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Progressive and Predictive Squad-Balancing

Introduction

A squad building thread is something I've been meaning to start for awhile as it's an area that doesn't always receive a lot of discussion but is, I think, one of the defining jobs when playing FM, particularly if you enjoy developing a team over a number of seasons and trying to 'build a legacy'. But how do you do it?

Background

So anyone who has seen any of my threads knows that my Southampton team enjoyed a nice rise to the Premiership after I took over after a season or so of game-time, fought for Premiership survival and finally broke into the upper eschelon of English and European clubs.

During my whole time there I knew where I wanted to go with the club and where I wanted to go with the players I had. I tried to predict which ones would be able to cut it at the top when the time came and which were just going to do a job right now. This is an example of both progressive and predictive squad-balancing in operation.

Progressive Squad-Balancing

This is the term I use to describe the natural cycle of replacing players with better players as your club rises in reputation. It's a fairly simple concept that is made possible by larger budgets and rising stature and is absolutely crucial to developing a top club. It is a brutal process that is unavoidable if you want to climb to the top and stay there.

It is a process that is simple to execute and just involves balancing your transfer and wage budgets as better players are attracted by your club. One in-one out is usually best to maintain a healthy squad balance and make sure that positions are filled and covered.

Predictive Squad-Balancing

This process is a little trickier and one that is different for each manager. To really harness the power of your squad you have to have an idea of what a player can do for you now and how they will fit in at a later date. You must predict where your club will be, how your rise will occur and how players will develop. It's not easy to make these decisions.

Your transfer policy changes from a replacement strategy to one that is more fluid and more complex. But why is this important? Because whilst the basic requirement of a squad is to build a strong team and cover injuries it should also be possible to cover a variety of situations as well

I've deliberately steered clear of examples during this rather lengthy introduction but it's time to get to the meat of it.

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The Depth Chart

DepthChart.jpg

Basic Depth Chart

So here is my current 1st team squad. I have a few guys who are on loan who I really consider part of the squad and I will address those guys later but for my next game these are the guys I will be choosing from. My U18's sit beneath this and are not seriously in contention for 1st team games although I will also address them later as well to be complete.

The depth chart is something that I think we all use. It's a hierarchy of players that makes up our squad with our “1st XI” at it's apex (I use speech marks as I don't really believe in the concept of a 1st XI for anything other than theory, I'llelaborate shortly). I've actually found it pretty hard to 'draw' this depth chart as it's a dynamic concept with players playing in different positions and fulfilling different roles but as a general rule this is my depth chart with my 'better' players at the top of each position.

I thought long and hard about whether to include a description of each player as it's rather self-indulgent but will, briefly, include it as it really shows how the squad interacts:

Regens are in blue.

Each name is linked to a screenshot.

Name - Position - Age - Date Joined - Transfer Fee - Current Wage

GK

Coceres GK 25 - 2018/19 - 2.5m - 37k - 1st choice, no doubt. Barring injury, rotation (rare) or serious lack of form this guy will be between the sticks.

Jansen GK 23 - 2020/21 - Free - 12k - Younger, cheaper but a solid and reliable back up. Also capped for his country which will cause problems as he won't be happy to be understudy for long.

DL

Kelava DL 22 - 2017/18 - 275k - 21.5k - A solid, all-round LB. Young, reliable, quick, decent defensively and unselfish. Solid with the ball but not spectacular. 12 caps for Croatia where he plays DC in a 3-man defence– would make a half-decent quick DC if I wanted to retrain his position but I don't.

Kouame DL 22 - 2015/16 - 2.4m - 20k – Been on loan at top(ish) clubs for a while and generally performed well. Lightning fast and better going forward. Contrasts fairly well with Kelava.

DCl (better with the ball)

Milanovic DC 28 - 2016/17 - 5.5m - 60k – Fairly quick for a DC and been a good performer over a number of years. Slightly better than Jones with the ball.

Rigamonti DC/DR 23 - 2015/16 - 875k - 29k – Better ball player (despite his stats, which are average) and also a regular for Italy despite not getting regular games for me. Retrained to play at DR for the good of the team.

DCr (more traditional solid unit)

Phil JonesDC/DM28 - 2019/20 - 20m - 105k – Mentally and physically outstanding. Always plays well, currently my best DC and rarely plays elsewhere.

Gray DC 20 - 2018/19 - 3.6m - 15k – I've shown this guy in other threads, he is, quite simply, amazing. Very young but has seen meteoric growth. Turned out to be very physical with great attributes for a CB and not much else (which is fine). Best to pair him with a better ball player. Not quite reliable enough yet for a DC but capable of putting in a shift.

Berra DC 35 - 2013/14 - 1.4m - 7.5k - Has been a rock over the years and didn't miss a game for 4 years as we fought for European spots – was also a cracking captain during that time. Struggled with the real top flight as his years advanced but can still put in a shift in the right game. Normally I wouldn't carry a guy (I have plenty of DC options) but he is an excellent tutor and looks like he'll be an excellent coach.

DR

Spence DRLC 30 - 2013/13 - 4.5m - 30k – Former captain who is still around because he's solid and plays a variety of positions well. His skillset is really a DC and he played there for a while but normally plays at DR/DL as he is the most solid of my options when I need more defensive stability. No technical ability but very physical and not bad mentally.

Thiago SantosDR 23 - 2016/17 - 3.2m - 37k – Lightning fast with a good engine and much better attacking than defending. Contrasts well with Spence and the retrained Rigamonti who are both CB's masquerading as DR's.

DM

Old DM 24 - 2015/16 - 6m - 105k – One of 3 truly outstanding DM's in the game. Good at everything. Predominantly plays DM but has just enough attacking nouse to play as a solid MC as well.

Esposito DM 19 - 2019/20 - 14.25m - 25k – A decent young prospect who has been getting plenty of gametime. Better at creating than defending really and is slightly different to the all action performance of Old.

Lasarte DM/DC19 - 2019/20 - 1.5m - 24.5k – Will eventually fall back as a ball-playing DC when Milanovic and Jones are past it but for now can pick up a few games in midfield. Should be on loan but I couldn't find a decent taker. Might go on loan next year to Chelsea who have offered several times but don't rate him high enough yet.

MCl (slightly more attacking MC)

Shelvey MC/AM28 - 2017/18 - 15m - 50k - Good allrounder who is slightly more attack minded than defensive although I'll happily play him with another truly creative guy in midfield.

Kovacic AM 26 - 2016/17 - Free - 65k - I love this dude but he gets very little game time asI don't naturally play an AM, whilst he is happy at MC he is weak and can't defend for toffee. Absolute genius with the ball though, contrasts with my other midfielders.

MCr (more solid MC)

Sandro MC/DM31 - 2013/14 - 1.2m - 80k – An absolute monster, physical and extremely mental but with decent technicals. Very reliable although just starting to feel his age.

Diego CostaMC 22 - 2014/15 - 1.3m - 25k – Has been on loan but given a chance this year and he's done well. A solid allround midfielder who is a good ball player. Will never be a presence like Sandro but good technically.

AML (slightly more creative wing)

Wilshere AMRLC 29 - 2019/20 - 14.5m - 92k – A technical and mental player with just decent enough physicals. Provides some guile to my attack and is versatile. Doesn't set the world on fire very often but plays a very important role.

Wellington SilvaAMLC/FC28 - 2015/16 - 7.75m - 60k – An attacker, good with the ball at his feet and decent in front of goal. Works hard but not good at much else. I consider him a creator as he does alright for assists but nothing in his attributes really suggest this.

