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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Building A Dynasty Squad; Some Do’s And Don’ts

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.

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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.

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Making Use Of The Big Spenders’ Hoarding

Much like in real life, FM15 sees the top clubs in Europe hoarding talent in a way similar to Scrooge McDuck acquiring money. These clubs often have a sugar daddy investing copious amounts of money, which allows them to make a play for pretty much any emerging starlet, whether they actually need these players or not. Whilst it can be hugely frustrating to lose your starlets to the money-bags from London, Paris, Madrid or Barcelona, you could also try to benefit from their behavior. In my eyes, there are two ways you can take this excessive hoarding from the top clubs and turn it against the top sides.

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Eliminating Agents; How To Reduce The Fees You Pay Those Leeches

If you’re anything like me, you hate wasting money when you’re trying to sign reinforcements for your squad. One of the thorns in my side in that regard consists of the ultimate douchebag-fee; the agent fee. Seriously, I’m forced to pay some pretentious prick, sitting in an office on his arse money to negotiate a deal with the player. Most of these pricks must have watched Jerry Maguire, because the higher profile their clients have, the more ridiculous their fees become.

Not an actual agent in-game, just in case you were wondering.
Not an actual agent in-game, just in case you were wondering.

So fortunately for me and everyone else who wants to reduce the cut of these vultures, there is a way to work around them by simply tricking them. This sounds good, right?

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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.

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Handling your first season in charge

You’ve just taken over a new club, now what do you do? In this article I will explain my views on what to to do during your first season in charge to set you up for the future. In my opinion it is all about building the infrastructure of the club as a whole. Everything you do has an impact on the club long term and short term, personally I work more on a long term basis.

In my experience, most football manager players I talk to tend to quit in their first season. I feel like people rely on having a successful first season, when really the focus should be building your squad and the club in general. So this is my take on how to handle your first season in charge.

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Making Even More Money In Pre-Season

In an earlier article I described how you could turn your pre-season friendlies into a way to make some serious money. As I mentioned in the closing paragraph of that article, I was experimenting with earning some serious money. Over the past few seasons in FM14, I have experimented with two tours in various countries, but I never yielded serious results.

Eventually, I opted to try touring three different countries in pre-season, which did rake in the kind of money I was hoping for. Besides a good million in gate receipts, my merchandise income has increased from 75 million to 86 million, which means a cool 11 million in extra revenue.

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Whilst it’s not an obscene amount of money, in fact you can only buy Gareth Bale’s right leg with it, it’s still a decent wad of cash to add to your war chest for the summer.