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HaphazardHawlucha

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  1. @Jogo Bonito That's always how FM goes, isn't it? One day your squad is the healthiest on earth and the next half of them are in the amputation ward. Wonderful finish though, that league position chart is downright awing in its rise. The Championship will be a real test, but if nothing else you'll have a bit more financial flexibility to be able to continue the overhaul. Those Shrews though... pretty good team there! @TottenhamBoi90 I remember signing Gribbin for a save over in Portugal a couple years ago, real class player back then. Seems like you're in the same boat as one or two others with a loan striker being your talisman, so hopefully you can keep renewing him as long as it takes while you rebuild the core squad. Good luck in the Championship! @Fubz Can't tell you how relieved I am to see your squad get their form back. That City match looks downright insane too, what a statement win! Apparently they're good to hand out one of those a season, between you here and Norwich IRL. Just now noticing you've got Duhaney too, I've got massive remorse from not picking him up for pennies upon promotion to the Championship myself. Looks like a real hidden gem for these kinds of saves. Seeing your group not just be cut adrift so early is heartening, too, because I’ll have to look to Notts for inspiration… ---------------------------- Shrewsbury Town F.C. ~ 2020/21 Recap Last time I posted, we were in 4th after the winter window, 6 points adrift of Stoke in 2nd and 4 points clear of 7th. All we had in front of us were 16 Championship matches plus a FA Cup tie at Tottenham. Let's start with that real quick: Ryan Sessegnon scored in the 26th to lead their B team's vanguard. Natural. What wasn't natural was that with the last touch of the first half, CB and vice-captain Omar Beckles headed in a beautifully swerving Sean Goss free kick from the far post, and improbably, we went into the break knotted up. Impossibly, we were inseparable through 90 minutes, not just in scoreline but in the 50/50 possession split. It took a flukey pinball own goal off loanee Ben Johnson for Spurs to wheel away as winners, a result that would be more gutting if I didn't have two more matches to play that week, including hosting the league leaders in Brighton. After dispatching of them, a string of soulless draws saw us slip a hair down the table and made me fear I'd been found out. After that, though, we won three of our last four, which put us in a solid enough spot... to get promoted! The highest Shrewsbury had ever finished before this season was 8th in the second-tier, which they achieved back to back in the 80s. Somehow, this team that was tipped for relegation (and made it as high as 20th in the season preview later) made Huddersfield's run look like nothing. Jason Cummings once again torched everyone, and in the process torched his release clause to teams in a higher division (though Celtic are sniffing at him now). Sean Goss and Bruno Costa each had double digit assists, our no-name starting GK made the Championship's TOTY along with Cummings, while captain BBM Ollie Norburn somehow came up with 11 goals, half of which came in the clutchest moments or from 30 yards out. And thank god for the offensive fireworks, because Ro-Shaun Williams' departure made me feel preeeeetty shabby at the back. His replacement hasn't grown at all, and any ball over the top inevitably finds its man with our CBs running in molasses behind the striker. No surprise that pace will be my main target in the transfer window, though my first transfer talks are seeing me dining with the £1.3m-rated Emre Mor, who's not so much pacey as just downright slippery. Whatever works! This is an entire team in need of a facelift. Cummings is entrenched up top and in Shrews lore, while my central midfield is set other than maybe a cheap BBM. But I'll need a new winger (one could say I need one Mor winger...), practically an entirely new starting crew at the back, and hell, even the physical infrastructure needs some work: It's exciting and terrifying times in Shropshire, for sure. Rather than setting up training camp down the road, we're headed to Andalusia this summer (as a Bético I selfishly jumped at the chance when it came up as an option), and we have just under £30m in the transfer budget before possibly offloading a couple players, but this is a massive leap for a club with probably just 3 legitimately PL-caliber players and a less-than-towering reputation (or wage structure) to attract new talent. All I can do is try to set us up right for the future and hope the 4-3-3 that has clicked so well up to this point keeps on chugging, but it won't be enough to just find budget youngsters now. Not gonna lie, this upcoming season will be the greatest challenge I've ever undertaken in FM to date, and I'm fully expecting the worst. At least the board just wants me to fight bravely. If nothing else, we've definitely done that thus far.