Lallana AMRLC 32 - Part of the Furniture - 30k – I've included him here but he crops up all over. Very very reliable. Stats aren't great and he isn't a fantastic mentor but he loves the club and I genuinely think that makes him perform. Has scored some very important goals. Probably will be his last season at the club though unless he coaches (which is unlikely).

AMR (more destructive wing)

Rudenok AMRLC/FC27 - 2014/15 - 13.5m - 110k – This guy is an absolute unit and is my star. Scores for fun at any level (68 from 66 for Belarus but 2 goals a game for the last couple of years, not much less for me). Requires space to work and can be selfish and waste chances. Often loses the ball and gets the odd red for diving but all is tolerated because he is such a weapon going forward.

Luiz AMR 24 - 2018/19 - 5.5m - 35k – A total contrast to my other attackers as this guy is an out-and-out traditional winger with blistering pace and good at crossing. Finishing is only 11 but his high technique and flair means he has scored some sensational goals. Playing very well this season, so much so that Rudenok has had to fit in at FC several times to accommodate him.

FC

BangouraFC 20 - 2018/19 - 16m - 76k – Can do it all. Very very good infront of goal with immense work rate, teamwork and off-the-ball. Creates all sorts of gaps through endeavour. Also creative enough and great in the air with impressive technique. Only 3 caps for France as they have an abundance of top top quality FC's which means he's fresh for me!! Not for long though I reckon.

HulkFC/AML34 - 2017/18 - 13.75m - 80k – Hulk is incredible, very physical with impressive mental and technical stats. I got him late in his career but still good. Played mainly at AML but his pace is just going so will see some action in the middle. I'd like to keep him on but he's asking stupid money.

MullerFC/AMC23 - 2020/21 - 15m - 65k – My new acquisition, will replace Hulk as an option through the middle. This guy contrasts Bangoura as he is much more of a targetman who is fantastic technically and will hopefully be a great provider.

Here's a depth chart showing all the positions players cover:

DepthChartComplete.jpg

​Full Cover Depth Chart

This depth chart shows that I've fulfilled the basic requirement of a squad and covered every position I use with at least 3 players.

As a general rule I like to have 2 players capable of doing a job in every position with a 3rd who can fill in. This 3rd is usually a guy who can play in that position (where another position is his main one) but it could be taken by a youngster. Before the acquisition of Muller I was a little light up top with just Bangoura and Hulk with Rudenok/Wellington Silva as well (although they're usually widemen) which is too few when I want to change to have 2 strikers. So Muller comes in (see the addendum).

What I also have incorporated into my squad is contrast so that I fulfill the 2nd requirement of a squad: dealing with different situations.

The 1st XI

As a concept to help you organise your squad the 1st XI is great but if you stick too religiously to it you run the risk of becoming one-dimensional. So I create contrast in my playing personnel to ensure that I can deal with the challenge of playing a quick, mobile Bayern side in the CL semi-final and also finish off the season against a tough and plucky WBA side at the Hawthorns.

In short, I'm now in a position where I couldn't tell you my 1st XI. Kovacic is listed behind Shelvey in my teamsheets but in many ways he's a better player – Kelava and Kouame are at a very similar level but play differently – Rudenok is a beast of a finisher whereas Wilshere/Lallana/Luiz are all more creative than finishers so play the role on the right very differently – Jones & Gray are stoppers whereas Milanovic and Rigamonti are better with the ball – contrast.

Buying the hottest young striker in European football is probably possible most of the time for a big club but what's the point in bringing another poacher to your club? Probably at the expense of most of your budget? Why bring in another star DLP when you already carry 2 in your squad? Wouldn't a gritty ball-winner be a better choice to partner your DLPs? Even if the gritty ball-winner wasn't quite as good as that 3rd DLP you're eyeing up?

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Creating Contrast

The major flaw of constructing a rigid depth chart is that whilst it is easy that way to organise your squad and cover injuries you are missing out on the 2nd crucial piece of creating a squad which is creating variation. A squad with variety can cover rotation and allows the canny manager to pick the best guy for the job.

Against a Tottenham side who are firing crosses from everywhere I'll stick in the gnarled old centre-back who has a dent in his forehead from a career of heading but against a quick and counter-attacking Everton side I'll stick in my quicker, better anticipating CB. Against Roma with their paper defence I'll stick my finishers in but against Blackburn, who will park the bus very effectively, I'll get more creativity in. I haven't touched my tactics yet, that can come as I delve further into my game-plan but I've already set the foundations for that game-plan with my team selection which is made possible by the depth of variety in my squad. I might not change my tactics at all and I'd still be capable of fielding different setups.

Here's some examples from my squad:

Esposito vs Old

Esposito-v-Old.jpg

Donatello Esposito vs Jonathan Old

Esposito is the young creative buck who needs to develop whereas Old is a beast of a player. Whilst these guys aren't in direct competition for a spot, Old has that sown up, they do play sufficiently different that I can keep developing Esposito without compromising results.

The main difference is that Old is far far more physical which allows him to provide excellent cover for marauding full-backs whilst Esposito is better technically. Esposito is a good decision-maker but not yet a creative mastermind (with 11 for teamwork, just 6 for flair andonly 14 creativity will he ever, I'm hoping he will be good enough) but he has already shown some impressive touches with the ball and allows Old to either play at MC or get a rest. Esposito cost me alot, about 15M at 17 years old (I got carried away and thought he was better than he actually is but he has loads of growing room) but at 25K a week is fairly cheap.

They have varying PPM's as well with Old being more conservative in his approach to the game.

Thiago Santos vs Spence

Santos-v-Spence.jpg

Thiago Santos vs Jordan Spence

Now these guys are at different stages of their career but a quick glance at the pinwheel shows how markedly different they are. Spence is a natural at DR but his skillset is clearly more suited to DC so he makes a solid, defensive and reliable DR for those games when I need a big ole' bruiser.

In contrast, Thiago Santos is a lightning fast attacking player. His main asset is speed but he is a decent allrounder mentally and not too shabby technically so long as I don't expect too much of him. If he was better at crossing he'd be really great but as it is he does alright, he is also fairly reasonable for wages (given that he is starting to be a regular for Brazil he could be asking for a lot more).

Shelvey vs Kovacic

Shelvey-v-Kovacic.jpg

Jonjo Shelvey vs Mateo Kovacic

These two really provide a clear contrast. According to the pinwheel Shelvey is the better attacker (probably due to being a better finisher) but whilst he is an accomplished attacker he isn't in Kovacic's league when considering outstanding playmakers.

Kovacic has some incredible assets for a playmaker. Incredible technique, passing, creativity, decisions, anticipation and flair are matched with good first touch and teamwork whilst he is fairly quick, hardworking and good enough off the ball be a distracting force as well as pulling the trigger.

The problem is that I don't always play with an AMC and he is weak and can't defend. I use a DM so he is protected somewhat but Shelvey, with his more allround approach to the game, is usually preferred.

Luiz vs Rudenok

Luiz-v-Rudenok.jpg

Luiz vs Alexey Rudenok

The pinwheel shows a bit of contrast but the real contrast happens when you delve a little deeper into how their attributes define these 2 asplayers.

Rudenok has been my hero for a number of years now and has developed into one of the finest goalscorers on my save. His main asset is his immense physical presence, he is able to knock you over or run around you. He is fantastic when I sit deep and fire balls over the top but he has just enough technical ability to run through a defence as well.

