Last week, I wrote about the player radars, how they worked, how they can be used and how you can make your own. Since writing that article, I have gained some new insights and I wanted to share these insights with a case study as the example. Starting off with the most important one of all, the initial site I shared was incomplete but someone was kind enough to point me towards a site that offers templates for forwards/attacking midfielders, central midfielders, full-backs and central defenders. You can find this site right here.
Allow me to show you how my star player performed this season. This is just a matter of showing off of course, but humour me. I could screenshot his history from the game, but if I really wanted to detail his style, I’d have to describe more statistics or include match clips. Yet I can convey how this player performed in a single image. Ready?
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.
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.
It’s rather funny really. Back in school, I hated mathematics and statistics as courses, so I wonder what my old maths teachers would say if they read my current statistical research. I guess it showcases the importance of motivation. Anyway, back to driving factors of youth development. This is a series that could go on for a while, as there are still quite a few factors I need to look at. The main reason why I did this series is to back up the Emulating La Masia series. I was hoping to use some of Shrewnaldo’s earlier research, but it appears to have disappeared together with the old TheDugout forums. That left me with no other choice but to do replicate his research in order to back up my own findings.
I have quite a few ideas on simulations to run in the future. The influence of first team action, the difference between coaches training, the importance of the facilities at a club and several other attribute combinations are all factors I intend to look at sometime in the future. However, these simulations take a bit of time and well… I do enjoy playing FM as well and all the time I spend simulating is rather precious time I cannot play the game, so I can’t and won’t promise anything in terms of a timeframe.
I do enjoy the feedback and interaction with the community this series has brought so far. Both through social media and the comments section, people are adding their thoughts to the mix, leading to new and refreshing insights. I have had to reconsider my basic development theory in favour of a much more logical current ability adaptation. So please, if you have your own ideas or suggestions, feel free to contact me and add your own thoughts. So far, there are few definitive answers so all ideas and suggestions could help make a difference.
As the title suggests, this article focusses on another attribute combination. We’ve had a look at Ambition, Professionalism, and Determination as individual factors, we have even had a look at the Determination / Professionalism combination. What I haven’t done is look at a combination between Ambition and Professionalism.
As quite a few people (thanks for that!) have read yesterday, I have started simulating scenario’s to match Shrewnaldo’s research from a few years ago on factors that drive youth development. Yesterday’s post showed us that the hidden attribute Professionalism seems to be a driving force behind proper development, whilst Determination, by many considered an absolutely crucial factor, yielded slightly more peculiar results, with some improvements across the board, but the range of this development being rather flat and oddly favored towards lower determination.
Naturally, such results demand a follow-up post. As Shrewnaldo pointed out earlier, I haven’t looked at the influence of ambition and as Ben (@ZeGerman) pointed out, it should be interesting to see if I made a direct link to Determination and Professionalism, altering both attributes in a batch of players to see how they interact. All in all, that should give me enough to do to keep busy tonight and hopefully uncover some more data.
When working on the Emulating La Masia series I stumbled across an old article by Shrewnaldo on tutoring. He also describes aspects I initially did not intend to cover with the whole La Masia series but I do feel are important for youth development. Since the article dates back to 2012 and some of the original research by Shrew and Maestro Ugo has been lost, I am looking to re-new their research efforts and see if my conclusions still match theirs.
After all, many of us enjoy a save in which we have a fair few home-grown heroes in our squads. There is nothing more satisfying than having a youngster come through the ranks of the academy and break into first team. To do so, we must turn a player’s Potential Ability (PA) into his Current Ability (CA). Which factors influence how well a player develops? According to many people, determination is what drives development. According to Shrewnaldo, it’s the hidden attributes professionalism and ambition. This article will focus on the impact of both determination and professionalism and how they can help you make the most of those precocious young stars.