  2. Shrewsbury Town F.C. ~ 2020/21 Winter (Player pics are a bit late but nobody new has really taken a huge leap forward in training or anything. The squad was worried about depth after a winter window twist, but that's been solved. Some players aren't happy that I'm not giving my 4th string CB a huge raise after Blackburn came in for him under his value, though...) Transfers: The step up meant we had a lot of work to do in the market, and for once I went in with a clear strategy. I had two targets in mind immediately, and by good grace both of them were transfer listed as soon as the window opened. I was familiar with Goduine Koyalipou from a brief Niort save last season (well rec'd btw, nice young team in Ligue 2 with no real history), and leapt on him right quick. Two-footed right winger with solid pace but not lacking in the technicals, and only 20 years old with massive room to grow! Meanwhile, Gonzalo Villar was dirt cheap as a playmaker who can make the step up to the Premier League once we reach that hallowed ground, and between him and the talismanic Goss we're set on midfield creation. Berthier and Costa (along with a dash of Alberico) rounded out our newfound wing rotation, while we dipped into another second division (this time in Germany) for our new starting goalkeeper in Uphoff, with Max O'Leary having returned to Bristol City after a relatively underwhelming loan spell last year. We also renewed loans for Louis Thompson (Norwich BBM), Luke McCormick (Chelsea BBM), and Ben Johnson (West Ham DR/DL), then brought in Nathan Trott from the Hammers to deputize Uphoff and Kieron Freeman from the relegated Blades to start at left back. The only untouched positions (in the summer) were CB and ST, as a tl;dr, but this 1.3m summer overhaul gave us solid hope that we could hang with the regulars in one of the most competitive leagues in the world. But have we...? Table: Boy, have we! Absolutely incredible season thus far for us Salops. We've never been lower than 8th, and only two weeks spent outside the playoff positions compares favorably to 5 weeks atop the league (mainly in November before a 4 match winless streak bumped us down). It took us until mid-October to draw a match as well, as a case in point of our downright enterprising play. Jason Cummings has been streaky at times, but when he connects it’s with haymakers. Sean Goss has produced 7 assists despite being dropped back to DLP (with Villar as our 10) and just recently recovering from an injury suffered in a Boxing Day destruction of Derby. That injury by itself wasn't awful, but Villar was in the midst of a 2-3 month absence himself, leaving us light on playmakers and relying a little too heavily on the very raw McCormick to be our glue at BBM. The kid's determined as hell, but his more tangible skills are too far behind for him to be any more than a backup. We made it a round further in the Carabao Cup than expected, erasing Sheff Wed 5-0 and Sunderland on pens before bowing out at Preston. A couple kind draws to Dag & Red and Wimbledon have us in the 5th round of the FA Cup, where we'll face... Manchester United or Tottenham. Away. At least we'll get some revenue from the gates, because you know those home fans are so excited to see them face a squad with our caliber. So everything is going swimmingly, and honestly as much of a dream as promotion would be, I can't say I'd be too displeased with, say, a cameo in the playoff semi-finals before saying deuces and taking next season to build/develop a legit promotion-chasing squad. But of course, as a small team living large in the Championship, there's always the threat of a relative giant seeing us as ripe for the picking. Cummings has been of interest to various teams since the summer, and Goss had a brief moment of fame in the market as well, but instead they came for the raw, uncut gem of a player that really sold me on this save. Out of nowhere on deadline day, Newcastle swept in for Ro-Shaun Williams, triggering his 7m release clause. In a flash, he was whisked north on over double his previous wages. £1.6m went into our transfer kitty, less than the £1.77m that Manchester United received as a sell-on fee, and suddenly we were scrambling for a new starting CB. Instead of going for another 16 pace 14 strength monster like Ro-Shaun though, I've taken a slight risk with a slow and savvy defender who's been plying his trade in Holland recently: If I can get that speed even just up to an 11, I'll feel pretty good given a nice array of stats elsewhere, but that's still an if. I also had a little cash left over to nab the ever-popular Aaron Hickey and help shore up my wingbacks. With 16 matches left (17 counting our impending FA Cup doom at the hands of a Big 6 club), we have the position and the tools to make a go at the top still. Our run-in sees us facing the current 19th-22nd teams too, so if we can survive the top table Brighton-Stoke-Wigan gauntlet preceding it, we could really shock everyone for the second season running. Again though, just remaining hereabouts would be nice, even if it risks us being picked apart in the summer. I'm already lining up a couple possible replacements for Cummings...
  3. @Parmie Keepers can be real rough to find for sure, yeah. Really dig the recruitment there though, Portugal is always a gold mine and it just seems like a good diversity, with a couple names I was looking to sign myself. Phenomenal job in the league too, even with what looks like a rough run of form to close out the season. Here's hoping you can keep that up in Championship Year 2. @Fubz Damn, Odubeko looks immense and then some, no wonder you're mauling every division you enter! Sucks that his value's skyrocketed so much, but at this rate you might be able to pick him up anyways after a promotion. Quite a few loanees there though, so the goal def looks to be fleshing the squad back out a bit more after those departures. @Gunner 101 Good luck with Carlisle! Starting with that winger situation is rough (speaking from experience... it took me a whole season to get it sorted), but it seems like you've got a good handle on the squad already. They're definitely a team that has some potential in them, not to mention a nice swath of the country to themselves.
  4. @Fubz Great business there with Paye, and heartening to see Notts on such sound financial footing! Hopefully you keep that group effort up with the goal-scoring, but that cushion over 4th and below is mighty nice. Kinda got my fingers crossed Aldershot stay up there too, would be insane to see both promoted clubs do the double up to L1! @warlock Will do! Netted my main transfer targets to boost the attack, so it's just a matter of bringing it onto the pitch. I feel like this year I've seen Sunderland either crush L1 or completely falter with hardly any in-between... which somehow makes sense. Wonderful start, especially considering the odd depth of the club you had to begin with. Nice that Big Sam was spreading some holiday merriment to you lot as well! Badly needed it sounds like. Have always had a soft spot for Brentford though, and it looks like you've established a nice core group to rely on, especially if you hold your lofty position through the end of the season.