Luiz, in stark contrast, is, in many ways, the more refined player. He has immense technical ability (technique is normally 19 but injury has lowered it) and his skillset is that of a traditional winger rather than a finisher. These guys couldn't be more different whilst sharing a position and bring a very different dynamic to the team when they are in it.

Abolish the 1st XI

Hopefully those few brief examples show some of the decision making that I put into building a squad. The players don't all need to be 30M, 150K a week doyens of the game to be able to put in a shift. If you have contrast between playing styles then you have a dynamic team capable of playing a number of different ways and dealing with all the different situations you'll encounter during a season. If you are a reactive manager who can spot a strength or weakness of the opposition then building a varied squad becomes practically essential.

Whilst teams at the top are the only ones truly capable of creating a varied squad it should be the aim of any manager who wants to be a force against different opposition. Even lower league teams who play 442 but can only afford 3 squad strikers should strive for variety – infact, with tighter squads and tighter budgets you could easily argue that it is more important for smaller teams.

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The Peasants Are Revolting

I think the next step when considering your squad is what happens when you must revolutionise your squad. This might be because you've just tempted a star player to your squad and you want to build a team around him but it normally happens as players retire. Often a generation will just reach past their peak at the same time so this period can be incredibly disruptive and failing to plan for it isn't a good idea.

You can see from the ages in my squad that the real boys are approaching their pasture time and I will have to rebuild my squad with the added challenge of attempting to stay at the top. I don't know how I will do it yet but with players like Luiz, Diego Costa, Gray, Esposito, Lasarte, my DLs and hopefully some of my current U18 crop I'm hoping that I've already laid the foundation for when revolution must occur over the next couple of years.

The Squads

For the sake of completeness I'll include a run down of every playing member I have at the squad. I haven't mentioned the U18's much but I try to follow the same procedure of creating variety i.e. 2 quick forwards who can finish / 2 creative forwards etc etc. My reserve squad consists of my loan players. Some of these are being fattened up for market but some I would like to move into my squad as players retire.

Squad_U18.jpg

Southampton U18 - The Start of the Production Line

Squad_Res.jpg

Southampton Reserves - Supplying the League with Talent Since 2013

Squad_1st.jpg

Southampton 1st Team 2020/21 Season

These Boys Really Increase Shirt Sale Revenue

Conclusion

So my aim for this thread was just to present some thoughts on creating a varied and balanced squad that is capable of being a real weapon in the hands of the right manager. I've included it here in the tactical forum as many of the decisions we make regarding tactics are naturally intertwined with our selection policy and squad building is a firm part of allowing selection policy.

Happy squad building!!

Addendum

I'll add a quick section which shows an example of how squad building has influenced my latest addition to the squad, this lad:

Muller.jpg

Amir Muller - Welcome to Southampton

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The Acquisition of Amir Muller

The screenshot above shows the latest addition to my squad. I haven't played any games with him in the squad yet so I can't tell you whether he is a success or not but I'll just chat through my thought processes on signing a new player to my squad. This will be as much about judging players as it is about the whole squad but the 2 topics go hand in hand anyway.

My squad has been fairly stable and whilst I made a raft of transfers at the start of the season these were all youngsters and I let a few players go for quite big money so I had a fair old transfer budget to play with, I think it may even have been as high as 60M if I jiggled the budgets a little. My wage bill has steadily risen but I'm pretty frugal with how much I pay and balk at paying huge sums so I've got some wages to play with too. As I'm one of the top clubs in the world this pretty much means that I have the world to choose from. I have an extensive scout network and keep an eye on such things so I know what's out there but first I just have to check on the exact makeup of my strike-force.

If you have a quick look back at my depth chart you'll see that without Muller I'm actually a little light up top, this is deliberate as I wanted to spend wisely in this area and it's not as light as you might think given that I normally use single striker formations. However, I've been slowly developing a move to a 4312 for several reasons:

  • My wingers are getting older - all of my AML's are approaching 30. This isn't a great problem as I could probably replace, there are a few options out there.
  • Rudenok, my star, should probably move more central as he ages so it's partly to accommodate this.
  • I have an absolute genius Treq in my squad in Kovacic who I have only rarely used to his fullest ability.
  • Barring Luiz the rest of my squad is ready to play a 4312 - I've tentatively tested Luiz at striker and despite his shocking finishing (only 11) and lack of positional ability he does just fine, particularly if I let him move wide frequently.

So with this outline of the future plans for my squad that incorporate the transition my squad must undergo in the next few years as a generation of real boys retire I have room for at least 1 more top quality striker in my squad. Let's have a quick in-depth look at my current strike-force and you can decide for yourself if you agree with my analysis of the players (bear in mind that I've seen these boys play for years and years so am influenced by more than their raw attributes - PPM's, personality and humble gut feeling all come into an analysis of a player)

My Current Options

Soumah Bangoura - FC - 20 - Complete Forward / Advanced Forward

Bangoura.jpg

Soumah Bangoura aka The Man

It hardly takes a genius to see that this boy is pretty darned good. I've raved about him elsewhere before but it's clear how good he is. He is quick, strong, works hard for the team, has good technique, good with the ball at his feet, good with it in the air - aside from switching off occasionally and struggling with 2 games a week for any length of time this guy is absolutely outstanding.

Off the ball, work rate, teamwork, determination, stamina & pace means he is a genius at creating space through endeavour - both for himself and for others. Strength, balance & first touch means he can hold the ball up and is happy playing the lone striker. Technique, finishing and composure means he can put it away. He just about has the anticipation, decisions and creativity to also be a creator (his passing & teamwork are good enough for this role too). And he's only 20 but has already scored a shedload of goals over the last couple of seasons.

Finding someone who is as good as this guy is difficult at best so what I really need to do is find someone to compliment him.

Alexey Rudenok - AMR/FC/AML/AMC - 27 - Advanced Forward - Poacher

Rudenok.jpg

Alexey Rudenok - From Old Russia With Love

My team has thrived pretty much off of the success of this guy. His attributes, whilst pretty good, are not up there with the best in the world by any means but his goal scoring record most certainly is. 66 gls from 68 caps, with the bulk of those coming in the last 3 years is impressive and he's only been slightly less prolific for me.

His defining attribute is his outstanding physicality. His technique is reasonable (used to be better annoyingly) while he is good enough at dribbling and finishing. Poor anticipation, concentration and determination should severely hamper this guy but he does well regardless. The only situation he struggles with is when we are chasing a game - this sees him selfishly try and win the game by himself whereby he normally fires a load over from 30yards.

He loves to play high up the pitch and Bangoura is creative enough to allow him to do it. They aren't a naturally perfect match together but they do pretty well - especially in those situations where you want 2 guys battering the opposition.

Hulk - FC/AML - 34 - Complete Forward

Hulk.jpg

Hulk - Just Losing His Edge

I picked up Hulk at the age of 30 for a half decent sum and he has mainly plied his trade on the left wing where his technique and PPM's allowed him to be a successful left footed inside forward on the left. His attributes are on the wane now but if he'll accept a lower wage I'll keep him on for at least another year - he's a pretty good tutor.

His main assets were physicality although he has had to rely on his decent mentals and technique more recently. Can still do a decent job but I wouldn't expect him to do it consistently. Part of signing a new guy is because Hulk has one eye on the pasture.

