By far the most appealing and difficult challenge in Football Manager – taking control of a relegation candidate such as Palermo or Aston Villa and turning them in to Champions League regulars after a few seasons is undoubtedly the ultimate goal for anyone who has ever played this incredibly addictive simulator. Without the use of the editor or add manager, it is a difficult feat but not an unachievable one. Below is everything aspect regarding the football market that needs to be understood in order to turn a financial restricted club in to a sustainable force in Football Manager, or FIFA’s Management mode (to a lesser extent).
The ultimate goal of this article is to help fans understand the real market principles that occur in football thus changing their perception how to improve their in-game finances. To provide some context; ill-informed opinions regarding an “exodus” of Juventus’ squad after the departures of Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal. With the exception of Pirlo, the truth of the matter is that Juventus were well prepared for parting of Tevez – having already securing the services of Paulo Dybala (a player who aged 20 is already better than Tevez’s current ability), the bianconeri also sealed first options on 4 of Boca’s most promising young talents.
With regards to Vidal’s €40million move to ayern Munich, the reason is that Juventus were always on a hunt for a buyer for the Chilean. Why is because along Vidal, Juventus also has Chiellini, Marchisio, Barzagli, Bonucci, Lichtsteiner and Llorente who are all in the same age bracket. For anyone who remembers AC Milan’s team that lifted the Champions League trophy in 2007, it featured Gattuso, Ambrosini, Kaladze, Inzaghi, Seedorf, Nesta, Pirlo, Oddo and Jankulovski, all roughly the same age and entering their peaks. How many of the above did Milan sell for commanding fees? The answer is none, and the rossoneri’s current state of affairs is the result of what happens when they all retire simultaneously.
In short, continual revolution is the key to sustainability.
This leads us back to Vidal. As seemingly impossible it is to say goodbye to a club hero, Juve had to sell someone and aged 28 his market value will only fall year on year. With all the rumors circulating about Pogba’s transfer to a financial powerhouse, but why would Juventus sell him even for a figure such as €80million when they can still attract that same sum when he is 26?
At the beginning of the season; first order of business should be to build a tactic to best suited to the players at your disposal and sell off anyone else you don’t particularly need. The benefit of managing a relative minnow is that your focus should be exclusively on the league. As your club is generally not in continental competitions and your interest in the domestic cup little to none, your squad can be rather thin (they will only play once every 7 days). Look to sell those who are around the ages of 28-29. Aside from the transfer fee received, you also save money on wages, eg; let’s assume you sell a player who wouldn’t see a great deal of game time for nothing, €0. If his wages are €1.8m per season, that figure can literally be invested into your transfer kitty. If that same player is sold for €1.2m, essentially you have made €3m gain – this is the mentality that's required.
Signing free agents is not only a cheap method of bolstering your ranks, but by prioritizing players who are roughly 24-26 years old, a solid season in the top division will see their market values soar. It does take some filtering – needle in a haystack style, but the best of this bunch typically have similar or ever greater abilities than many of your first team. Not to mention that these free agents will also have lower wage demands than your first team due to the desperation to find a new club and with each signing you can then sell off an existing squad player thus generating even more revenue and decreasing your annual spend (in turn can be added to the transfer budget).
Finally but most importantly: Loaning players. The key to finding gems in this department by indexing players who are not only listed for loan but also transfer listed. These are well-established players who mightn’t make the cut for the squad they’re currently at, but would make valuable assets to your own. There is the issue that their superior abilities relative to your own players is reflected in their excessive wages demands – even if you can afford to sign them, avoid doing so. The better alternative is to loan the player for the season with the option to buy for the asking price (not that you necessarily intend to exercise it) while only paying a negotiated percentage of the player’s current wage.
While many out there are against the concept of loaning players, preferring a traditional transfer, but in actual fact there are greater benefits in a loan deal. Objectively speaking, it is not only a "try before you buy", but in order to significantly improve your squad you need an established player at his peak – 28 to 32 years old. While the ability of these players are at their highest, on the market they are depreciating assets and the likelihood of receiving a greater sum than you paid is near zero. Not to mention if that player suffers a season ending injury, you are free to terminate the loan instead of paying someone to sit on the sidelines as his value plummets.
As each season ends and a new one commences look to start this cycle once again, year on year, and remember to set achievable goals. Don’t be a hero and challenge for a UCL spot right off the bat.
The above will certainly lead you to great things from a business POV – it must, there is no questioning that. Obviously there is a tactical element which will be explained in a future post.
Thanks for reading.