No matter what squad you inherit, you will quickly identify holes and areas in which your team can improve. The most common method to amend these issues in the footballing world is the transfer market. Improvement may come from adding players, but your squad can also be stronger for the sale of a player. This section outlines the key aspects of wheeling and dealing in Football Manager™ 2018.
To begin with, you need to identify a player you want. For information on using the Player Search feature, please click here. If you’ve identified a player from this method, or through scout reports or other means, and decide that you’d like to make him a part of your team, the first step is to select ‘Make an Offer’ from his Transfer sub-tab.
The Transfer Offer screen allows you to compose your offer in as much detail as you like. Begin by deciding whether you want to make a Transfer offer or a Loan offer. You can also offer a trial or make an enquiry from the player’s Context Menu or Tab Bar, but for the purposes of this section we’ll deal with the two main types of offer to make.
Sticking with the Transfer type, you then need to decide upon a fee for the player. The information panel to the top of the main screen area indicates the player’s current estimated valuation and any fee his club are likely to demand (if made clear). Unless the player has been transfer listed, you will usually need to bid an absolute minimum of his valuation to hold the interest of his owners, and most likely have to offer above that to get anywhere.
The ‘Transfer Date’ allows you to set when the deal will go through. A lot of the time you’ll leave this as ‘Immediate’ to go through at the first possible opportunity but, should you not have the required funds at the time, or perhaps leave the player to develop at his former team for a longer period, you can have the deal complete at the end of the current season.
At the bottom of the screen you can decide whether the deal is Negotiable or not, and you can set a ‘Decision Deadline’, should you be tight for time or simply keen to get the deal done.
Once you’ve set the core components of your deal, you can begin tweaking it with Additional Fees and Clauses to entice the other team into accepting. For example, you can break down the payment into instalments, or offer add-ons based on performance or international recognition. These in particular will be of interest to any prospective selling club as the potential income in months and years to come can help long term financial security and prosperity.
Many aspects of a deal can be insisted upon by ‘locking’ them into place using the padlock icon (once for semi-negotiable, twice for non-negotiable), and they can be either removed by clicking on the circular icon with a ‘-‘ through the centre, or removed permanently and ‘locked out’ of negotiations by selecting that option from the menu produced by clicking it.
There is also the potential to offer a player in a part-exchange deal. This will usually only be of benefit if the selling club has an interest in any of your players, which your Assistant Manager will inform you of in the comments panel at the left of the screen. Additionally, he/she will inform you of any potential needs they may have in order for you to make an informed judgment if offering a part-exchange. Use the ‘Add’ button to include players in the deal.
Once you’re happy with the deal, you can either click on ‘Make Offer’ and await a response which will typically arrive 24-48 hours later, or you can click ‘Suggest Terms’ to negotiate ‘live’ in a bid to get your business done swiftly.
Loaning players typically benefits all parties. The player gets first team football, his owners benefit from the player either developing or not being at the team any more, which reduces the club’s wage bill depending on the deal, and the loaning team get a player they presumably want, having offered to loan him.
Note that you can offer a Playing Monthly Fee and Wage alongside a Non-Playing Monthly Fee and Wage. In essence this means that you can try to sweeten the deal by offering to pay a greater sum and/or contribution should the player not play a certain number of minutes for your first team (the rough thresholds are no minutes, every possible minute, and about halfway between the two), perhaps whilst not paying so much for the privilege of actually playing him. It could theoretically encourage a team to enter into a loan agreement with you if they are being compensated for their player not playing, but – as with all transfer negotiations – it’s a fine balancing act.
When composing a loan offer you can set the duration of his spell at your club, as well as your wage contribution and any fee you may offer as an incentive for his club to accept the offer. A series of clauses and loan options may then be configured; for example, if there is any intention to keep the player long-term, you can set a ‘Future Fee’ which you can meet at any time and offer the player a full time contract.
You are also able to inform the player’s parent club of your intentions for him by declaring his role in the squad and the position you’re likely to play him in.