Wellington Silva - AML/FC/AMC - 27 - Advanced Forward / Deep-Lying Forward

WellingtonSilva.jpg

Wellington Silva - From Brazil to England

I've included Wellington Silva because although he has predominantly played AML for me he is actually a natural FC, and actually not too shabby. He works hard, has decent technique for a finisher and is pretty darned quick to boot.

You might think I'm mad because I've listed him as a DLF as well and whilst his creativity is alright, he's not a great decision maker, not a team player and pretty poor at passing (good technique does help though), however, I've seen him play for years and he does a decent job at creating for other players. His main skill is obviously running at the opposition and he has scored some spectacular and very important goals for me but, somewhat surprisingly, he has also created some important ones too.

The Problem Defined

On top of these options I also have a laddy named Adriano who is a lightning fast poacher type but he is currently on loan attempting to gain a work permit so isn't in serious contention for a place for the next few years (despite the work permit problem he is young and needs to develop anyway).

So by looking at my four current options you can see my strike-force is none too shabby already but what it lacks is a creative player up front. Ideally I'd like someone who is quick enough to be a threat over the top, strong enough and smart enough to play up front by himself when necessary and cunning enough to be a great partner for either Bangoura or Rudenok who are both better more advanced (although I'm happy to pair them together as Bangoura is rounded enough).

As I knew this situation was coming I've been preparing for a new striker for at least a year now, probably longer, and I was able to draw up a shortlist of 5 players.

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The Shortlist

Jesus Ibarrondo – Valencia – FC – 26 – Poacher

Ibarrondo.jpg

Jesus Ibarrondo - Doesn't Like Fancy Football

Assets

  • Very physical – would fit in well.
  • Good personality – scout reports all favourable, good performances too.
  • Great record – good performances, great goal scoring record.
  • Anticipation, composure, finishing – the poachers holy triplet (decisions good too).
  • Off the ball, work-rate, engine – good movement.
  • Also decent in the air.

Drawbacks

  • Expensive – technically I can afford it but his transfer and wages will be steep.
  • One-footed – not the greatest flaw but still undesirable up front.
  • Already 26 – not too much of a problem but I'd prefer longer term as I have other options in my squad.
  • I already have poachers/adv.forwards in the squad and this guy doesn't offer much contrast although is an outstanding player.

Decision

  • Awesome player at what he does but I've got that covered in the squad and he's mega expensive and not young enough to be a real long-term prospect.

Paolo Mosconi – Roma – FC – 22 – Poacher / Advanced Forward

Mosconi.jpg

Paolo Mosconi - Enjoys A Nice Suit

Assets

  • Physicality – would fit in. Quick and strong.
  • Good movement – off-the-ball, work-rate, stamina.
  • Great goal scoring record – always amongst the goals.
  • Young

Drawbacks

  • Stupidly expensive – think I made a cheeky offer for him in the region of 50M to test the water and that was rejected. He'd also ask stupid wages due to an already high reputation.
  • Technically poor for a player of his quality.
  • Limited anticipation, composure & decisions which are useful for a scorer.
  • Already have his strengths covered in my squad.

Decision

  • Although his record is pretty impressive he has flaws in his attribute distribution and is far far far too expensive. I'd say over-rated but he does score and does play well.

Ronny Perrotta – Arsenal –FC/AMR – Complete Forward

Perrotta.jpg

Ronny Perrotta - Style Above Substance

Assets

  • Physical enough and well-rounded mentally and technically.
  • Good movement – off-the-ball, work-rate, stamina.
  • More realistic cost (although there is a problem here).
  • I've almost bought him before so I've had a good look at him numerous times before.
  • Young enough to still see some improvement.
  • Already in England so less adapting to a new culture required.
  • Also covers on the right.

Drawbacks

  • Although less expensive on the face of it he is at a rival so won't be available for a decent price.
  • I can cope with a lack of concentration and lowish teamwork but lowish decisions does bother me.
    * Although probably a competent provider is slightly better off as a finisher, which I have covered in the squad.
  • Poor form over the last couple of years – possibly from playing out of position but possibly an indication of poor personality (although he has improved nicely over that time).

Decision

  • Tight call with this guy but given his high price due to being at a rival club and that he doesn't really quite excel at any one role I had to pass – not for the first time with him.

Kaka – Porto – 22 – CreativeTargetman / Complete Forward

Kaka.jpg

Kaka - Rock-star Good Looks

Assets

  • This guy is immense – pretty physical with decent mentals are very good technically.
  • More than capable of playing the lone striker role.
  • Not outrageously creative but more than capable of playing successfully alongside a poacher-type.
  • Immense flair and technique mean this guy is probably capable of absolute, unashamed brilliance.
  • Very few true weaknesses.
  • Young.

Drawbacks

  • Not truly creative (I'm clutching at straws in terms of who he is).
  • This is the clincher – Porto want at least 45M. Big fee. I have the budget for it but it's an awfully large fee.

Decision

  • Very very close to demolishing the transfer record with this guy. Young and outstanding. The only problem is that he is very expensive for a guy who is not massively different from Bangoura, which leads me to...

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The Winner

Muller.jpg

Very Green

Whilst I am pretty darned excited about my new signing I'm well aware that he isn't without his flaws. I would ideally have liked a bit more pace – he'll be a decent goal threat, particularly with his head, but a little bit more pace would make him a genuine goal-scoring threat as well as a creative force.

He is immensely technical although it is a crying shame that that 14 technique isn't a little higher. I've come to appreciate the importance of technique and the difference between a 14 technique player and a 19 technique player can be pretty great – hopefully he'll be fine.

His main asset is that he is a great thinker – awesome decisions (another attribute I really value) matched with decent creativity, anticipation, composure, concentration and teamwork. He's also fairly young.

To round this all out he's been playing well and amongst the goals and assists at Besiktas. I nearly signed him before he joined Besiktas but it hasn't hurt me to wait and see that he has performed well over the last year.

A further benefit for him though was that he was available for just 15M whilst not costing the Earth in wages. Whilst it's debatable whether he is really a 'better' player than Kaka at 30 Million quid less he certainly is better value.

The real clincher though is that he brings something totally new to the squad. Whilst I had a large physical guy in Rudenok up front he doesn't really have the skillset to be a good targetman whereas Muller does. Muller also has the advantage that he adds some much needed genuine creative ability up front. He also plays AM and despite almost certainly being better further up field I'm confidenthe could do a job at AM when required.

An Added Bonus of Choosing Wisely

Muller-News.jpg

Not a Fan of Manchester

Not only did he reject my major rivals which shows he has impeccable taste he was also a hit with his former crowd which is testament to his high level of performance and hints towards an exceptional personality.

Only time will tell but surely this will be a successful signing!

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An absolute quality thread :thup:

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Yep, agree with Cleon. Fantastic read and it's quite similar to how I'm trying to build my squad. You're at a point where you are very nicely set whereas despite me being six seasons in I've had to try and improve the quality of my side as I go rather than add the contrasts that I want.

Just taking my own game and sharing here, as of right now I only have Poachers for strikers but I have a young player that I want to try and develop into a DLF role, whilst still having a specialised Poacher (Paloschi) for those games where he might be more suited. I also have another young striker that I'm trying to mould into a goal scoring inside forward and if necessary, covering for my attacking midfielder, since right now I don't have a goal scorer in my attacking band of 3 of the Gerrard or Lampard mould who can from midfield hit 20 in a season.

