Managing your finances is always a tricky part of the immersive Football Manager adventure. Many of us are tempted to splash around a lot of cash like an Arab sheikh on a quest to win the Champions League but since most clubs do not have a sugar daddy backing them up, such a strategy will ultimately lead to a rude awakening and inevitable downfall. Being more prudent with the financial resources at your disposal is a far more wise strategy. The following tips will help you in saving some money along the way.

  • 1 – Consider loan deals as a way of making money.

When I managed Dundalk on FM17 a player was loaned out for £10k per month played/unused with 100% wages paid. This covered the club’s entire wage bill. With bigger teams like Ajax and Barcelona, they can raise £30m+ in loan deals. I’ve only managed to get a maximum of £250k per month played unused regardless of how good the player is. This included £100% of wages paid, most of the time.

Two screenies show how much we raised in one window for the season. £25.5m this season and £34.5m was raised last season. A second screenie shows how much we have been able to make out of one player without him leaving the club. There’s a good chance that he will leave at the end of his contract. This ending is not a bad thing. No-one is upset at being pushed out, the player doesn’t fall out with me the rest of the team is none the wiser. Either way, we have been able to make almost £9m from a player still on the books. The black mark on this screenie is the previous manager bought him for £10.5m to play back-up to Ter Stegen.

For some reason when a player is offered out for a loan he doesn’t complain, yet if offered out for transfer all hell breaks loose. No harm in offering out for a loan. If no-one wants the player, then he’s still yours to play.

One last thing. I wouldn’t recommend bringing in players 28+yrs old. I spent £4.3m bringing in Javier Pastore. He was signed on a free, but signing on fee and agent fee made the deal not so cheap, this and his wages. I did salvage something from a Moussa Dembele transfer. Signed him on a free as a 32yr old but on decent wages. The idea of him arriving and then leaving on loan didn’t go according to plan. It was a full season before I got him shifted out on loan for a good fee. This probably just covered his wages from last season and then he was getting his wages paid while out on loan. Left on a free in the end. Then I made the Pastore mistake.

  • 2 – Contacts without Bonuses.

In transfer negotiations, I now always remove all bonuses and clauses. In Spain there are non-removable release clauses, these can be a burden but most are forgotten about.

My reasons for this arguably drastic approach is down to reducing the amount of money the club has to pay out. I loaded up a Barcelona save from the start to see the difference between then and my Barcelona save in 2021. In the month of September Barcelona paid out £3.7m in bonuses with the wage bill at £213m pa, according to league stats. In my save in 2021 the bonuses for January were £126k with the wages at £196m. While I haven’t saved a great deal on wages, I think I’ve saved plenty on bonuses. I only mention this because the players are all collectively costing the club money through bonuses, and my idea of Moneyball is about reducing costs through the players individually and collectively, as well as making money from them.

One example that I hope makes sense is my ST; Jesús Ángel Navarro.

If I gave him a new contract right now and he gave me a repeat performance of his last 5 months, including his agent fee, we would be nearly £4.2m worse off.

I haven’t been convinced that better bonuses make better results, especially when you take into account what you have to pay out on certain circumstances. (As mentioned on twitter) If have a 5 man defence and a GK (obvs) all with clean sheet bonuses, how much more are you spending? Add on goal scoring bonuses for anyone that scores at least once.

Some players have goal scoring targets, wage rises after so many appearances and a load of others. Just bin them.

This tip more applies to young players – Add in the ‘Optional Contract Extension by Club’. It can be put up to 3yrs, so a 5yr contract with another possible 3 added on by the club. With any luck, you’ll be paying minimal wages as well. It is very likely that a player or his agent will fight you on this, but persevere. It might take 3 rounds of offering him out to other clubs.