If you are the loaning club, you may want to consider whether the player is able to play in matches against your club, or play in cup competitions (therefore becoming cup-tied should he return to you), and whether you may want the option to terminate the loan early. Additionally, ensuring that the player is going to play regularly and in a position you wish to see him used in is an advisable approach.
Selling players is just as fundamental a part of management as buying. Whether you’re doing it to get rid of dead wood, or to ensure financial stability, it’s going to happen. If you receive an offer for a player from another club, you can negotiate the deal in the same way as you may have put together a bid as described in the previous section.
However, if you wish to initiate the sale of a player, you have the power to set the ball rolling. From the ‘Transfer’ tab on a player you wish to sell, select ‘Offer to Clubs’. The screen is similar to the Transfer Offer screen in appearance.
Initially set the fee you’re aiming to receive for the player. Try to consider the target club(s) and what they may be able to afford. If necessary, ask for less up front and more money over a longer period of time or incentive-based payments, available from the ‘Additional Fees’ section. At the same time though, don’t forget you’re the selling club – try to get back as much value as you can. One such way is to include an additional clause. If you’re selling a young player with potential, try to include a clause where you get a certain percentage of any fee the club may sell him for in the future. If you suspect the player may not get a lot of first team football at his new club, maybe include a ‘Buy Back’ price, where you can attempt to bring the player back to your club for an agreed fee.
Your Assistant Manager will send the details of any proposed deal to all clubs he deems suitable. If you don’t want a player going to a rival club, tick the appropriate check box on the Targets tab before clicking ‘Confirm’. Any interested parties will indicate as much in the days immediately following by making an offer of some kind. From here, it’s up to you to negotiate the best deal possible.
Alternatively, you can add the player to an ‘Unwanted List’ and have the responsible person, e.g. your Director of Football, manage his departure.
If your club is short of money and short on numbers/talent, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your additions. The free agent market comes into play here. It’s not just for the lesser teams – the big clubs can find some top veteran or out of contract talent in these parts, especially via the Bosman ruling and pending free agents.
There are two situations when you’ll be offering a contract to a person – when you’re signing them or when you’re renewing the contract of a player in your squad. Both are handled almost identically – you’ll be doing the same thing in both cases. The only difference is that if you’re attempting to bring a player in from another club, the contract negotiations will be handled directly through your Inbox rather than on the Contract Offer panel.
The first phase of negotiations concern offering the individual certain assurances about their time at the club. These assurances, or ‘Promises’, cover things like playing time, set piece duties, preferred shirt numbers, the captaincy, short and long-term ambitions for the club and improving the playing and non-playing personnel. Some will be more demanding than others but they will all impact the contract discussions themselves. A pleasing set of promises may lead to more fruitful terms whereas a problematic set of preliminaries may result in an increase in demands or the deal falling through altogether.
When you are able to come to an agreement on these promises, you can then move forward to nail down the finer points of the contract.
The player or his agent will typically indicate the terms they expect to be met as a minimum, and from there it’s your call as to the offer you make. Some parties will, however, invite you to make the first move in a bid to see just how much you want to complete the deal. This is very much impacted by the promise discussions you’ll just have been through.
Depending on the squad status you’ve promised the player, your board may increase or decrease the available wage accordingly – they’ll likely be willing to pay more to a key player. Set his weekly wage to something you can afford and the player will like, and attempt to set a contract length both parties can agree to. If you feel the player may need a little ‘sweetener’ of sorts to sign ahead of other clubs who may be interested, perhaps offer a Signing-On Fee or some attractive bonuses. The player may already be demanding these, so see what you can afford to match and when you’re happy, click ‘Suggest Terms’ to the player.
He will indicate his stance, allowing you to either click ‘Finalise Deal’ to formally submit the offer, or to re-negotiate the terms to something he finds more favourable.
You may also wish to increase the fee heading towards the Agent as part of the negotiations in an attempt to sweeten any potential deal and secure the player’s signature. Some agents will kick up a fuss about the fee they’re receiving, but others, particularly those with whom you have developed a positive relationship, will be less concerned by their bonus.