You have covered everything there that could be asked in developing a squad I feel, so top job :)

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Great job furious. :thup:

One thing that I'd like to add is that I've noticed when building squads is that I tend to aim towards having players at the back and in midfield who are reckoned to be highly consistent in their performances by my coaches, while the further up the pitch I go, the more my players tend to thrive in big games. This seems quite logical to me, as mistakes at the back can be very costly and these are lessened by the ability to perform consistently, while having the ability to make the difference up front can be key in unlocking tight games against strong teams.

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And this i why the guy (you're a guy, right? Hope I'm not mitaken.) has become a moderator. Great thread. Really good read.

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Top drawer thread. To say that was a highly interesting read would be the understatement of the year.

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One thing I'd like to know, and I'm sure you're already planning to add that in future posts, is how you change (IF you change) roles/duties when you introduce a contrasting player to the pitch. Do you use some "generic" setup and let the natural tendencies of the players dictate how they play, or do you alter their instructions?

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Very nice read! It's indeed an interesting challenge to build a squad, and keep rebuilding it without losing much momentum.

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Love this thread. Muller looks a beast - creativity 16 and decisions 19 with good touch and technique on a target man!? Deadly.

Also, nice to see the combination of the pinwheel, with the attribute-by-attribute comparison bars for more specific details. I never understood when people complained about the lack of information in the pinwheel, I always thought it was a great way to summarise a player's game.

So do you not enter a team in the Reserves league, then? Or do you make your hottest U18 prospects / non-match-fit first team players available for Reserve team games?

Also, when do you start moving players out of the U18's and further up the production line?

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Great read and some interesting thoughts on squad development. The two squad balancing methods you mention, Progressive & Predictive, are very much interwined. For me, I always implemented the progressive method whilst rising to the Premiership, getting rid of the old, replacing with the newer, slightly better model without losing the momentum (Reminds me of Norwich's rise, replacing players with slightly better models whilst keeping the momentum). As soon as stability and Premiership grounding was achieved, the approach altered to a more predictive method, bringing in players that I would be able to mould to the team and create good contrasting players.

IMO, you need a good squad to start being predictive in squad balancing. You need to have a solid foundation set and one in which you can then plan for the future. Planning for the future, whilst on the rise to the big league isnt as sensible. Understandably, developing youth and buying some youngesters for the future is a good idea, but primarily, a progressive approach is a better way to spend the money as it will allow you to attain the goal of reaching the big league. Once that is achieved, then you can being to plan and be predictive, adding contrast as you go.

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This seems quite logical to me, as mistakes at the back can be very costly and these are lessened by the ability to perform consistently, while having the ability to make the difference up front can be key in unlocking tight games against strong teams.g.gif

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You seem to have to a liitle carried a way with this whole thread thing recently, strange seen as you have recently become a mod ;)

Seriously now, another outstanding thread and a massive help to everyone. I never actually thought of this and Ive usually just bought the best player possible, although Ive now realised the second best player may actually be a better player for the team. I do make similar adjustments i.e playing a more center back like full back for touher games but dont specifically build a squad to make this an aim. Will definately be trying to do this more, again brilliant thread Furious :):thup:

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I always have the problem of never keeping players around long enough to tutor the upcoming class, or the big bids come in for them and they want to move.

So do you stay with the same tactic? I'm superstitious and always switch it up season to season and bring in new youngsters. I tell myself I won't, then I think every 4 * PA youngster is the next big thing and sign him haha.

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Thanks for all the kudos and words of encouragement dudes!

I've updated the OP with the details of how I went about choosing a new striker to join the squad - hopefully it'll elaborate on the main theme of the thread with a concrete example.

It's come to my attention that I haven't seriously addressed the whole dirty topic of cash. I will add how much and when I bought/acquired each player and how much I currently pay them as soon as I can.

I'm also not ignoring comments in this thread - I just need a bit of time to give genuine and decent answers.

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Thanks for all the kudos and words of encouragement dudes!

I've updated the OP with the details of how I went about choosing a new striker to join the squad - hopefully it'll elaborate on the main theme of the thread with a concrete example.

It's come to my attention that I haven't seriously addressed the whole dirty topic of cash. I will add how much and when I bought/acquired each player and how much I currently pay them as soon as I can.

I'm also not ignoring comments in this thread - I just need a bit of time to give genuine and decent answers.

Nice update and some great logical thinking behind the signing. I know I and a lot of others might not always put so much thought into bringing someone that may not be as technically good but provides something different to the team.

Great thread, looking forward to more.

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One thing I'd like to know, and I'm sure you're already planning to add that in future posts, is how you change (IF you change) roles/duties when you introduce a contrasting player to the pitch. Do you use some "generic" setup and let the natural tendencies of the players dictate how they play, or do you alter their instructions?

I will if I deem it necessary, which generally I don't. I generally let the differences in the players dictate how they will play.

I value cohesion in my tactical setup so changing one role to accomodate a players' best role will generally mean changing a few other roles so, as a rule of thumb, I expect players to fit into my tactical framework. However with lots of creative freedom and free roles that tactical framework is pretty loose which allows players to play to their strengths meaning that I'm expecting Bangoura/Rudenok as the lone Complete Forward/Attack to play the role more advanced than Muller will because that reflects their different strengths (PPM's aside).

However, if necessary I will alter their instructions.

For example, when Luiz comes on for Rudenok I'll often leave him as an Inside Forward/Attack but will change him to a Winger if I think he'll be more use as an out-and-out winger. His attributes (and his footedness) already mean that he'll play the role more like a traditional winger anyway so I don't often need to switch to Winger instructions but will if I think the specific situation dictates.

Love this thread.

So do you not enter a team in the Reserves league, then? Or do you make your hottest U18 prospects / non-match-fit first team players available for Reserve team games?

Also, when do you start moving players out of the U18's and further up the production line?

I use rotation quite a lot but with 25 in my first team squad (it's 26 now but Muller has only just joined) there will be guys who don't play much so they are available for reserve games. In the case of Berra he's not good enough to be much use on the pitch (don't think he's played at all this term), Lasarte is young so has restricted opportunities (he should be on loan but finding the correct club is important, hopefully Chelsea next year if they value him enough to play him regularly), Lallana doesn't always play or benches and Rigamonti sometimes struggles for real game time so these guys play plenty of reserve games.

My U18's have a horrendous workload because they play U18 games, reserve games and their training is also fairly hard. It's a baptism of fire - not many of them stand a chance at making it to the 1st team but if they can't cope with the workload they'll be out on their ear. Playing 1st team football is hard yakka in my team - you've got to prove you belong!!

I always find it difficult to know when to move someone onwards and upwards and I haven't found a 'scientific formula' so go more on a hunch (educated guesswork).

Players like Bangoura and Esposito were good enough to get first team games at 18 and 17, in Bangoura's case he sat behind another chap and Hulk for only a very brief period of time before I binned the other guy and kept Hulk out wide because Bangoura was amazing. Of my loanees 3 are young enough - Hollis is pretty awesome and if he hadn't been injured at the start of the season which meant Newcastle bought another chap he'd be a regular Championship player, Del Sol is a little cracker who is a regular but Brighton are struggling in the Prem when he should of gone to a top Championship side and Keita needs a WP so he's in Bulgaria trying to get naturalised (he's crap anyway, a money making exercise).

Generally I like to get them physically able to take on 1st team football (so generally they'll be 18 by then and had a year or 2 in my U18s where they learn my club ethos and build good relationships with staff and tutors), then get them on loan to an appropriate club if I can find one (feeders are obviously useful here) and then the very top of the crop will progress to the first team. Of my current crop Diego Costa, Bakary Kouame and Chris Gray have followed this exact model and should do well. Rigamonti, Kelava and Lasarte (he'll hopefully go on loan next year) were bought young but got enough gametime so have remained at the club for their careers.