Teams like Udinese and Basel are hardly world class teams, filled to the brim with superstars. They are certainly not the teams who compete for the Champions League every season, despite occassional stunts in the tournament. Yet despite all of this, these are teams who excel in a very particular area of the game: the transfer market. While some teams have acquired fame for their overwhelming spending summer after summer —more often than not thanks to the monetary backing of Eastern European or Middle Eastern investors— Udinese and Basel have mastered an investment approach that any Wall Street stockbroker would envy. Their keen eye for scouting young and affordable talents, combined with the common sense to actually field these youngsters instead of letting them rot away in the reserves, allows for these clubs to dramatically increase the market value of their players over relatively short periods of time. In short, these clubs have demonstrated the enviable knack of buying players relatively cheaply, benefiting from their prowess for a couple of seasons, then selling them for a very good price to richer European teams.
Sir Alex Ferguson was a manager renowned for his squad building skills. “Fergie’s never really looking at this moment, he’s always looking into the future,” Ryan Giggs once told newspapers. “Knowing what needs strengthening and what needs refreshing–he’s got that knack.” I want to look at my approach when building a squad, what is important and what isn’t, what are the do’s and don’ts. If you want your chance to build a dynasty á la Fergie’s, you might find this useful information.
When building a squad, there are a couple of key aspects I focus on to put myself and the team on the road to success. I focus on the demographic structure of the squad, I look at a form of performance-based analysis and finally I worry about the transfer policy. The demographic structure defines the capacity of managers to make up a balanced squad from the point of view of age, experience and contract length so as to guarantee sufficient long term stability. Secondly, performance-based analysis refers to the managers’ ability to objectively identify the strengths and weaknesses of their teams in order to find collective and individual solutions to improve results or anticipate eventual problems. Lastly, transfer policy defines the managers’ capacity to renew the pool of players available to optimise, or maintain over the long term, group unity, demographic balance and performance levels. Ultimately, the aim is to have a talented squad with sufficient depth to it, without having to deal with too many unhappy players complaining about being left on the bench.
Real life football is no country for old men and I guess the same applies to FM. Both have always been about getting results. Results are what keep you in a job, allow you to grow the stature of the club, attract better players and keep you from pulling your hair out and breaking things in frustration. Managers look towards players who can make an instant impact, is reliable, preferably cheap and has potential re-sale value. We tend to focus on younger players and pay obscene amounts of money for “the next big thing.” Somehow it’s all about the joy of the new.
That got me thinking. Why do we so often overlook these footballing greats that are in the twilight of their career on FM? Could it be that the “35 year old and over”-generation of footballers actually have a part to play in getting those all-important results? If so, how would you go about making sure that they play to their strengths and benefit the team rather than be the “weak link”? We’ll have a look at the benefits of veteran players, how to use them properly, the main attributes to scout for and some of the (obvious) cons of signing veterans are interwoven with the entire article.
Modern football is changing. With money becoming more and more important, the club landscape has changed. That applies to FM just as well as real life by the way. There is now a top tier of untouchable clubs who, like big businesses, get constantly richer and keep football alive with a trickle down of capital (Man City, PSG, Chelsea, Bayern) and then there is a secondary tier of clubs who provide a safe shop window for investors.
It seems rather unlikely we will ever see another ‘Ajax ’95’, a team which (arguably pre-Bosman ruling) bypassed economic restrains to achieve romantic glory. However, the most organised and forward thinking boards can overachieve and rise up the tiers. Take real-life examples such as FC Basel, Ajax, Porto and Sevilla. They understand that, in capitalist football, all staff are up for sale and will only remain at the club until they have reached their peak. The best businessmen know who to sign cheap and even more importantly; when to cash in before hitting a glass ceiling.
In this blogpost, I want to focus on the business side of things. If you’re a smaller club trying to break the strangle-hold of the traditional top clubs, be it nationally or internationally, how could you sign the right players for the right price? Which strategies can you employ to scout and sign players, how can you get the most value for players you intend to sell, basically, how can you be a smart wheeler-dealer?