During negotiations, you may wish to ‘lock’ a particular part of the deal. Locks can be applied in two different ways; semi-negotiable (single-clicked, displayed in orange) or non-negotiable (double-clicked, displayed in red). Semi-negotiable indicates you are unlikely to be willing to compromise on that particular item but will do so if absolutely necessary, whilst non-negotiable offers no room for flexibility. This is your way of telling the agent and/or the player that you are unwilling to budge from the figure offered. Accordingly, this is likely to result in the other parties looking to increase other figures in the terms in order to balance things out.
Keep in mind that the party you are negotiating with can also use these locks to strengthen their own position, and it will usually take a little bit of back and forth before you can conclude negotiations.
If you wish to see the player’s Original Demands or his Original Contract, you can use either the ‘Reset Changes’ button or the ‘Use Existing Terms’ option.
Some players will be harder to deal with than others – you can occasionally gain an insight into their mentality from the way they go about asking for terms on the Contract Offer screen – some will demand, some will require. It may also be worth checking out a player’s media history and his personality ahead of negotiations to fully prepare for what you’re going to be dealing with. Good preparation will allow contract talks to go a little more smoothly.
Each player has an ‘Agent’ section on their ‘Information’ panel. You can click on an agent to view their profile.
Their biographical details are presented along with their current positive and negative relationships with managers in the game. Detailed attributes and a summation of their style will give you a better picture of the person you’re dealing with, with the majority of the main screen area being taken up by the most important part – their list of clients. Some agents may have very few clients, whilst others may be more prolific and be managing a larger group of players.
As agents, their modus operandi is to secure for their client the best contract they possibly can. Therefore, expect some tricky negotiations with players who are due to see their current deal expire, although it won’t just be limited to that. If a player is in a particularly good vein of form, or has just played a blinder, you’ll be hearing from their representative pretty quickly, with improved terms high up on the agenda.
Agents may tout their clients around behind your back, looking for a new club and a better contract than they currently have. Not all of them are troublesome, of course, that would be a misrepresentation. Many are keen to work with you and the club to help extend the deals of their clients, who are undoubtedly happy playing for you, and wish to do so for some time to come.
You’re also sure to be approached by unfamiliar agents who will offer their players to you, attempting to secure them a transfer, which, of course, will have financial benefits for both player and agent.
Your shortlist allows you to collate and store a convenient list of all players you may have an interest in.
Trading and Drafting
If you have chosen to manage in Major League Soccer, you’ll find yourself less in the transfer market and instead having to negotiate trades with other teams. In addition, you’ll have the annual MLS SuperDraft to attend to.
In its most basic terms, trading is like a part-exchange deal. Team A must give up some assets to Team B to get the assets they want in return. Assets include players from your roster, draft selections, allocation funds or international slots.
You may add or remove items as you please using the appropriate buttons. Once you’re happy with your offer, submit it and you should hear back from the other team shortly with their decision or negotiation.
The annual MLS SuperDraft is an event where all MLS teams select the best talent aged 18-22 available. Teams will pick in reverse order of the previous season’s standings but draft picks may change hands in trades throughout the season, as described previously.
In the days leading up to the SuperDraft, the Draft screen will become accessible from the competition menu. It is split into three main sections. The main central panel contains all eligible players for selection, whilst the banner across the top lists the complete draft order. The summary panel on the right details the key events of the draft, including traded selections.
Eligible players are those who have chosen to enter the draft from collegiate or high-school soccer.
Shortly before the SuperDraft, the MLS SuperDraft Combine will take place. This is a pre-draft ‘workout’ of sorts for the best eligible players to perform and show for one last time what they can bring to potential suitors. Four teams, MLS A/B/C/D, compete in a tournament where each roster is balanced amongst draftees. Players who perform well here may not necessarily be the best available, but it’s certainly an event where stock can rise or fall for individuals so close to draft day.
Edited by Philip Rolfe