The Cuckoo Transfer-Market Strategy; Let Others Develop The Talents For You

Not everyone starts his FM career with a top side with the financial means and facilities to crank out homegrown talent on a regular basis. In fact, some clubs are severely strapped for cash and cannot free funds to invest heavily in the development of talent. Just fielding a somewhat-decent first team squad takes up most of the available funds so developing your own talent isn’t really an option. How exactly do you improve a club like that? You let others develop the talents for you as if you were some sort of FM variant of the cuckoo.

You see, cuckoos are notorious tricksters, shortcutting the chores of parenthood by hiding its eggs in the nest of other birds, which wind up hatching and raising them. A similar strategy can be applied to FM if you know where to look, how to scout and what to look out for. You let other clubs develop talents only for you to snap them up and use them; the cuckoo transfer-market strategy.

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Tale Of Two Sons – Decision Time

Both in life and in Football Manager, it is prevalent that even the most carefully thought plans often go out the window when reality and particularly in FM, the simulation shows up on the stage. This was also the case with my AS Roma save that I used to present this article for Guido and Strikerless. As I originally wrote in the first part,  I had very straightforward ideas for both my young players when I was loaning them out to get the much needed first team minutes.  They needed those minutes to get themselves where I wanted them to be or more specifically I thought where they would be in the hierarchy of my AS Roma organisation. This time, however, I got to experience one of those lovely surprises that FM so kindly sometimes gives you to keep you going even further into the cave further away from the light some people call Real Life.

I already went over my initial plans and thoughts about loaning in the first part, so this one is all about the results and conclusions I ended up with loaning these chaps out on different teams over the course of few seasons. Both of them were loaned out as first team regulars or more to get them the most exposure a player can have as a loanee. Without any further ado, let us jump into action, shall we.

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Instilling Fighting Spirit Into Your Squad

While the old Greeks never played football, one of Plato’s quotes can easily be applied to any footballing context. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Some people fawn over Barcelona and whichever team Pep is managing and their one-touch football. Others prefer the more energetic and physical brand of football played by the likes of Klopp and Pochettino. There are others still who have a taste for an even more physical, almost violent brand of football.

If you don’t have the players to play a technically or tactically demanding still, is playing aesthetically pleasing football still a goal in itself or can beauty be found in being efficient and maximising the resources you have? Can you compensate for a lack of technical (and tactical) skills by instilling a fighting-spirit into your squad?

The Italians call it “grinta”, a word that loosely translates to “grit” in English, but there is more to it than just grit. Grinta is more like when you not only dig deep and play against all the odds, but you play with heart, you leave your soul on the pitch, your every last bit of sweat and blood.  The Argentines use a similar term, called fibra, and the Germans call it Kampfgeist. When we’re going to look at how a concept like that would work in FM, who better to ask for help than Tony, @FM_Grasshopper, the man who made “FIBRA” a well-known phrase in the blogging community.

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Tale of Two Sons – A Loan Report

I bet there must be tonnes of guides and references on grooming players by loaning them out and I should know since I have probably read most of them during my time with CM/FM series. However, I have never touched it in more detail myself. I think I have mentioned my loan strategies here and there, but maybe this time I try to put all the eggs in the same basket and see how it comes together. With this piece, I seek to narrow down the philosophy I use while I am loaning young players out.

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Porting A Strikerless Tactic To Include Strikers

Strikerless football is not a style that appeals to everyone. Some are set in their ways and feel forwards are an integral part of their team. Others feel it’s an exploit to play in this way. There are also people who don’t like the aesthetics of this particular brand of football. Whatever their reasoning may be, there are plenty of people who would prefer not to play without strikers. Fortunately for them, all strikerless tactics can be converted to more conventional with-strikers tactics. This article focusses on changing tactics from strikerless to a more traditional style.

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Help, We Got Promoted, What Do We Do Now?