  5. First time I've ever really felt hooked with an EFL save, normally I either go straight to the Prem with a midtable club or I take on the lower tiers elsewhere. Been looking at this save for a while though and finally got into it this season after seeing the transfer business they did this past summer. They've got a lot of potential, but not a lot in the way of attention this year! Shrewsbury Town F.C. ~ 2019/20 The starting squad is... interesting. The main issue is a dire lack of wingers, which definitely didn't fly with my preferred 4-3-3: Even after bringing in a little help, I essentially had the same front three for every match when healthy. That said, there are definite strengths. The CBs are absolute beasts, and made it easier to cope with the 5-3-2 I used to stick out the first half of the season. The central midfield is also quite strong and has phenomenal depth (almost too deep tbh), and up top Jason Cummings is a phenomenal player for this level. As a result... We started off sketchy, but took well enough to my slapdash 3-back system to hang around midtable. We rang in the new year with a crazy hot streak though, benefited in part by bombing out of the cup competitions earlier and reducing our focus. Despite a couple injury crises (one of which ended our streak when our wingbacks dropped like flies), we clawed our way up and clinched promotion with a match in hand. Cummings went on an absolute tear in the second half of the season, while Sean Goss (contracted as a fringe player for reasons I can't fathom) is also attracting attention from a myriad of Championship clubs. I'm desperate to hold onto both, but a well-deserved new contract for the latter should stave off all the suitors lining up for my key playmaker and set-piece wizard. With the first season window off, the only transfers I made for 19/20 were a West Ham loanee who can play either wingback position, and a Portuguese winger listed for next to nothing by Tondela. I did nab a couple youngsters (from Wolves and Hoffenheim) on frees with their contracts expiring this summer, but both are really just with the hopes of developing and selling for profit. Hoping I can properly flesh out my staff and clear out some of the old chaff in this squad to help fund our consolidation efforts; there's a couple players due south of the Channel listed for prices that I'm desperate to lock down. Not got my hopes up on them, but we'll see... Side note: Lincoln going up to complete this bizarre trio of promoted teams is made further incredible by the fact that they only nabbed 6th place because Sunderland AND Portsmouth lost to midtable clubs on the final day, while the Imps beat up on Rochdale 5-0 to draw even with Sunderland on GD and edge them on the goals scored tiebreaker! That's one for the Netflix series right there...
  6. For those who don't want to start in the top division but want a team with a lot of growth potential, Brescia is a fantastic shout. Sandro Tonali is of course the pick of the bunch as the ultimate young regista, but you have a deep group of young mids beyond him to work with as well. You have some other phenomenal youth products all around and a team that's pretty much set to go up upon first asking, but your CB situation needs touching up (esp. if you make the early leap) and I felt forced into a narrow formation because of their lack of wingers (luckily they have solid wingbacks at least). Assuming you need one immediately, scout Portugal; I know some CBs like Marcao on Chaves and Nelson Monte on Rio Ave are cheap and very solid, and there's also always values from the Big Three's B teams in the first year or two. If you want a someone for the 2019 summer, Pawel Dawidowicz (loaned to Verona from Benfica B first season) was listed in the summer of '19 for €325k so I scooped him up for my own Brescia side upon promotion.
  7. To clarify the above, Jogo is correct. The way to think about it is this: you're allowed 4+1 foreigners in your match day squad, with the +1 coming from a player from an AFC nation. You're allowed 3+1 on the pitch at the same time; that is, one of your foreigners must be on the bench and cannot be subbed on unless another foreigner has come off. Here are a couple examples from earlier today: Hebei vs. Shanghai SIPG saw Hebei start with 3+1 foreigners in the lineup. Eddi Gomes, Ivo, and Sow along with Patino as their AFC foreigner. When Ryan McGowan was subbed on, they subbed off Sow, thereby keeping them at the 3+1 requirement (technically this made them a 2+2, but that's irrelevant here). Shanghai Shenhua vs. Yanbian was similar. Shenhua's starting lineup featured Ba, Guarin, and Moreno, as well as Kim Kee-Hee from South Korea as their AFC foreigner. When they wanted to bring Obafemi Martins on, they simply subbed off Moreno, making their 3+1 now Ba/Guarin/Martins + Kee-Hee. It looks like the same applies to the Chinese FA Cup as well: to use the second leg of the finals last year, Shenhua come out with 3+1 and an unused foreign sub on the bench, while Jiangsu had three foreigners in the lineup, plus a fourth and their AFC player on the bench as subs. They subbed on the AFC player by taking off a domestic player, making their lineup a 3+1, but when Sammir came on it was for a foreigner. As for the AFC Champions League, there was a brief experiment with allowing two extra foreigners in the squads back in 2012, but that was removed a year later. Chinese clubs in the AFCCL have been using pretty much the same number of foreigners as they do domestically. In general though, it's smart to have more than just the 5 foreigners, at the very least for rotation and player absences. If Alex Teixeira went down with an injury or Ramires had to go play matches for the Brazilian nat'l team, and Jiangsu only had the bare minimum of foreigners signed to the team, then they would be down a key component of the team AND have to replace him with a domestic player (at least on the bench). If they had a spare foreigner, they could still keep their maximum amount of foreigners in the lineup. -------- I'm going to be going through this weekend and updating the above a little based on the new patch! Shifting teams around in accordance with the media predictions, updating foreigners, peering into the editor for any updated budgets, etc. It'll be interesting to see if there were any major CA/PA bumps for domestic players...
