My league updates are getting shorter and shorted, I will do a full update on my tactics and some memorable performances. We won the league again, took the Portuguese, went to the final of the Champions League and after an exciting 90 mins, the game was won at the death by Sporting Lisbon. It was a match that forced me to change tactics at half time, the time came out stronger and the chances flowed in the second half. Sporting, champions of Europe, are now going to offload players.
I wait for times like this to offload my players, its not something you can do each time, but when you win the league with a team that’s relatively low on the reputation totem pole, you need to take these chances when you can, or you will be perennially stuck with a 800k transfer budget. Getting the club to a 7 digit bank balance has to be a priority when you are not managing one of the giants in the game, who can generate revenue at will.
Our training program has been a success. This approach was something I introduced way back in FM12, I was messing about with a triple focus on training back then, this time, I’ve refined it to a dual pronged approach. You just get your team to focus on two main training areas, these should be closely tied to the way you want to play and how you want your players to develop. We wanted to play like Pep Guardiola’s side. I have a lot of admiration for the catalans and their approach, the focus on ball control and first touch paramount to developing talent, which explains why it was so hard for players outside of Barcelona to integrate into Pep’s style back when he was manager at Barca.
I won’t be going through each player but will focus on several and then highlight how I come to selling decisions, and what I do. Firstly I rarely put players in the shop window, and when I do I usually take a tough negotiating stance. When you win a prestigious tournament, your club’s rep goes up and so does the value of the sale you can negotiate. And this is as good a time to see like any.
The plan had been in place from the moment we started our third season, we literally had one side playing in Europe and one domestically, in the end, 2 different players topped the scoring charts. Slimani won the Portuguese forward award for banging in the most number of goals in the domestic league, but Rubio scored the most number of goals in all competitions. Fredy Montero ended up banging 11 goals in the ECL to be the top scorer there.
We had 3 fullbacks and all 3 generated double digit assists in the league. The performances were extraordinary, I finally got my flying fullbacks going in the league, but something tells me I should enjoy it while it lasts, cos nothing stays the same when a patch hits.
Amongst my fullbacks, Ricard Esgaio was never someone I reckoned to be a starter in my side, he was always the utility player and the one who would be playing domestically when I wanted to rest Cedric and Patric. He ended up getting like 20 odd games in the league and played a pivotal role in our dismantling of Manchester City in the ECL quarterfinals, sentiments aside, it was time to sell. And this is how I analyzed it.
These are his attributes over the course of three seasons. Between the time we started he went from 371 total attributes to 396 and in the last season he only gained 6 attributes in his core skill areas as a fullback. (170-176). I have developed a spreadsheet which tracks their performances and allows me to make quick assessments on how my training has done and how the players have improved. In a nutshell, whilst he may be exceptionally fast and has some skill, he isn’t very good defensively. He did top my assists in the domestic league, a telling cross was always an open invitation to score, and he was one of the first players teams enquired about when the season ended. The initial bid was 7 million, we managed to sell him for nearly 10. Its easier to sell if you tell sides that you will accept more monthly payments, plus we sneaked in a 30% resale clause.
I sold him because from the U-19s we managed to dig up this little gem, he’s only a 2 star like Esgaio and I plan to keep him as a rotation player and his development this season has been stellar
A jump from 167-185 in his core areas as a fullback piqued my interest in the player, plus we’v already trained him to play with his right foot on the left side of the pitch, increasing his versatility. This has been done so that we can get ready to offload
He has been egging me to play him in every match, but his attributes are showing stagnation as far as I am concerned with marginal gains. He has a 15m price tag, and I am eager to dump his ass.
Amongst my midfielders I have been tracking Ryan Gauld for some time, he’s a big crowd favourite, and he looks like slowing down as well. While he has shown big gains overall, his gains in his core areas aren’t as impressive, and this is largely down to the fact, that he hasn’t been played in his position all season long. Once we switched to a 4132, he found his favourite Raumdeuter role cast aside for an attacking MC role.
Overall the development of the squad has been fantastic, they have developed the core team attributes of concentration, first touch. Some players have shown huge improvements in areas such as strength and passing.