Winning promotion with your side is generally a momentous occasion in one’s managerial career. Whether you’ve been building towards this promotion for months, meticulously analysing your opponents, ingeniously thwarting their tactical setups and carefully guarding the morale of your squad, or maybe it came as a surprise as you stumbled through the playoffs – either way, winning a promotion represents a milestone that is worthy of celebration.

When you have won that precious promotion, you’re probably feeling a range of emotions all at once; surprised, excited, nervous. It is now time to capitalise on all that energy you feel so you can respond appropriately!

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What Drives Player Development; Dispelling The Determination & Work Rate Myth

Despite evidence to the contrary being around since 2012 (thanks again Shrewnaldo and Maestro Ugo), there are still plenty of people who believe that players with high Determination and/or Work Rate attributes develop their current ability faster because they apply themselves better during training sessions somehow. After all, if someone is determined and works hard then surely they will reach their potential faster, won’t they? As you may have guessed, the title being a dead-on giveaway, this is not the case.

Just to re-iterate my point; the attributes Determination and Work Rate only apply within matches. These attributes contribute nothing at all to the development of a player during training sessions. The driving factor behind the development of youngster is the Professionalism attribute.

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International Management; A Missed Opportunity In FM17

Winning international silverware is considered an honour. In fact, some would argue it’s the crowning achievement of one’s career. Carrying a team to a World Cup, European Championship or Copa América can propel one’s career to legendary status. Just ask people like Maradona, Van Basten or Zidane, all of them were great players, who will always be remembered for their international exploits.

So why then is the international management aspect of Football Manager as flawed as it apparently is? Winning a World Cup or any international trophy should be the pinnacle of your managerial career but in FM, managing a national team always feels like a chore. It’s not fun because there are some obvious flaws and shortcomings in the way the game approaches international football.

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The Northman Does Moneyball

 

Welcome to 2023 and Darlington 1883, I have been at the club since the 2016/2017 season, and the fans love me, the board think I can walk on water but I am yet to bring glory to the club. Yes, I have secured us as a National League North club, but let’s be honest, this is nothing special so why are they so happy? Maybe finances, maybe our promotion to the National League Premier in 2018/2019 via the playoffs? I doubt it because that was followed with a relegation the season after, thus me mentioning that we are a secure National League North club. I can only assume it is due to me spending most of this journey refusing to spend money, refusing to give out wages to anyone who comes through the door… Making Darlington 1883 one of few clubs actually financially safe, well, -189k at the minute but with us being able to balance the books during pre-season and cup runs each season whilst others must be struggling, surely, they are spending a lot more than me as we will see in the image below.

Darlington Salary 2023

The starting point is here. We are spending less than everyone else, but we are still losing money each month, so it is now time to dive into what we are taking from Brad Pitt’s club and what we…. Wait, I have just been informed that this is a real story and it’s not about Brad Pitt, and he is really an actor… well, it seems I must delete all the quotes I had from him then.

Romantic about Football

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What We Look For In New Players; Limiting Chances Of A Transfer Debacle

He was once labelled as the “next Pele” after turning pro at age 14, yet his career so far can only be described as an underwhelming fiasco. Freddy Adu was supposed to become a phenomenon, he was destined to become Lionel Messi before there was a Lionel Messi. That is the best way to describe the level of nonsensical hype that surrounded Adu when he began his professional career surprisingly many years ago at the age of 14. An MLS-driven marketing machine proclaimed him their American saviour, and the magazine covers and TV commercials alongside Pele helped make him a household name before he ever became a professional starter.

Fast forward to 2016 and rather than saviour, Adu is seen as a cautionary tale. And he knows all too well what his name has become in the world of soccer, if not all sports. It has become synonymous with failure and unrealized potential. You seemingly can’t go a few months without someone trotting out Adu’s name when discussing sports busts and unmet expectations. But could this all have been prevented somehow? Could this bust have been averted by either player or the various clubs?

From a Football Manager perspective, the choices a player makes off the pitch, while certainly a factor of importance in Adu’s tale, are negligible to us since we cannot influence them. There are other factors we can influence though, factors that could, in an advanced stage of looking for new players warn us to stay away from a certain player.

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