Its going to be 10 seasons, since I started with this core group of players and its not time to do all the planning that comes with ensuring your side continues its run. I am now on a personal challenge, something I have not been able to do since CM01/02 – produce a 300+ game unbeaten run. I doubt that will ever be possible, we’re now at 204 and each game adds to my level of anxiety.
When you want to rejuvenate your side, its not just a simple matter of replacing players. The challenge is increased exponentially by the fact that regens don’t come out as carbon copies of your successful squad, so a lot of preparation work is necessary and this begins the moment your core group reaches around 24 years of age.
Yup thats when I plan. Assuming you keep players around till they are 30 and then sell them you want your side to start recruiting/developing young talent from 17 years of age. When a player is 17 you have to try and keep him in your club till hes 20 to attain home grown status (HGS), sending him out to loan is normally done by me once they have attained HGS. This makes it easier for me to select players for my champions league squad.
A player then has around 5 years to develop, by the time he is 22 and your senior players have started hitting 28-29 you begin to have options. Ambitious young players will demand to play in the first team squad from as young as 21, so you will need to find a way to accommodate them or send them out on loan to really good sides. Here is where my affiliate program comes into play. I have an affiliate club thats a top 4 side in Germany, and this is a huge help. This keeps the player happy and you can then assess hows he doing. My current Ballon d’ Or candidates were developed this way, and it works.
Once a player hits 28 years of age, you have several choices. You can continue to use them or sell them. I went from a million dollar club to a billion dollar club by selling most of my players at the age of 28 for upwards of 30million pounds, the highest being 120million. The funds then get reinvested back in your club for more affiliate clubs/scouts and younger players. By now you should be having a team of U21s you are monitoring.
Now that all the prep work is laid out nicely, you need to identify those players who will replace the core. For WBA, more core players are my 2 fullbacks, 3 MCs and my AMC. Strikers are easy to find, and my system encourages goal scoring so that isn’t an issue. To use an example.
This is my captain, my hero my lord of midfield.
I have a clear idea of how I want him to play all the time. His job is to win the ball in midfield, anticipate opposing attacks and break them up before they become a problem. He is already 30 years old and I have identified his successor.
I also plan to get him to learn the same ppms as the last player, the only issue I may have is his tendency not to get stuck in (scouts assessment), I am not sure if I agree with this, but we will monitor him for the next few matches he plays in.
The same methodology will be followed for all the players in my squad, the challenge is clear, can I actually get them replaced? Its not going to be easy, we’re a top side, finding young top players is never easy, and the process needs to be ongoing and has to start as early as possible. It has worked for me in the past, and I am sure it will work for a lot of other people out there.