  8. I watched a Corinthians game when they came over here to the States last month; even if it was just an exhibition, they did look like they were missing Renato Augusto and Ralf for sure. Updated the OP with the Jiangsu and Beijing signings, thanks! Lavezzi apparently is headed to Hebei, which just makes them look even more fun to use! Gervinho, Kakuta, Mbia, and now Lavezzi is a pretty unreal core! I noticed that Quanjian is really shelling out a lot of cash, yeah! They're making a huge push for promotion, that's for sure. That Sun Ke transfer is in the game, too, which almost made me start a save with Jiangsu just for that windfall to be able to use to boost the squad further. I've decided to start a save with Henan, but we'll see if my attention gets drawn elsewhere! Oh, that's pretty neat! What's the atmosphere like at the games? I'd hope the fans are getting more and more passionate as the league keeps growing... sorry about Lavezzi though! Looks like he's headed to Hebei instead. That's what makes the league really interesting from a FM standpoint; you not only have to maximize your output from the foreigners you get, but develop the domestic talent to a point where the rest of your lineup can compete as well. It'd make for an interesting club and country save, I bet. Thanks! That kind of money is what got me interested in the league and making the guide in the first place, figured other people would feel the same. Don't know of any packs though, sorry.
  9. Hah, I had a feeling I missed that. Should be corrected now for all the Aussies (and one other guy I'd missed)! Thanks! It's definitely an interesting league, and with how much noise it's making hopefully this does go somewhere! I was highly tempted to try Shenzhen for my first save there, for sure, so I had to give them a shout. The prospect of bringing them back to title glory is an alluring one... but those financials though...
  10. Welp, I just finished writing the thread and didn't see this post. Did my best to take into account the new transfers (I'm not exactly an expert on the league, so I fully expect to have missed some details), especially for when the updated database comes around. There are other transfer updates that have the new signings, at least, to tide us over until the new database. Thanks for the heads-up on the transfer dealings too, I'll definitely be on the lookout for any weird happenings in the market.
  11. Now, maybe you want a bit more of a challenge. Maybe you want to try to climb the ladder a bit before asserting your presence in the big-time. Well, lucky for you, the Chinese First Division might just have what you're looking for! There's still a good bit of money in the league (how else would Hebei be able to spend like they have before they even played a game in the Super League?), but there's definitely a noticeable gap between the two divisions. Still, we have everything from newcomers to the scene to former Super League champions in the First Division, so let's highlight a couple of them in case you want to start down there. Shenzhen FC When professional football started in China, Shenzhen was founded and began in the third tier. However, with two consecutive promotions they immediately made it to the top division. When the Jia-A League became the Super League, Shenzhen was there to capture the first Super League title (and in the process became the first team to win the top three tiers of Chinese football). However, they were in the midst of financial issues, and since that magical 2004 season they haven't finished in the top ten of the Super League, getting relegated in 2011 to add insult to injury. Led by Senegalese international attacker Babacar Gueye, the team is predicted to finish around midtable, and that looks to be about right; beyond your sole international you're a bit lacking on talent (present and future, and especially outside of your attack), and your finances will be tricky to fix (especially in a nation where so many teams are flush with cash). It'll take some work, but you can definitely try to bring this team back to glory once more. Dalian Yifang This team was only founded in 2009 (and saw a similar swift rise to the top division like Shenzhen). Instead of winning a title, though, they bought a title-winner: Dalian Shide, the 7-time Jia-A League champ and 2005 Super League winner, had fallen on hard times competitively and financially, and was merged into Dalian A'erbin. While it led them to 5th place finishes in their first two seasons in the Super League, 2014 was less kind, as A'erbin finished 15th and was relegated back down a level. After a third place finish in 2015 though, they're raring to step back up to the big-time, and you've got a solid squad to do it (Zhang Chong in net and Wang Jinxian as a prospect come to mind). Xianjiang Tianshan Leopard FC I didn't just pick this team because of the badass leopard logo (though it WAS a part of why...). This squad is located inÜrümqi, the largest city in the west of China. Look at a map, and you'll realize just how far out of the way it is. The team itself has a small bit of local talent along with Bosnian Nusmir Fajic, but there's still a long way to go to get promoted and become a fortress out west. Will you be the one team that's guaranteed to tire out the opposition, be it by your own play or the jetlag? Dalian Chaoyue In real life, this team's name is the much cooler Dalian Transcendence. This is one of the two newly promoted teams in 2016, but they've still made a few signings to boost their talent (with Erton Fejzullahu leading the charge). As expected your finances aren't exactly huge, as it's Chaoyue's first time in the second tier, but your squad is actually solid and has a decent future too (Zhang Hongjiang at DM being a prime example). ??? Like many other leagues, the lowest playable division in China does in fact have relegation, which means that should you choose to, you can simulate a season and take over one of the two teams newly promoted to the Chinese first division! It might be a hell of a challenge, but it could all be worth it once you finally reach the top!
