retrained to play as attacking midfielders or wingers. If you want to read more in-depth information about the actual re-training process, I would like to refer you to this post by Playing Between The Lines. I am more interested in a different matter, should you bother to re-train your players at all.

The article I referred to earlier mentions a few factors you should consider when re-training your players:

  • The level of familiarity the player already has with the position;
  • The player’s ‘Versatility’ attribute;
  • The amount of (expected) playing time in the new position.

I will not delve further into the aforementioned factors, as I feel the original article does so quite well and I don’t want to sound repetitive. I would like to add a few extra factors I always consider:

  • Can the player fulfill the roles my tactic uses?
  • Can I afford to sign adequate replacements?

My tactics generally utilise central attacking midfielders in an Enganche or Shadow Striker role. These are roles that come with certain prerequisites and expectations. If a player cannot meet these, there’s no use in re-training them at all.

Just look at the requirements for the roles I want my players to play.

Role: Shadow Striker

  • Technical: Finishing, First Touch, Passing, Tackling, Technique
  • Mental: Anticipation, Composure, Flair, Off The Ball, Work Rate
  • Physical: Agility, Stamina

Role: Enganche

  • Technical: Finishing, First Touch, Passing, Technique
  • Mental: Anticipation, Composure, Creativity, Flair, Off The Ball
  • Physical: –

If a player does not fit the mould, would it be smart to keep him around? If he cannot effectively play in the role(s) your tactic uses, you really have no need for such a player, which automatically leads us to a second solution.

Solution 2A; Selling The Fuckers Straight Away

Selling players is often inevitable. Strikers are often amongst the more valuable players in your squad and letting them rot away in the reserves or on the bench would be a bad idea from an economic perspective. It makes no sense to let expensive players peter away like that. Not only are you destroying their market value, you are still obliged to pay them their full wages. The Rule Of Djalminha (too many bitching players will eventually see your ass getting sacked) offers extra incentive to get rid of strikers quickly, as you don’t want unhappy players disrupting the dressing room harmony.

To summarise, it makes sense to sell your strikers straight away, before a spot on the bench can ruin morale and the players’ value. If a player cannot be re-trained, don’t wait too long before selling them to other clubs. When you are selling high profile players, you can turn a nice profit. If you’re selling squad fillers, just be prepared to cut your losses when needed. Getting 50% of his value is often better than paying his wages for a full season and having him stink up the team’s morale before said player fucks off even cheaper.

Solution 2B; Loaning The Fuckers Away (And Then Selling Or Releasing Them When The Opportunity Arises)

In some cases, players just won’t attract sufficient attention, either due to a lack of talent, excessive demands in terms of wages or transfer fee or just plain bad luck, with injuries getting in the way. In such cases, it might be a smart idea to try and loan the player away. This serves two purposes.

For starters, said player can attract interest from other clubs because he performs well. If this player is loaned to another club and manages to score a fair share of goals, he will definitely attract interest from other clubs. If you want to loan a player away with the sole purpose of putting him in the shop window, you should consider sending him to an affiliate club. When they come back from their loan deal, you can try to sell them again.

Secondly, a loan move could also help keep his wages in check. If you manage to find a club which is willing to take over his wages (or part of them), you generate more financial space for your own club. Affiliate clubs are generally a bad idea for these kind of loan deals, as they are often not required to pay any wages. If such a player is unsellable, loaning him away to paying clubs until his contract expires is a decent way to minimise your losses.

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