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  1. If you navigate to your squad and click on your desired player, then click on their 'development' dropdown menu, the 'discuss trait to add' option is just under their player traits info. Or within the training menu, when on the individual training dropdown make sure that it is set to 'detailed' (yours is on 'list'), then select your player and you'll again see the 'discuss trait to add' option.
  2. 'The WM' - 2020-21 I'll aim to keep this update relatively brief, as I'm short on time. After coming within a penalty kick of a quadruple in 2019-20, season three proved altogether less accommodating. The campaign started in the vein the previous had ended, a defeat on penalties to PSV in the Schaal, and an early defeat in the league at last season's rivals Feyenoord. The squad was on edge; David Raya and Donny van de Beek unhappy after being tapped up and this really had an early impact. Raya didn't get back into the groove until November, whereas Van de Beek was often 'disenchanted' during matches, and was still fairly petulant even after his unhappiness had faded. The squad underwent an overhaul; Veltman, Xadas, Eiting and Kaastrup headed the summer departures, joined by Tonali and Neres in the winter window, totalling a profit of £79.5m as I put faith in youth, signing no experienced players bar Clasie on a free as a squad half-back. Although I was rarely out of top spot in the Eredivisie, a certain panache had been lost - winning a number of games in a George Grahamesque 1-0 fashion, generally lacking dynamism. This was exacerbated by some real underperformance; the previously-deadly Ekkelenkamp limited to 3 goals, and I'd be surprised if the MEZ(A) role managed 10 goals from all personnel, all season. It may have been any combo of reasons: opponents again adjusting, too much rotation (I struggled to find a 'best XI' this year), immature players, effects of unhappy players. Whatever the root cause(s), the football just didn't feel 'right'. I did win the Eredivisie, demolishing PSV 4-1 at the ArenA in the 31st game, putting an end to their title charge and eventually finishing 14pts clear: ironically, despite the general feeling of tepid football, I ended on more pts than in both previous seasons, finished only 5 goals off last season's treble-winning team, and conceded three less. But the stats hid the facts. The European campaign was a disappointment though. Drawn against Man City, Milan and Dynamo, qualification was a distinct possibility. Predictably lost against our CL-nemesis City in the opener, before fine wins away to Milan and Dynamo looked to have ensured a commanding position. But 1pt from the home fixtures and a heavy defeat at City sealed an exit on -GD. Dropping into the Europa, I then lost 0-2 against Spartak in Moscow in the depths of Russian winter, and couldn't claw back the deficit in a 3-2 home win. And continuing a running theme, I then went out of the KNVB Beker in the semi final at home to Feyenoord in a penalty shootout loss, our third straight major loss on penalties. So, moving into pre-season 2021-22 I knew I needed to change things up. Squad wise, I aimed to brook no indiscipline or underperformance, so when the summer window opened and I was inundated with offers and both Raya and Van de Beek demanded to leave again, they were both punted off to big-spending Monaco. Raya, £26m, Van de Beek £38.5m. That wasn't as high a fee as I'd hoped for Donny, but it did include a p/ex on a very talented youngster, Roger Saunier. Backup Academy keeper Daan Reiziger also made noises to leave, so he went too. Decent keeper but replaceable. And finishing the main sales, I also sold non-performing Dani Olmo for a healthy £20m. In: after considering a range of keepers, it came down to a straight choice between Thomas Strakosha and Timo Horn. I preferred the Albanian, but with my wage rule and De Ligt the highest earner on £68k, Strakosha's £100k+ wages would never fly. So in came the dependable Horn for £15m, with Cho as the second keeper. I also re-loaned out the underperforming Joveljic with a view to sell and picked up a fantastic bargain in Fiete Arp for £5.75m. Bayern had nabbed him for pennies from Hamburg, probably a relegation clause, but hadn't used him. He is a perfect fit for what I planned to do with the 'WM' this season, and foil for Dolberg. Van de Beek's replacement was harder to find; most of my targets had already moved out of my wage point. I looked at Sander Berge first of all, cycled through a range of other options, eventually took Wanyama on trial, before passing up all of them and returning to Berge for £17m. -- The final main deal, Celik, was an Overmars signing. He's now made four across this save, demonstrating an eye for talent: Proper is around the first team, the physical beast Cahyono now the de facto option to De Ligt, Celik is promising, Derksen unlikely to make it. ---- Overmars' eye for a talent has helped mitigate a poor return from the academy. Mirroring season one, season three's intake was atrocious - no player above two stars, zero chance of any graduating through to the first team. The only two players who are on track both came in season two's intake. Vos is on loan