I always have the problem of never keeping players around long enough to tutor the upcoming class, or the big bids come in for them and they want to move.

So do you stay with the same tactic? I'm superstitious and always switch it up season to season and bring in new youngsters. I tell myself I won't, then I think every 4 * PA youngster is the next big thing and sign him haha.

I have a number of tactical systems, the 3 I have loaded into match prep at the moment are a 41221/433, 4231 and 4312 although I sometimes (very rarely) use a 442 of which I have 2 variants. The 433 has 4 variations, the 4231 just the 1 and the 4312 has 4 subtle variants. Having a varied squad allows me to play each of these different systems (as well as play each system differently with different personnel) and gives me loads of weapons to beat the opposition. I'm going to post up the wages and transfer fee of each player and you'll see my wage budget is reasonable (something like 6th in England and 10/11th in Europe - not bad when I'm currently the best club).

Nice update and some great logical thinking behind the signing. I know I and a lot of others might not always put so much thought into bringing someone that may not be as technically good but provides something different to the team.

Great thread, looking forward to more.

I've got some more up my sleeve and probably a little more to add to this on top of the discussion that will hopefully arise. I enjoy building a squad of players rather than just get into a situation to have 11 30 Million, 150K a week units in the side, I get more out of creating a system that allows players to shine. Obviously my players are incredible, I'm not trying to pretend they are second rate but I think I have only 3 or 4 players around the 100K a week bracket which for a top 6 club in England isn't bad. I think each of the top 6 in England spend a lot more on wages than I do.

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This reminds me a bit of SFraser's thread about how he built his Manchester United empire- particularly how he didn't consider his team to be split between Senior, Reserve and Youth squads. Instead, he preferred to have a continuum of fluidity between all three.

Rather than putting a player in the youth squad and expecting to come back in six months to find your expensive wonderkid has suddenly become a first-team regular. In my first season, I would monitor the youth and reserve squads, carefully selecting who would play which games, but it still sometimes wasn't enough because I couldn't indicate to my assistant and coaches that they needed to give 45 minutes to my key senior player who is lacking in match fitness but has a slightly suspect condition, hinting at the possibility of further injury. So, this season, I've started taking control of the reserves and youths, largely because I have a small squad that has to compete in the premier league, two domestic cups and the europa league. This, plus reserve and youth football, means that it's a delicate balancing act to try to give everyone enough games not to get disheartened, but not too much so that they become jaded.

It also gives me a great opportunity to learn more tactically about the players in my squad. I don't truly care how the u18 team plays or the reserve squad, not compared to the first team, so I can be a bit more experimental with tactics. More importantly, I can see how my players react to various team-talks in various situations, giving me a headstart when it comes time for them to make a first team appearance. This can be invaluable.

This has changed the way I think about signings, too. I stick fairly fastidiously to Newcastle's real-life model of signing players no older than 26 years old, selling and buying with all amounts upfront, paying no greater than £60k per week (bar Coloccini, who started on £80k). Rather than signing out of contract Goran Pandev, I am giving more playing time to a hot prospect striker from the youth system. He scored his first senior goal in the europa league qualifier. This is far more rewarding than plunging the club into debt and signing Damiao for £25m over four years (something that Mike Ashley would never allow). Well, I think so, anyway.

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This thread has to be up there with the very best, it really is an absolute beast of a thread. Well done for creating such a fantastic read. Normally long threads drive me bonkers but this was one of those rare occasions i actually read through. This is just the type of thread that makes me want to re-start my long term Arsenal save and incorporate this strategy alongside a couple of others from here and see just how great the team/squad could become with the strategies combined. Decisions, decisions???

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This reminds me a bit of SFraser's thread about how he built his Manchester United empire- particularly how he didn't consider his team to be split between Senior, Reserve and Youth squads. Instead, he preferred to have a continuum of fluidity between all three.

Yeah, plenty of my reasoning about the game is from SFraser. Infact, a lot of it I used to do anyway but he just took it that stage further and was expert and writing about it with passion.

What's I've definitely taken from his threads is that 'the club is a conveyor-belt for youth with the 1st team at it's apex'. Like most things it sounds simple but is surprisingly difficult to get your head around. I guess it's the difference between thinking like a player (and being necessarily rather selfish i.e. I want success and the club will also get it) to thinking like a manager where you can afford to be more long-thinking. Players have to be about the moment and supplying peak performance at that very moment but if you really want to get into 'managing' the game then you have to take the longer view and tie it up with present. Difficult at best, which is why long standing managers are rare.

So, this season, I've started taking control of the reserves and youths,

Undoubtedly this is the best way to go if you really want to get to know your players, I tend to play pretty slowly anyway so just can't quite find enough time to play this way. Not to say I wouldn't enjoy it though.

This has changed the way I think about signings, too. I stick fairly fastidiously to Newcastle's real-life model of signing players no older than 26 years old, selling and buying with all amounts upfront, paying no greater than £60k per week (bar Coloccini, who started on £80k). Rather than signing out of contract Goran Pandev, I am giving more playing time to a hot prospect striker from the youth system. He scored his first senior goal in the europa league qualifier. This is far more rewarding than plunging the club into debt and signing Damiao for £25m over four years (something that Mike Ashley would never allow). Well, I think so, anyway.

I've just worked out each players' transfer fee and their current wage which I'll add to the opening post and I try to keep roughly to this model. I think my average spend per player for the current squad is around 6/7 million which isn't too bad, the most I spent was 20M on Phil Jones. I think only 3 current players broke the 26 year old thing too, Jones at 26/27, Wilshere the same and Hulk who was 29/30 but each of those players (barring maybe Wilshere) will play well into their 30's so with 4/5 years service they'll only be between 2-4Mil per year + wages (I obviously won't recoup anything on them).

I'd find it difficult to get less than 60K p/w in FM. I try to keep the wages low, I only have 3 around the 100K mark with Wilshere and Hulk on 92K and 80K and I probably won't renew at that price for them.

I hope your youngster keeps banging them in. I also like finding a youngster and bringing them through. An 18 y/o scored on his league debut for me recently but almost certainly won't make it!

This thread has to be up there with the very best, it really is an absolute beast of a thread. Well done for creating such a fantastic read. Normally long threads drive me bonkers but this was one of those rare occasions i actually read through. This is just the type of thread that makes me want to re-start my long term Arsenal save and incorporate this strategy alongside a couple of others from here and see just how great the team/squad could become with the strategies combined. Decisions, decisions???

Cheers, long threads are intimidating but I've tried to keep to just a few key points and not repeat myself and present plenty of areas for skim-reading!

Plenty of people have given me inspiration to try things in FM, if you're thinking about picking up your save again that's cool. It's a cool game. Classic sandbox. Just one more game... just one more press of continue... just one more game...

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Ok, so I've added some links to screenshots of each of the players. Check them out and see if you agree that with my synopsis of each player (and if you think they bring contrast to the squad).

I actually omitted much chat about money from the OP but obviously one of the benefits of creating a varied squad is that you will generally be able to balance the books a bit easier (although you don't have to if you just want to spend, spend, spend). I've added the year I acquired each player, the price and their current wage (my wage bill has steadily risen over the last few years but is still better than all of my rivals).

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What skin are you using Furious? Can you link me to it please :D

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Great thread, it is a really interesting read.

