I am not going to take credit for coming up with this style of graphic, I saw it in one of the articles over at Voetbal International and figured it looked cool enough to replicate. While I am not at all an expert in the usage of Excel, it didn’t take me long to whip up something that looked reasonably good. It’s a quick way to identify squad management issues and let’s be honest, it looks cool in your blog or on your social media page as well.
If you look to make an impact on the transfer market, you need to know the products available. Gaining this insight into the available options is where your scouting network comes in, constantly scouring various leagues and nations for talent that you can bring into your side. An ideal scenario would consist Read more…
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.
My video games tend to lean towards either the sports side of things or the tycoon genre. The FM series is a mix of both those loves. I approach FM first as a business simulator, with the added benefit of scratching my football itch.
One of the most exciting things in-game for me is the hunt for new players. The negotiation. Getting that what I want out of the deal without breaking the bank.
I found that some of the clauses that you can offer to clubs or players are fascinating when it comes to getting what you want, but that they can also severely hinder your progress in the long run. In this article, I will look at five of the most dangerous ones.
When you’re signing new players there are multiple approaches to the matter. I admit that I am generally a firm proponent of the hoarding approach. When you bring in 30 new players every season one of them is bound to succeed or develop into a player who can prove useful to the cause of subjugating the domestic league or Europe.
On the other side of the spectrum, there’s the art of surgically signing new assets through methodical analysis and thorough scouting. While it’s not my general modus operandi, it is an art I have mastered along those many years of playing FM. Last week, I showed you a case study of such a surgical signing.
Again, not quite standard operating procedure. Normally, a case study is preceded by a post detailing the thought process behind the case study. As I was writing this case study, I noticed that a lot of steps had become a routine for me and as such I did not question what I was doing and why. This article is an effort to further explain the steps I have taken.
When you’re dealing in the transfer market, you are always looking for the best possible offer. Regardless if you’re intention is to buy or to sell, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. At this point, you really ought to take the reputation of the various leagues into consideration. Why, you ask?
That’s a fairly decent transfer window, isn’t it? All these players were bought cheap and sold for far more than their actual worth at the time. So besides shrewd negotiating, what’s the secret ingredient here? Why does the market work the way it does? The answer to that question is fairly simple; league reputation…
I intend to show you how you can use it to your adventure when you are navigating the transfer market. It can help you get players cheap and sell them far more expensively than you had ever imagined. All you have to do is factor league reputation into the equation.
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.
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.
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.