  12. The Super League teams are sorted below by 2016 season media predictions. (A) denotes an Asian foreigner. I may be off on some of these foreigners, as there might be some transfers in or out I've missed (I'm trying to stay close to the rosters for this upcoming 2016 season and as such included those major transfers). In this section especially, let me know if there are any issues or mistakes, and I'll work to correct them! ------------------------------------------- 1. Guangzhou (5-2) ~ Tianhe Stadium (58,500 capacity) --Foreigners: Jackson Martinez, Ricardo Goulart, Paulinho, Alan, Rene Junior, Kim Young-Gwon (A), Alessandro Diamanti (loaned to Atalanta) Guangzhou are the league giants for a reason. First of all... those foreigners. Prize signing Jackson Martinez joins an already stellar cast including Brazilian international Paulinho, and just by virtue of that talent you should be set for a winning ride. But wait, there's more! You obviously have a very high budget to strengthen your squad (helped in part that they recently sold leading striker Elkeson "for national glory," a very FM move if I've seen one), and it's already a team that's got quality. Elder statesman Zheng Zhi is a solid deep-lying playmaker, Yu Hanchao and Gao Lin give you talent on the wings, and younger players like Li Yuanyi and Wang Shanyuan give you a bright future domestically as well. If you want to start your save on top, well, you know this team is for you. 2. Shandong (20-1) ~ Ji'nan Olympic Sports Centre Stadium (56,808 capacity) --Foreigners: Gil, Diego Tardelli, Walter Montillo, Aloisio, Jucilei, Junior Urso (loaned to Atletico Mineiro) The only team in the league with a facility rated better than good (with superb training facilities), second to Guangzhou in Super League titles (with 3), and basically a Brazilian hub (with 5 Brazilians on the squad)... Shandong is up here in the prediction for a reason. Your best player, newly acquired Gil, will be a nightmare for opponents at centre back, and you can put Jucilei in front of him for even more solidity. Diego Tardelli can be moved around the attack, Walter Montillo provides a spark from the midfield, and you actually have a solid domestic striker in target man Yang Xu. Wang Dalei in net will be very good, too. Watch for the growth of left winger Liu Binbin and defender Li Songyi, too. Add in a hefty transfer budget out of the gate, and you can make this team a title-winner very quickly. 3. Shanggang (a.k.a. Shanghai SIPG; 33-1) ~ Shanghai Stadium (56,842 capacity) --Foreigners: Elkeson, Asamoah Gyan, Dario Conca, Jean Kouassi, Kim Ju-Young (A), Davi 2015's runners-up have had a meteoric rise, given that they made their Super League debut in 2013 and were in the third tier as recently as 2007. They're only looking better this year, too, especially after bagging prized striker/AMC Elkeson from Guangzhou. At 26, he'll be the centerpiece of your team for years to come, and Argentinian playmaker Dario Conca has more than enough creativity to set Elkeson up for many, many goals. There's talent elsewhere, too: at 24 years old Wu Lei can be a fixture either on the right wing or even as a trequartista for years, and Cai Huikang will anchor your midfield well. Yan Junling is a very solid keeper who should serve you well too. Shanggang makes for a very solid save right out of the gate, one where you can immediately compete with the best. 4. Beijing (33-1) ~ Workers' Stadium (66,161 capacity) --Foreigners: Renato Augusto, Burak Yilmaz, Ralf, Kleber, Yegor Krimets (loaned from Paxtakor) The largest team in Beijing has a solid pedigree to go with it, with one title in 2009 and three 2nd place finishes in the Super League. They too shelled out some change in the transfer window, with their major move being the incoming playmaker Renato Augusto from Corinthians. Your internationals are pretty solid, and luckily, your domestic talent is superb as well. Zhang Xizhe (just signed from Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga) is a stud AMC, while Yu Dabao and Zhang Chengdong provide wing support. You've got a very well-rounded and scary attack without a doubt, with a solid midfield to boot, and Yang Zhi guarding the goal is solid too (albeit at 33 years old). Your defense could use a bit of work quite possibly, but beyond that, this is a squad that can challenge for the Champions League spots from day one. 5. Shenhua (33-1) ~ Hongkou Football Stadium (33,060 capacity) --Foreigners: Fredy Guarin, Demba Ba, Obafemi Martins, Giovanni Moreno, Paulo Henrique, Stoppila Sunzu (loaned to LOSC Lille), Mohamed Sissoko, Avraam Papadopoulos Classic example of a Super League team led by their international stars, but what a collective of them they own. Mohamed Sissoko and Paulo Henrique are two examples of great foreigners... in your reserves! In your squad are Demba Ba, complete forward Obafemi Martins, and Fredy Guarin, the first and last players here very recently acquired for 13 million euros each. Hopefully they can carry you far early on, because frankly, there's not too much other talent. You have a little money to play with, especially by offloading some of the foreigners that won't make it into your squad, and you'll surely need to use it to really compete near the top. 6. Jiangsu (40-1) ~ Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre (61,443 capacity) --Foreigners: Alex Teixeira, Ramires, Jô, Sammir, Trent Sainsbury (A), Sergio Escudero (A, though he isn't showing up on the patch?), Edison Toloza (loaned to Junior) Generally a middling team throughout their existence, Jiangsu is doing their damndest to change that now. They already had some decent