in the KKD for a season to refine his craft, whereas Schilder was a surprise hit at Heerenveen on loan last season, 7 goals in 21. This year he's with Strasbourg in Ligue 1. -- Moving on to tactics. One of the most important factors to bring back dynamism was to resolve the lack of an effective crossing game. I've thought for a while we were too symmetrical, and the double wingback-double-winger combo was, at times, too blunt - in light of the general problem on this game with deliveries coming in late too. I needed a deep threat and more combination play to free up space for a better quality of delivery. That meant one role: a CWB(a), positioned down the right due to Kristensen's quality. The left wingback then became an IWB(S) to help steady against the aggressiveness on the other side of the pitch. Directly in front of the CWB(a), the halfback role had to change to an anchorman; past experience told me this was more effective to stabilise the structure whilst using a raiding wingback, and the role does a superb job of dropping back to form the three-man defence when the wingback is merrily exploring space somewhere near the forward line. Completing this combo, the W(a) changes to an IF(s) to drag defenders out of position, freeing up space for - and combining with - the CWB(A) I switched the MEZ(A) to the right of the pitch, to put the player on his natural foot when drifting wide, given all my options here are right-footed. The RPM role has currently become a BBM, but that is under review. The last change was to drop the CF(s) and change to a trequartista. I thought about this one for a while, tested various options across the duration of pre-season, and the treq just gives a better level of presence in the box from crosses, whilst being a creative force. It has proven much more effective than CF(s) or DLP(s) and suits the technical game of both Arp and Dolberg. My thoughts may change across the season. So, quite a change-around overall. We now line up in this way: 9 wins and a draw across pre-season bodes well and the fluidity has returned to the play. We've started the season well, winning the Schaal and battering NAC Breda 1-5 on the opening day.
  3. In isolation: with his high tariffs for tackling, anticipation, decisions and his physicals - and workable positioning - he'd be a halfback for me. With the caveat that I would be concerned about the third of his PPM's. As a second option, box-to-box midfielder to utilise his first PPM, physical fitness and solid all-round game. I wouldn't entertain a '6' finisher as a mezzala personally, as that is a role where I want a good finisher to contribute heavily to the team's goalscoring prowess.
  4. One way to overcome your dilemma is to take a reference manager and implement his tactical style and preferred formation. Then you are working towards one common goal, with some nuances, and have no need to flip-flop between styles and formations. Find an historical team or manager that interests you, research how they went about playing football and try to implement it. And the more offbeat the better, as you will have less reference material to work with from these forums to guide you (i.e. not another 433...). Personally, I don't even look at the players I have at my disposal at the outset. I pick a way that I want to play and then work towards it, developing the players, traits and signings as appropriate. And I almost always try a different approach in each version of FM, or in different saves if I end up having multiple. Currently it is Herbert Chapman's 'WM' formation from the 1920-30s, next time around I might try Francisco Maturana's approach with the Colombians in the 90s - as examples. The more disciplined you are, the more rewarding the save I find. Set yourself rules appropriate to the task.
  5. In-game, usually very little - minor tweaks. The one semi-regular change I make pre-game is dropping the line of engagement and defensive line, and also removing 'prevent short GK distribution' if I am facing stronger opposition where I feel I may be outmatched. This is a double-edged sword though, as a lot of the success of the 'WM' (my version of) is, I feel, in the high pressing and limiting passing options. The drop back does stabilise the chance to be caught out by accurate long balls, but the negative is that it can make it easier for opponents to get in positions where an accurate through-cross from mid-wide positions takes out the defence. It's a careful balancing act. In terms of roles, I use a few variants situationally. The most regular changes are: RPM > CM(s) - where I feel a playmaker won't be beneficial (i.e. if I am more focused on countering as ^) WB(s) > WB(a) / CWB(s) - if I am struggling to create chances, sometimes I like to bring in a greater threat from deep. And linked to that: W(a) > IF(s) - one wideman focused narrower, freeing up space for an aggressive wingback ^. Mentality is nearly always 'balanced'. Occasionally I will ratchet it up to 'positive', and link that to overarching changes in roles , such as dropping both widemen down to a support duty. I never go into any game with anything less than a balanced mentality, and I've changed in-game to 'cautious' perhaps only twice in two seasons.