Just out of interest Furiousuk, how do you watch your matches? 2d/3d - full/extended/key? I see you talk a lot about getting to know players, do you find the best way is through watching them, or keeping a track of their stats and ratings?

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What skin are you using Furious? Can you link me to it please :D

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/272744-Tactical-Slider-Views

It's just the standard dark skin that comes with the game but I changed the attribute colours. The link I've given you also gives you some pretty cool tactical screens that give you access to a variety of groupings for the sliders and tactical stuff. The only *drawback* is that you can also have a little looksee at the opposition tactical instructions using these screens but so long as you can resist temptation you're good to play guilt-free.

Great thread, it is a really interesting read.

Just out of interest Furiousuk, how do you watch your matches? 2d/3d - full/extended/key? I see you talk a lot about getting to know players, do you find the best way is through watching them, or keeping a track of their stats and ratings?

I normally watch on 3d but if I'm looking at something specific regarding tactics (in particular regarding space) then I'll switch to 2d classic. I use 2d classic for all my tactical examples as I feel it shows space much better but I prefer to watch in 3d, normally from the main stand (in FM11, I think there's some different views in FM12 which might be better?).

I tend to watch in extended these days but will watch in full if I want to really check something out - my new signing might well get an examination in full for a couple of games. Generally I know how my tactics work in conjunction with the shouts and my squad and I generally know what I'm facing so extended (with a bit of a look at the stats) gives me what I need. Before I knew what was going on (or if I started a new save for example) I'd watch mainly in full.

To really get to know your players full is best (although not everyone has the time). Key is fine if you want to flick through games but it's hard to make any informed decisions because you miss a lot of what's going on. If I just watched key I'd think that Rudenok is an absolute genius because of the sheer number of flair highlights he would produce, when in actuality he rarely gets above 70% pass completion and frequently looses the ball when dribbling in the wrong situation - I guess you could get that from the stats but hard to make a judgment on the fly when you're relying mainly on stats.

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Thanks, fantastic reply :) I had been watching extended while I tweaked my tactics until I found a set-up that I was happy with, before switching to only commentary just to whizz through games. Seeing your posts make me realise that it's not all about just completing season after season, there is so much more to do behind the scenes that a lot of people don't realise, top work.

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Thanks, fantastic reply :) I had been watching extended while I tweaked my tactics until I found a set-up that I was happy with, before switching to only commentary just to whizz through games. Seeing your posts make me realise that it's not all about just completing season after season, there is so much more to do behind the scenes that a lot of people don't realise, top work.

Ha ha, yeah there's a lot going on :)

If you've seen my training thread you'll know I love developing players too which can be a time-consuming process if you play slow but since I've really slowed down playing the game over the last few years (I played fairly slow anyway) I've really got a lot more from it and really got into the meat of what the game can simulate. I enjoy the winning and progression but they can be achieved fairly quickly (and easily if you want to play like that) - but building a team you really like to watch, well, I don't think there's a quick-fix for that.

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but building a team you really like to watch, well, I don't think there's a quick-fix for that.

You could always build a team that's boring to watch but wins. You know, like me; just the seven 1-0 wins so far this season. :D

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Superb thread, Furious. I have adapted the way, I play and use my team. I was like a Martin O'Neill character, I have chosen 11 and I will stick with that eleven, until their legs are crumbling. However, what you've taught me, has helped me immensely due to the fact, the average of my squad in 18, almost 19. So, they are all improving due to their ability of getting first team football in the premier league. I even now have a few English players at a young age fighting for the first team!

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If you've seen my training thread you'll know I love developing players too which can be a time-consuming process if you play slow but since I've really slowed down playing the game over the last few years (I played fairly slow anyway) I've really got a lot more from it and really got into the meat of what the game can simulate. I enjoy the winning and progression but they can be achieved fairly quickly (and easily if you want to play like that) - but building a team you really like to watch, well, I don't think there's a quick-fix for that.

It's took me roughly 10 seasons to achieve this and get the right ort of players to fit my long term plan. Fairly early on I was using a standard 442 then I moved onto the W-M and now I've finally settled on a 3-3-2-2. This was always the goal but realistically it takes a certain type of player to play how I wanted to. A lot of the players I use now came through my youth or I bought them as 15 years olds and shaped them via training how I wanted.

No doubt in a few seasons time I'll have another idea I want to use in my Santos save and that will mean rebuilding and refocus the youth development which again will take another 10 seasons or so. I pretty much win all things I'm entered into and people might get bored always winning them. However for me it's not about trophies or winning anymore. It's about trying to create different brands of football and developing and moulding players for more specific roles.

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It's about trying to create different brands of football and developing and moulding players for more specific roles.

Bingo, my grail too.

I must be close to 10 seasons with Southampton and I haven't quite got there yet. Hope I make it before FM13 :eek:

You could always build a team that's boring to watch but wins. You know, like me; just the seven 1-0 wins so far this season. :D

Keep grindin' em out. Grind em out!!

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Always found the squad building process one of the most facsinating and tricky parts of the game. Its my main interest, finding players and developing them into a system. In some ways i find it fairly easy to do when playing lower league or smaller club - just keep upgrading.

My most recent save has found me really thinking about it though. Starting as FC Twente, developing my own tactic but in a fairly generic 4 1 2 2 1 shape. Twente start with a nicely balanced squad with some good quality players, but lacking any superstars. To be fair, they also lack the reputation to attract superstars so it was going to be a slow building and incremental process.

Season one i bought Dzagoev as my main signing, with German Re as the only other first teamer. Also bought in youth. This always gives me the dilema in season 2 - Use the jump in rep (finished second in the league and won cup) to attract more quality depth, or start to blood my young talent.........Decisions decisions........

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Always found the squad building process one of the most facsinating and tricky parts of the game. Its my main interest, finding players and developing them into a system. In some ways i find it fairly easy to do when playing lower league or smaller club - just keep upgrading.

My most recent save has found me really thinking about it though. Starting as FC Twente, developing my own tactic but in a fairly generic 4 1 2 2 1 shape. Twente start with a nicely balanced squad with some good quality players, but lacking any superstars. To be fair, they also lack the reputation to attract superstars so it was going to be a slow building and incremental process.

Season one i bought Dzagoev as my main signing, with German Re as the only other first teamer. Also bought in youth. This always gives me the dilema in season 2 - Use the jump in rep (finished second in the league and won cup) to attract more quality depth, or start to blood my young talent.........Decisions decisions........

I did the same but with Ajax and blooded the youths. I reaped the benefits now due to it. There was also a lack of good Dutch players for a few years too, so buying youths to gain Dutch HG status is more usefull in the long run imo

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I'm in a bit of a dilemma with my Tenerife team in that I probably still need to invest in a couple of first team players before I can fully focus on youth. At the minute I'm sorta dabbling at both but still need to delve into my youth team to meet the CL quota for players

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Yeah i find that blooding the youths is my preference, but equally if the club wants to advance i need to add quality to the starting eleven. What i tend to do (and have just done!) is maybe sell 3 - 4 of my squad players and replace with youth. Then take the money raised / saved on wages and try and buy at least one key first 11 player. On this occasion the squad players were ageing (boschker, Landzaat and Corniellese) so whilst i didnt raise any transfer fees, i freeed up around 15K per week which i could then use to sign up Coutinho on a free. He is essentially the same player style as my existing winger (Verhoek) but with better key stats - Pace, flair, dribbling.

