The Process Of Surgically Signing New Players

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 procedures. 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.

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Transfers: Using League Reputation To Your Advantage

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?

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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.

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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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