  • 3 – Contracts WITH Bonuses

Considering that I made a good case for removing ALL bonuses, I am now going to make a case for trying to use them to lower the wage demands. The only time I would expect this is for loaning out purposes and most certainly not for playing the player. I haven’t dabbled with this at all, but I have signed players on a free with no intention of playing them. These players could’ve had their wages lowered and bonuses raised, possibly making them more desirable for loaning and not costing the club so much if they are at the club for any length of time. So, maybe have a stab at this.

This is my first real attempt at doing it. The player is at the bottom of the post.

  • 4 – Bidding For A Player

Something I have been dabbling with is using clauses to lure a club into accepting so that I can buy their player. Offering £Xm after 50 appearances and others such as winning the Champions League, has helped me to get the selling club to accept a lower upfront transfer fee. This is something that shouldn’t be thrown about. If using the ‘after 50 appearances clause’, to get a lower upfront fee with the intention of selling on, then keep an eye on your messages. Usually, you get one about 5 games before the clause is paid out.

I have used it a couple of times to get a transfer listed player that is already being offered out for less than his value, just a little bit cheaper.

This is something I do every time I’m bidding for a young player that I know I’m getting at a low price or he has high potential – Additional Clauses – ‘add’ – select ‘Percentage of Profit From Next Sale’ – and then click on the option of the clause and select ‘Remove and Exclude From Negotiation’. I find it’s the first thing that the selling club does with bids for young players. After that, it’s wise to not pay too much.

  • 5 – Selling A Player

The AI has a nasty habit of making poor bids for good players. The only tip I can really offer is to make an effort to get the ‘Percentage of Next Sale’ clause in and set it at 50%. I have been on the receiving end of this clause and it is sweet getting news of a former player getting sold. As the AI isn’t keen on offering out decent amounts upfront, I do my best to make use of the ’50 appearances clause’. The AI will try to spread the costs through other clauses. Make sure you keep bumping them up, keep an eye on the overall value of the bid too.

  • 6 – Nicknames

Not really a tip as such. When I get a player really cheap or costs very little in fees, I tend to nickname them. I signed a 28yr old player called Verdi at the end of his contract, but cost £275k in fees. I added the cost to his name as a little reminder that I need to make money from him. I did but after a season. Loaned him out for £250k pm, bringing in £2.5m.

Another player I signed with the sole purpose of being loaned out had the nickname ‘Do Not Play’ added to his name. The reason for this I have halved his wages but bumped up his bonuses a little with the hope he bites. He did. He is now out on loan before I even acknowledged his existence to the media, raising £500k by the end of the season. Only another £200k to go before he makes a profit.

I hope that you find these tips useful. This isn’t the only way to play a ‘Moneyball save’, but it is my preferred way. Good luck.


Brendan · January 17, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Good article. I made a ton of money in FM17 using Guido’s ‘Juventus gambit’ with my Milan team. Similar to yourself I made over £30m from loan fees alone in one season. A good tip is to sign premier league quality British players for free or transfer listed. I loan them straight back to premier league clubs after Brexit.

    Stouters · January 25, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    The idea of getting quality British players almost happened. The likes of Smalling and Jones were available, but I couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to send them out on loan. I didn’t want a couple of players on big wages rotting away.

Dexter Hovis · January 17, 2018 at 5:32 pm

Good Article. From paragraph 3 “Contracts with Bonuses” am I correct to deduce that a player’s bonuses are not paid when he out on loan?

Josep (@Jawsytown) · January 18, 2018 at 8:03 am

My favorite thing to do when signing over the hill tutors is to give an extremely low wage, but offer them a ton in appearance fees.
Their initial demands may be 1m p/a but I can get them to nearly 100k sometimes and just never play them. Sometimes after 6 months, the tutoring is done and they want to leave and you can even loan them out for a fee, or sell them.

Vissy · January 21, 2018 at 12:59 am

I wonder what the player would do if he looks at his manager’s player notes and finds his nickname “Brad Brankshaw DO NOT PLAY”

    Stouters · January 25, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Definitely smiled when I read this.

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