The Juventus Gambit; Why Hoarding Players Can Pay Off

The title “Juventus gambit” is bound to raise questions. Before I explain, let me illustrate a point upfront. How many transfers do you think Juventus has done this season? Transfermarkt has the answer; 74 in, 79 out, which includes youth players. This isn’t incidental, last season the grand Old Lady of Italian football had 75 incoming players compared to 81 players leaving Juventus. The season before that, the numbers were at 59 incoming, 63 outgoing.

These are staggering numbers, to say the least, mindboggling would come closer to an accurate description of the status quo. When you look at these figures more closely, you can see that they are somewhat inflated by the sheer number of loan deals Juventus does. The Bianconeri seem to loan a tonne of players away every season, despite most of these never reaching first team status. This raises the question regarding the motives of the Turin club in doing so.

This rather straightforward question yields an equally uncomplicated answer; it’s a lucrative business to loan away youngsters like that, with the added side-effect that those who develop spectacularly can be integrated into the first team squad. Let’s take a look at an example taken from real life.

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The dashing youngster above is Vykintas Slivka, a Lithuanian midfielder. Juventus signed him from Lithuanian top side Ekranas, before loaning him away to Modena, NK Gorica, FC Den Bosch and Ascoli. Presumably, most of these clubs paid for his wages on top of a small loan fee. Another example of such a player is Dutch-Moroccan Ajax midfielder Ouasim Bouy, bought by Juventus but loaned to the likes of Panathinaikos, FC Zwolle, HSV, Brescia and Palermo. While we’re dealing with relatively small numbers here, many small numbers will still add up to a rather hefty sum. This strategy is what I have dubbed the Juventus gambit, and in this article, I will show you how to replicate this strategy in FM.

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The Life of Youth Developer

Youth development is such a favourite hobby for me in FM17. Just imagine the excitement you get when you get a youth from the academy youth intake, and then you congratulate your Head of Youth Development for a good job. All the prayers you done has been answered , and with a huge luck , you will be grateful for the youth candidates. And then you decide where can he be, your u18 or is he good enough for u21 or even crazier talent who deserves to be in first team squad.

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Brexit Happened; What Now?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

-Socrates

Socrates believed that in order to change, one has to accept it. He emphasised that instead of harping on lost time, a change should inspire us to build something new, which leads us nicely to the whole drama that has become Brexit.

Unless you have been living under a rock the past year, you will have heard about Brexit, one of the biggest political decisions taken in the UK since the Second World War. Before the EU referendum, debate raged about what the impact would be of a vote to leave the EU. Now the country has backed Brexit, the consequences and ramifications of this decision are still somewhat murky.

While the rest of the world holds its breath to see what happens when (and if) Article 50 is triggered, Football Manager 2017 features several Brexit scenarios, which model some of the consequences of the UK leaving Europe. In this article, we want to look at these scenarios and what to do if one of these occurs in your save-game.

One of the more radical scenarios
One of the radical Brexit scenarios

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Surviving The Drop; Rebuild Or Spend?

Last season was a spell in Dante’s inferno for quite a few renowned clubs throughout Europe. Aston Villa and Newcastle United were relegated to the Championship in England, Traditionsverein VfB Stuttgart dropped a division in Germany, whilst renowned clubs such as Werder Bremen, HSV, Deportivo La Coruña and Valencia barely stayed above the relegation line.

So what is next for those clubs condemned to spend at least a season away from the limelight of top flight football? How do they pick themselves up after their disastrous spell from last season? How do they survive the drop? We look at strategies regarding rebuilding such relegated clubs with James (@FMPressure) and Matthias (@DerFManager), who share their own experiences.

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Everything You Wish You Didn’t Have To Experience But Really Ought To Know Regarding Injuries

It’s a returning gripe for many FM players, inexperienced newcomers and seasoned veterans alike. The injuries. Quite often they are absolutely ludicrous. The sheer number of injuries sometimes forces you to take desperate measures. The dreaded red and orange crosses in-game are often foreboding of bad news. They are more reviled by FM players than actual crosses are by vampires.

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!! MY EYES!!!!! IT BURNSSSSSS!!!!

Indeed, many a run of good form has been brutally cut short by an untimely and severe injury streak to certain key players of the squad. And what exactly are those doctors up to at times? Eight weeks out for a sprained ankle? Did they amputate his foot and clone an entirely new foot for him in some jar?

An amputation scene in a field hospital tent portrays an orderly holding a soldier in place while a surgeon works on his gangrene-blackened leg.
A club physio dealing with a knee injury. Actual in-game portrayal might differ slightly.

There are times when I seriously wonder if I wouldn’t be better off by hiring some voodoo witch doctor and letting him deal with this mess. Yet every year when a new version comes around, I get optimistic and try to sort out the mess and try to deal with the constant flow of fallen footballers doing their war veteran impression by rolling on the floor, clutching their leg and shouting “MEDIC!” off the top of their lungs.

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Witch doctors are sadly not yet included in FM17.

In this article, I want to look at possible causes for injuries and what you can actually do to prevent them or at least minimize the risk somewhat. I have tried to be as thorough as possible and cover every angle in a semi-coherent and comprehensible fashion.

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Emulating La Masia; 07. First Team Action

So far, my Emulating La Masia series has looked at various factors that help you in developing your youngsters. However for all the promise of youth development and improved standards, the development of players is the ‘easy part’, it is integrating them into the first team which matters most. Teams like Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and ironically enough in recent times Barcelona snap up top talents on a global scale and excel in various youth competitions, but in my eyes youth development is not about winning competitions, it’s about preparing players for professional football and I cannot remember too many academy players breaking into the first team in recent years at any of these sides.

Although the academy teams of these clubs can be regarded as being amongst Europe’s best and in terms of facilities and coaching they most certainly are, what is the point of having a youth academy if you do not attempt to produce players for your first team? If their youth development efforts are so impressive then it begs the question as to why there are so few youth academy prospects breaking into the first team.

Clubs need to find a way to bleed more youngsters into their team, to bridge the gap between youth and senior football much more effectively and as sides like Chelsea and Man City are showing, for all the money spent on facilities, coaching, and wages if they cannot integrate these young players into the first team squad then what really is the point? In terms of this article, we will look at the influence of first team football on the development of our youth players.

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