foreigners in the Croatian AMC Sammir and Japanese attacker Sergio Escudero, but they've more than outdone themselves with a few HUGE signings. Ramires from Chelsea is the biggest name and an immediate star in your midfield, but you might find your superstar to be the 50 million euro man Alex Teixeira, who can play all over but makes his home best as a killer playmaker at AMC (imagine a Teixeira/Sammir pairing at AMC! Playmaking for days!). Trent Sainsbury is a sneaky good signing as well, who can anchor your defense and has room to grow, Wu Xi can pair beautifully with Ramires in the center of your midfield, and Li Ang has some potential at CD as well. You're a little strapped for depth (the media prediction obviously stems from the overseas talent Jiangsu have brought in), but you still have a little money to play with. This is a great project if you want to build up a relatively average/below-average team around a superstar core. 7. Fuli (40-1) ~ Yuexiushan Stadium (20,000 capacity) --Foreigners: Bruninho, Renatinho, Aaron Samuel (loaned to CSKA Moscow), Michel (loaned to Real Oviedo), Jang Hyun-Soo (A), Gustav Svensson, Jeremy Bokila (loaned to Eskisehirspor) This Guangzhou side are looking to improve after finishing two points above relegation last time out, and with signings like the two inho's they've definitely done so. As a result, these little brothers to the league champs can definitely put up a fight now. Bruninho is a great striker (along with Samuel or Bokila as a partnership when they return from loan), while Renatinho, Chang Feiya, and Jiang Zhipeng give you more attacking options just behind. Zhipeng can drop back to play with Tang Miao and Jang Hyun-Soo as well. The team has a lot of solid players with a bit of room for potential growth (Jin Yangyang at CD comes to mind) and for transfer spending as well. If you make enough money to sign a legitimate star or two a la Jiangsu, this team could fly. 8. Huaxia Xingfu (a.k.a. Hebei; 50-1) ~ Qinhuangdao Olympic Sports Centre (35,000 capacity) --Foreigners: Gervinho, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Stephane Mbia, Gael Kakuta, Ersan Gulum Hebei China Fortune is making their debut in the Super League after being founded in 2010, and boy have they already made a hell of an entrance. They splashed the cash on some domestic products as well, but the focus is rightfully on the foreigners they've brought in: Stephane Mbia (an anchor wherever you put him, from DC up to MC), Ersan Gulum (another defensive anchor), and how about these guys running rampant on the wings: Gervinho, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and Gael Kakuta? Yeah, I'd want to use this team too. The fun doesn't stop there, though: they still have budget left over, and while your depth is, quite frankly, atrocious, you have a bright spot or two elsewhere in your lineup. Yang Cheng is a decent enough goalkeeper, and Du Wei provides a solid partner for one of your internationals for a year or two at centre back. If you can use the money this squad hasn't made rain to bolster the rest of your lineup and make some smart moves to add some much-needed depth to this squad, you could exceed this midtable expectation for sure! 9. Tianjin (80-1) ~ Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium 'Water Drop' (60,000 capacity) --Foreigners: Fredy Montero, Zainadine Junior, Wagner, Wilmar Gil, Mbaye Diagne, Aleksandar Jovanovic (A) A team that's only been relegated from the top tier twice since 1957, yet has only placed in the top two once in the professional age of Chinese football, it's up to you to begin a new, more dominant chapter in Tianjin's lore. The very recent pickups of Freddy Montero from Sporting in Portugal (for a cool 5 mil in Euros) and Mbaye Diagne from Hungary will surely help! You have an average bit of depth and quality to contend with, and given your foreign talent that's all right. DM Guo Hao and netminder Du Jia highlight a handful of younger guys with bright futures as well. Oh yeah, and you have a big, big transfer budget to use to your advantage, and I definitely suggest you do so. If you can do well in your first season, you can definitely build this team. 10. Henan (100-1) ~ Zhengzhou Hanghai Stadium (29,860 capacity) --Foreigners: Javier Patino (A), Eddi Gomes, Ivo, Mateusz Zachara, Osman Sow, Ryan McGowan (A) A solid selection of foreigners greets you at Henan, and with all of them ranging from 25-39 in age, they should last you a decent span of time if you want to keep them around. This includes complete forward Patino, the well-balanced AMC/AML Ivo, and Eddi Gomes, who is an absolute beast of a man (6' 5" CD with 17 in pace and strength? Marking and tackling at 15/16? Yes please!). Your current depth lags a little bit behind the foreigners, but worry not, because there is definitely talent. Mirahmetjan Muzepper begins the save highly sought-after, so it's up to you whether you want to try to hold him or cash in. Elsewhere, young winger Du Changjie and DM/MC Yang Kuo provide bright futures as well, and you've got the budget to strengthen your squad from the get-go since the team hasn't spent much this offseason. Henan was traditionally a second-tier squad up until their promotion for the 2007 season, but they're a team on the rise now. A very solid midtable start for your save, and one of my higher recommendations. 