  6. He was transfer listed for that amount, found him purely by chance. Delighted to pick him up really, can't turn away an academy graduate with a lot of scope for development. Along with Overmars picking up Proper for peanuts, Hoever is probably my favourite deal to-date. It'd be great to see others trying the shape out, as there are many ways you can approach the roles. Assuming their atts aren't too variable, you may have some decent HB options already in the squad. Both Van Gelderen and Schuurs did a solid job for me in season 1, before I picked up my two Italian playmakers and moved them both back into defensive coverage. Van De Beek is the ideal partner for Blind to me, although I preferred using him further forward last season after De Jong departed.
  7. Yes, certainly. The 'WM' is the only formation I'll be using during this save. Defensive performance. Overall, it is good and very stable. 15 Eredivisie goals conceded in 2018-19 and 20 in 2019-20. I did have some troubles in the away Champions League games last season though, and also once or twice in the Eredivisie. I put that down to increased squad rotation and having inferior players on the pitch more often, in addition to some changes to the squad, as well as some unique situations in the Champions League where I was defending large leads in the knockouts. I could also do more with the balance of the squad and maximising defensive capability; such as bringing in a player with a more natural halfback skillset, such as Tousart. That would certainly help, but it's not what I'm aiming for right now. I've also been experimenting with different combinations more, which can create some instability, If I can keep the expected GPG around 0.5 this season, I'll be happy.
  8. I've just finished pre-season and started digging into season three, 2020-21. Keeping to my plans, the off-season was about squad trimming. Veltman was the main loss, allowed to leave after 'achieving all he could'. Passed up on signing a replacement to promote Van Gelderen from his jack-of-all-trades role into the dedicated backup to De Ligt. After three Eredivisie goals in two seasons, I wasn't seeing enough from assist-king Kaastrup and allowed him to depart for £9.5m and 40% future sale profit. With Ekkelenburg now firmly established as the MEZ(a), I also moved on Xadas and promoted the impressive Dirk Proper as his backup. Xadas had a reasonable debut season, but freeing up possibilities for Proper and Gravenberch made sense. I also kept to my philosophy to sell to Eredivisie wherever possible; Eiting, Magallan and Mazraoui moving across to rivals. £146m in the bank, £57m transfer budget, no major signings made. I had Tousart on completion, but pulled the plug at the last minute as I'd recently brought in Clasie on a freebie as extra cover at HB. This was a player asking for £50k in the final stage of his Southampton contract, but I picked him up for £5.25k per week after a trial. Excellent experienced squad player to have as an 'influence' replacement for Schone, who has a season left at best. Purchased a few youngsters to round out the B-team. Florescu is effectively Kaastrup's replacement, whilst Djerlek I see as a future Tadic replacement. Partizan are akin to Dinamo Zagreb, a superb source for players and they have 3-4 more players of interest in their squad. Florescu is a sure-fire future first-teamer and Djerlek more of a punt, but the former has moved out to feeder-club OH Leuven for a season whilst Djerlek proves his mettle. Solid academy coverage across the squad at present, nine full members having progressed through the system; Reiziger, De Ligt, Van Glederen, Blind, Van De Beek, De Waal, Gravenberch, Klaassen, Ekkelenkamp. I've mentioned Ekkelenkamp on a couple of occasions, as an unglamorous but effective player that I chose to work on early. I have another in that mould; Ki-Jana Hoever. Former Ajax academy graduate, picked up from Liverpool for £63k. Nothing exceptional, but very mouldable either as a WB or IWB. A good dual-sided 'option' player that I will be keeping close tabs on.