At the end of season 2, i expect some hard decisions. I have some very good players, who put in some great performances (eg Luuk de Jong, Wout Bramma, Leroy Fer), but ultimately i know they are never going to be world class, and if i want to progress i have to be prepared to replace them with true world class players. Not easy decisions to make.

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Yeah i find that blooding the youths is my preference, but equally if the club wants to advance i need to add quality to the starting eleven. What i tend to do (and have just done!) is maybe sell 3 - 4 of my squad players and replace with youth. Then take the money raised / saved on wages and try and buy at least one key first 11 player. On this occasion the squad players were ageing (boschker, Landzaat and Corniellese) so whilst i didnt raise any transfer fees, i freeed up around 15K per week which i could then use to sign up Coutinho on a free. He is essentially the same player style as my existing winger (Verhoek) but with better key stats - Pace, flair, dribbling.

At the end of season 2, i expect some hard decisions. I have some very good players, who put in some great performances (eg Luuk de Jong, Wout Bramma, Leroy Fer), but ultimately i know they are never going to be world class, and if i want to progress i have to be prepared to replace them with true world class players. Not easy decisions to make.

Ive just got into a similar situation in my Blackburn save. Trimming off sqaud players and bringing in one or two youths a year then making one key signing who will improve a position and pushing the current starter to a roatation option. A lot of my positions my backup is my youngster so thats brilliant for giving youths some game time in cup games etc etc. Usually try and keep one first team one backup and one youth for nearly every position (Think it was in an SFraser thread I saw that) usually works well.

The hardest part is getting into a system, just started a new save with monaco and they already have a lot of youthful talent so its more of brining in quality experienced veterans but hopefully when I get promoted there will be a wholesale clearance and ill radically alter the team. ONly brining in players who will play my style of football, ive had to alter my ideas a little for this first season as I dont like playing with a striker and plenty of midfielders, the squad building has begun but for this first season its a little annoying not being able to fully impart my tactical system on the team.

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Very good write up, Furious.

I would have gone for Kaka though instead of Muller. ;)

The technique and flair would have been the clincher. He'd be a very good provider. His left foot is also not completely useless like Muller's.

Muller seems more of an Advanced Forward, but no doubt he would still be more than able to play the providing role. Let us know how he gets on. :thup:

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Very good write up, Furious.

I would have gone for Kaka though instead of Muller. ;)

The technique and flair would have been the clincher. He'd be a very good provider. His left foot is also not completely useless like Muller's.

Muller seems more of an Advanced Forward, but no doubt he would still be more than able to play the providing role. Let us know how he gets on. :thup:

Yep, all extremely valid points, he is one hell of a player and will only get better - flair & technique are indeed a killer combo for an attacker.

The Right Only on Muller really bugs me too so we'll see with him. His first reserve game and he scored a hat-trick - I didn't check the goals but these may have something to do with his free-kick ability. Hasn't had a massive run in the 1sts yet but has done alright (I don't think he even speaks the lingo) - nothing electric yet but he's not that sort of player.

In other news - this happened a little after the acquisition of Muller:

Kaka-Injured.jpg

In his player profile it says 9 months out.

Will he ever be the same again? (Well, probably, but that's a lot of money for a sicknote)

Will he always be injured? (Well, probably not, this is a freak occurence)

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In other news - this happened a little after the acquisition of Muller:

Kaka-Injured.jpg

In his player profile it says 9 months out.

Out of interest, was there any evidence from his profile that he might be injury prone? A scout report / a history of long-term injuries or knee-problems? For this to happen during `a routing training exercise` surely suggests at high injury proneness.

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My main issue with Muller is his movement off the ball, which is lower than that of all the others. I presume his other attributes will ensure that he's decent, but he may just lose that extra bit that is necessary to create space for others and be a really effective creator.

Do the coaches/scouts say anything about his consistency/ability in big matches? I mentioned those two attributes in an earlier post in the thread, but you probably read over it as it was quite small.

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Out of interest, was there any evidence from his profile that he might be injury prone? A scout report / a history of long-term injuries or knee-problems? For this to happen during `a routing training exercise` surely suggests at high injury proneness.

I've found that this type of injury indicates a high injury proneness too.

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In other news - this happened a little after the acquisition of Muller:

Oooh, since you put it that way... you made the right choice :D

I'm guessing an injury like that will repeat itself over the course of his career.

Let me know if you wish to sell your crystal ball!

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Out of interest, was there any evidence from his profile that he might be injury prone? A scout report / a history of long-term injuries or knee-problems? For this to happen during `a routing training exercise` surely suggests at high injury proneness.

No, reports didn't mention it, only that he is good in big matches (which is a big plus considering his flair and technique). Did reveal that whilst he is 'Fairly Determined' he would struggle to fit in with my 'Highly Pro' squad, although this may not be too much of a problem as it looks like he is close to his potential anyway.

I agree though that this really isn't a good sign for a 22 year old. Still haven't ruled out getting him at a later stage though, particularly if this injury doesn't kill his attributes but does deplete his stock to a more reasonable price-tag.

My main issue with Muller is his movement off the ball, which is lower than that of all the others. I presume his other attributes will ensure that he's decent, but he may just lose that extra bit that is necessary to create space for others and be a really effective creator.

Yep, his movement isn't good, particularly with slow-ish speed. But I'm thinking he would work either sat back from a strike partner in a primarily creative role, or, more probably, as a creative target-man that uses his strength to play high up the pitch and unleash a quicker, more deadly striker whilst both strikers are augmented by a truly creative chap in behind them.

Spurred on by this article from last year I've built up a love of combinations and have been itching to switch full-time to a 4312 to try and create some variants up front that really create some nice footy. I see Muller as playing the Ibrahimovic role (for AC Milan) whereby he becomes a high focal point with Pato/Robinho (Bangoura/Rudenok in my case) flying around him and drifting wide before darting in and Cassano (Kovacic in my case) pulling the strings from AM.

Do the coaches/scouts say anything about his consistency/ability in big matches? I mentioned those two attributes in an earlier post in the thread, but you probably read over it as it was quite small.

I think the scouts said he is either consistent or relishes big matches, can't remember which, I can just remember that it was favourable. His coach reports say neither which may just be because he is still new to the squad and this might change. Sorry I missed replying earlier, not sure how I missed it!

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Muller's First Start

I swear I'm not making this up!

So, we're about 16 seconds into Muller's first start in the League Cup SF 2nd Leg against Leeds - after drawing the 1st leg in Yorkshire I need a result - and this happens:

MullerGoal1.jpg

Yep, slammed home into the net!

15 minutes later and the boy has found some room again:

MullerGoal2.jpg

Not too shabby a hit for a guy with 14 technique and 13 flair.

After hitting the woodwork a few more times and generally looking sharp and lively (despite the odd gelling issues that are to be expected) he ends up with a 9.1, 2 gls and MOM. First start nerves, yeah, whatever!

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Muller's First Start

I swear I'm not making this up!

So, we're about 16 seconds into Muller's first start in the League Cup SF 2nd Leg against Leeds - after drawing the 1st leg in Yorkshire I need a result - and this happens:

Yep, slammed home into the net!

15 minutes later and the boy has found some room again:

Not too shabby a hit for a guy with 14 technique and 13 flair.

After hitting the woodwork a few more times and generally looking sharp and lively (despite the odd gelling issues that are to be expected) he ends up with a 9.1, 2 gls and MOM. First start nerves, yeah, whatever!

which tactic is it ?

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Great start! What roles did you give the front 3?

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