11. Changchun (100-1) ~ Development Area Stadium (25,000 capacity) --Foreigners: Marcelo Moreno, Aboubakar Oumarou, Anzur Ismoilov, Darko Matic Yes, Marcelo Moreno is worth quite a sum of money for a team down here in the prediction. Yes, he is a fantastic target man. Yes, you can try to sell him for a load of cash and maybe stick Oumarou up top instead. There's good stuff elsewhere, too, with a couple players to keep an eye on, namely DC Sun Jie and DC/DM Pei Shuai, and a solid budget right off the bat. The flip side, though, is that you could definitely afford to use the budget. Your midfield especially needs some shoring up depending on the formation you utilize, and while you have a solid centre back pairing, there isn't much in the way of GK quality behind them. Changchun was a consistent force in the latter half of last decade, with a Super League title in 2007 and a runner-up trophy in '09, but haven't done much since. Bring them back to their A-game. 12. Hangzhou (100-1) ~ Huanglong Sports Centre (52,672 capacity) --Foreigners: Anselmo Ramon, Oh Beom-Seok (A), Tim Cahill, Matthew Spiranovic (A), David Claude Angan, Imed Louati As you'd expect from a team down here in the prediction, your talent comes from your foreigners. 26 year-old Anselmo Ramon makes a great target man to spearhead your attack, there's some defense from Spiranovic and Beom-Seok, and everyone's favorite Aussie Tim Cahill is here to provide playmaking at AMC. You have a few 22 year-old prospects, most notably Luo Jing, but when it comes to current ability the team is slightly lacking. David Claude Angan looks like an enigmatic player for sure, with a great pace/strength combination, but beyond dribbling his technicals and mentals are severely lacking. Hangzhou has only finished in the top 7 once in its time in the top division, but there's potential there for you to change that. 13. Chongqing (150-1) ~ Chongqing Olympic Sports Centre (58,680 capacity) --Foreigners: Emanuel Gigliotti, Jael, Jung Woo-Young (A), Goran Milovic, Fernandinho Chongqing is a club with a yo-yo existence in the Super League, despite consistent performance in the Jia-A League, so hopefully you can bring some stability to them. You've got a full batch of foreigners to work with, with Gigliotti and Jael both providing target man qualities up front and Goran Milovic being a BEAST of a man at DC (6' 5" with 19 strength, 18 jumping, and 19 balance!)... and a dearth of talent otherwise. You need the money, too, because beyond those foreigners, you're at a severe lack of current ability. Even worse, where the current ability is for the team, that's where all their potentials are, too! This is definitely a little bit of a rebuilding project, because having star strikers galore will only get you so far. 14. Yongchang (a.k.a. Shijiazuang Ever Bright; 150-1) ~ Yutong International Sports Centre (38,500 capacity) --Foreigners: Ruben Micael, Rondon, Jacob Mulenga, Cho Yong-Hyung (A) Established in 2011 and making their top tier debut in 2015, things really might seem Ever Bright at first glance for this Hebei-based squad. It looks even better when you take into account their decent budget and their diverse set of foreigners, from the playmaker Ruben Micael to the complete forward Rondon, and Korean central defender Yong-Hyung sitting in your reserves ready for action. Like a few other of the teams below, though, the good news starts to slow down here. Your best youngster in terms of potential is on loan from the Guangzhou giants, and after that you're left with a pretty bare cupboard for prospects. Mediocre players abound for your starting lineup beyond the foreigners, with one or two showing signs of surpassing (or already having surpassed) that barrier, but they're not so old that they'll immediately fall into decline and put you in a rough spot. Still, this isn't the easiest team to pick, but it's surely not the hardest, and it's one you can take to midtable right off the bat. 15. Liaoning (150-1) ~ Panjin Jinxiu Stadium (35,600 capacity) --Foreigners: James Troisi (A), Assani Lukimya, Ibrahima Toure, Michael Thwaite (A), James Chamanga A relatively average team, to be honest. A couple of your U19s might have fringe starter potential, your depth is okay, and Yang Shanping makes a decent-quality pairing with Lukimya to solidify your backline. Liaoning has been a highly consistent presence in the top tier since the 1950's, and they carried a ridiculous stretch of 7 titles between 1985 and 1993 to boot, so your goal, of course, is to get back to that golden age of Liaoning football and defy this prediction! 16. Yanbian (200-1) ~ Yanji Sports Centre Stadium (30,000 capacity) --Foreigners: Kim Seung-Dae (A), Ha Tae-Goon (A), Nikola Petkovic, Yoon Bit-Garam (A), Steve Yanbian made a few purchases from the K-League, so expect that foreigner tally to grow. Anyways, Yanbian is one of the newbies in the Super League this season (albeit not a newcomer to the top tier of Chinese football by any means), and to be honest this media prediction looks harsh. Kim Seung-Dae and Ha Tae-Goon make a solid strike partnership, and there's a great bit of defensive depth and talent at your disposal right out of the gate. The recent departure of Jailton Paraiba is balanced by the recent influx of Korean talent on the attack, but either way you could use some more firepower in the midfield. Mitigate that concern, though, and a midtable finish should be feasible. No team here is too awfully downtrodden on finances. Some have their warchests more stocked than others, of course, but that's nothing good management won't solve! Plus, if you don't like the foreigners on the squad (not only the ones that come in your starting lineup, but the extra foreigners languishing in the reserve squads of many of these teams), you can try to sell them to get some budget space. Definitely look over all your options and stay flexible in case someone who could push you over the top hits the market!