  9. So, it has taken a while, but I've now reached the end of season two, 2019-20. As it has been a while since my last post, a reminder to the guidelines I play within: Philosophies Use and develop the 'WM' formation. Promote or replace from the academy wherever feasible, but not exclusively. No signings from rival teams (top 10 Eredivisie) to keep competition healthy, unless player is due to be sold abroad. No overstocking of the three squads / sign few players. Tight control over wage budget, no marquee signings if they shatter the wage structure. Allowing star players to leave if I feel they have outgrown the club. 'WM' Squad Building I lost three starting players over the summer, which put an early spanner in my plans. Onana went to Spurs and first-season star-performer Ziyech to Inter, in addition to the loss of De Jong . David Raya came in as the new stickman, Jurgen Ekkelenburg (more of him later) stepped up as the starting mezzala, with Xadas signed as competition. In my last post I mentioned that I keep a lean shortlist in general, as I need specific players in the WM system. I wasn't able to sign any of my main targets; I couldn't afford or attract Kenny Tete or Kevin Mbabu, unable to sign Kristoffer Ajer due to huge wage demands and also turning down Xaver Schlager due to his wage demands. So I had to improvise, moving Van de Beek forward to replace De Jong, and bringing in Sandro Tonali to replace Van de Beek as a halfback. Tricky Dani Olmo rounded out the main signings. That did mean three of my central quad of midfielders had either been sold or moved position, so I anticipated early issues there. In January, I made a couple of other major signings. Club icon Davy Klaassen returned to fill a future leadership void with Huntelaar retiring, Schone ageing and Veltman making noises about needing a new challenge. With Heerenveen sitting 12th, I also picked up Arjen Van der Heide, one of my main Dutch youth targets. A little bit more change than I like, but necessary in the circumstances. I also let my DoF run free to pick up youngsters, and Overmars pulled off this coup for £95k... Eredivisie / Cups A 3-0 win over Heerenveen in the Johan Cruijff Schaal set up a strong start to the season, and I had a comfortable lead - but never large due to the form of Feyenoord and PSV - until I lost my unbeaten record in February at home to PSV, with a second loss against Willem II and a couple of poor draws against PEC Zwolle and Heracles Almelo. Suddenly, I was in third and as much as 8pts adrift at times due to the fixtures. I was also due to face Feyenoord at the De Kuip on the final day of the season. All three sides kept winning until Feyenoord drew in the penultimate fixture. This was the table going into the final game: A draw could seal the title, but with the caveat that a win for PSV by 3+ goals at home to Vitesse would see them win the title on goals scored if tied. It was the craziest final day in any FM I've played. PSV scored in the first minute, whilst I held Feyenoord to no shots on target in the opening 45mins. The second half was a very cagey affair, until PSV scored a second after 71mins. One more goal, the title is theirs. I pushed on and thought I'd sealed it with a Joveljic strike in the 80th minute - only for it to be VAR'd out (incorrectly!). With Feyenoord creating chances, I then had to throttle back and play for a draw, hoping PSV wouldn't score another. Then in the second minute of stoppage time, De Ligt makes a rash challenge, penalty. Kraev steps up and chips one of the worst pens I've seen straight into Raya's arms. . PSV couldn't find a winner and I won the title by one goal, with all three sides on 82pts. It was refreshing to have such a strong challenge from multiple sides, and it also gives credence to not targeting signings from rivals. A week after the title win, I completed the domestic treble against AZ in the KNVB Beker Final. Although that was fraught too; due to Champions League commitments the squad was lower than AZ on fitness and couldn't capitalise on Tadic giving an early lead. 1-1 at full-time and the side really suffered in extra time, eventually winning on pens. End-season stats: ------ Champions League If that wasn't enough drama, the Champions League campaign was practically a novel of ups and downs. I scraped my way out of a group featuring Atletico, Lyon and Hoffenheim with 7pts by virtue of having a better head to head record v Lyon. And then made it all the way to the final thanks to some mighty home performances and decidedly ropey away performances. 