  13. Professional football in China only began in 1994, with the Chinese Jia-A League. Ten years later, its current incarnation was founded with 12 teams in the league. The Super League endured a rocky start, with low interest harmed further by scandals involving gambling and match fixing. However, the league quickly expanded to 16 teams by 2008, railed against the corruption and put those scandals to a halt, and boosted their attendance numbers, with a 16.8% increase this past season signifying how quickly the league is growing (of course, with all these recent transfers it's sure to keep skyrocketing!). Perhaps surprisingly, only 4 teams have played in Super League every year, and the superpowered Guangzhou Evergrande isn't one of them! Beijing Guoan (1 title, 3 runner-ups), Shandong Luneng Taishan (3 titles, 2 runner-ups), Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (3 runner-ups), and Tianjin Teda (1 runner-up) are the 'fearsome four,' and a fifth (Beijing Renhe, best finish 3rd in 2004) just got relegated. Meanwhile, we have two newcomers to the league this 2016 season (Yanbian Funde and Hebei CFFC), and last season saw the debut of Shijiazhuang Ever Bright F.C., so the range of history in this young league is already quite wide! NOTE: I'm writing this guide with an eye towards the highly anticipated 2016 season, and I highly recommend, if you're going to start a save now in the Super League, downloading an update pack with the promotions/relegations as well as all the transfers that have taken place (something like pr0's set of updates, perhaps. Side note, I'm not using any CA/PA alterations in this guide, though some of these packs do have them). Much of this information crosses over to playing a 2015 version of the Super League, but with names like Gervinho and Ramires making their way to China recently it's a much more dynamic league, especially with a couple teams adding key players to aid in the fight to knock Guangzhou off their pedestal! Now, as for the rules... The season usually takes place from February/March to around November, making the January transfer window your prime buying season. You have a relatively limited amount of domestic transfers per window, but foreign transfers are unlimited... until you consider the league's squad restrictions. A maximum of 5 foreign players, 4 from other continents and a fifth from Asia (with one less of each in the starting lineup), and the requirement of a Chinese goalkeeper means that youth development will be the key to a great long-term save in the emerging Super League. The facilities of the teams range from bare bones to merely "good," but the good news is that a lot of these teams have money to burn for facility development. In fact, I believe there isn't a single club in the top two divisions with any legitimate outstanding debt, nearly an impossibility in Europe! Other rules to note in the Super League: Relatively short seasons, with only 30 games played in the league itself before factoring in the domestic cup, int'l play, etc. The main tiebreaker in the standings is head-to-head results, rather than goal differential. At least the top 4 in the standings will qualify for the Asian Champions League, and the bottom two teams will get relegated. The booking suspensions are relatively strict, with a game suspension for every 4 yellows and a harsh uptick in suspension time for each successive red card. Keep the aggression to a minimum is the message here!
  14. The Chinese Super League thread Welcome to the thread dedicated to the Chinese Super League! Recently we've seen teams from this league really splash the cash on some big names from major leagues in Europe and South America, so you could find a surprising amount of familiarity despite the many changes this league has to offer from your standard fare! If you're looking for a departure from the norm, but still want to be able to spend to your heart's content, well, maybe this league is just the one for you! What's covered in the thread: A brief about the league, with some history and facts Along those lines, the rules and structure of the league itself The Super League teams themselves, sorted by media prediction and analyzed A quick glance at some of the teams in China's First Division If there are any mistakes in the following posts, let me know; I'm not exactly an expert on the league, so if you see something, give me a shout and I'll try to fix it!
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