1st knockout -- I conceded two early goals in Munich to cause doubt, but a couple of tweaks shut down Bayern's fire and a late Klaassen goal ousted the Bundesliga Champions. Quarters -- With a healthy lead, I didn't take the return leg lightly against the side that knocked me out last season in two very high scoring games. An early Marin goal seemed set to ease passage to the semis, but Barca roared back and scored three before halftime. Dembele added a fourth and I had to hang on with a desperate defensive effort for the final half-hour. Semis -- This was a tie made trickier as the return leg fell directly after the extra time Cup final victory. With a 5-1 lead, I felt obliged to put out a very understrength side and nearly regretted it. Atletico were three-up by halftime, and again it took some major tweaks to stop their swagger, before Marin looked to have sealed it five minutes from time. Correa pulled another one back for Atletico, but they didn't have time to find a tying goal. They did go on to win La Liga though. Final Art imitating life, the final was against a Man City side that had defeated Liverpool in the semis This was one of the best tactical games to-date. I had to contend with the flying runs of Sane and Sterling, but caused problems of my own with City giving up the flanks to Marin and Tadic. It finished 2-2 after extra time, thanks to two Dolberg penalties. In a cruel twist of fate, Dolberg missed the first - and only - pen in the shootout and we were denied a quadruple. Making a Mezz Way back in my opening post, I noted a player in the academy that I rated above all others, despite his lack of glamour or seeming potential; Ekkelenkamp looked ideal for the mezzala role in the 'WM'. He had a low-key debut season backing up Ziyech, but exploded this year - helped also by the traits that I'd developed for him. 12 goals in 33 starts, nearly a goal every other game in the Eredivisie. First touch and finishing prowess helps make him deadly from the edge of the box, a real difference-maker. His atts have barely developed. 2019-20 intake and plans -- After last year's atrocious intake, this year I still only had four players recommended by the DoF. But at least I gained this serviceable young striker, Vos; not the complete forward I use, but a sharp poacher who can be moulded. Last year's best talent, Ljuma, is developing quietly in the U19s. Still, two poor intakes for a club with Ajax's facilities and staff is disappointing and puts more emphasis on scouting. ---- -- There are now a few youths making a name around the first team. Ekkelenkamp is a key starter, but Gravenberch, Van Gelderen, Reiziger and de Waal made 69 starts/sub apps last year. Reiziger was promoted to backup keeper at the start of the season, replacing the underwhelming El Maach. de Waal is a player I like, not flashy at all but a consistent spread of atts. Those four, with Ekkelenburg, Schuurs, Proper and Van Der Heide give a great Dutch core to the squad youth. I am happy with the 1st team squad as is, and intend to trim some fat. Any major purchases may only be linked to departures. Although after last year's sales - and De Ligt and Dolberg both wanting and getting new contracts - I am not expecting any key players to leave. 'WM' development I posted last time about wanting to develop the 'WM' further and bring in different tactical sets. I had started on a strikerless version, which was abandoned after pre-season. In practice though, I did change roles and duties quite a lot throughout the season. One role that I am constantly in flux about is the RPM; this has variously been a CM(s), BBM and back again to an RPM when I wanted more control. It is the one role I cannot fully nail down. One area of concern was how we performed in away games this year; very solid last season against the best the Eredivisie and Europe had to offer, bar the one aberration against Barcelona. But this year - not so much. It is problematic and I have a few ideas where I need to develop my approach further, or develop personnel groupings further. One for next time perhaps.
  10. The colours have remained the same; green, yellow, red. Do you have a custom skin or other graphics files, that may be what is affecting your view.
  11. No. Ajax begin with £49m in the accounts, so the sales of De Jong and Wober aren't reflected from the start, and it isn't added at the end of the first season either.
  12. Interesting to see the development of your 'WM' @Cleon - you are well ahead of me now, I am barely halfway through my second season. What was the reason for seven different mezzala's in consecutive seasons? Were you upgrading players as you go, having your players poached or using the 'no attribute' model to see if you could gain consistency/enhanced performance across a range of players in that role? The IWB vs CWB comparison shows exactly how just simply watching how roles perform can inform changes that can have a significant impact in the level of threat and performance a tactic offers. I decided early that I wanted tucked-in WB(s) rather than IWB(s) and I've also started to consider whether or not to upgrade to a CWB. The RPM is an interesting role for me; I have been firmly on the fence with it for half a season and a CM is one of the few options I hadn't yet tested. I can see a lot of logic in that. @mdougal - there are numerous ways you could approach your 'Hungarian' formation. We all play the game differently of course and there is no right or wrong way, but for me there is much more satisfaction in bringing something unorthodox to life and testing the boundaries - whether successfully or not - than another identikit 4231 etc. Good luck with it.
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