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FM13 - Athletic Club Bilbao - Los Leones

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ATHLETIC CLUB BILBAO

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BACKGROUND

Athletic Club, also commonly known as Athletic Bilbao, is a professional football club, based in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The club has played in the Primera División of La Liga since its start in 1929. They have won the Liga on eight occasions. In the historical classification of La Liga, Athletic are in fourth place and one of only three clubs which have never been relegated from the Liga, the others being Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The club also has a women's team, which has won four championships in the Spanish Superliga.

They are known as los Leones (The Lions) because their stadium was built near a church called San Mamés (Saint Mammes). Mammes was an early Christian thrown to the lions by the Romans. The lions refused to eat Mammes and he was later made a saint. The San Mamés Stadium is hence nicknamed "the football cathedral".

The club is known for its cantera policy of bringing young Basque players through the ranks, as well as recruiting top Basque players from other clubs (like Joseba Etxeberria or Javi Martínez). Athletic official policy is signing professional players native to or footballistically trained in the greater Basque Country, including Biscay, Guipúzcoa, Álava, Navarre and La Rioja (in Spain); and Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre (in France). Still, in recent times, this policy has been somewhat relaxed and players with direct Basque ancestry have played for the team. This has gained Athletic both admirers and critics. The club has been praised for promoting home grown players and club loyalty. Athletic is one of only four professional clubs in Spain in Primera División (the others being Real Madrid, Barcelona and Osasuna) that is not a sports corporation; the club is owned and operated by its associates (socios).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletic_Bilbao

RECENT HISTORY

20122-12 was a very interesting season for Athletic Club. The appointment of Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa as manager led to a new tactical style of play for the club, though it took a while for the club to settle into it. Often marked by using players in positions they would not usual play in (Javi Martinez as a central defender) the new tactical style also feature rapid attacking movement and lots of man marking. It resulted in a fantastic run to the Europa League final, with victories against Manchester United along the way, where they lost 3-0 to Atletico Madrid. They also reached the 2012 Copa del Rey Final against Barcelona but again lost 3-0. This defeat did mean the club would however qualify for the 20-12-13 Europa League.

The league was more disappointing, after a good run of form it tailed off and they finished 10th. The summer before the start of the 2012-13 season saw some turmoil off the pitch, with Javi Martinez being sold to Bayern Munich for €40m, and Fernando Llorente being kept at the club but often distant from the rest of the team. An altercation between Bielsa and contractors working on improvements to the Lezama training ground. It was not the positive summer the board had been hoping for.

INFORMATION

Board Expectation: EURO Cup qual. (league)

Transfer Budget: £17.5m

Wage Budget: £575k p/w (currently £392k p/w)

Year founded: 1898

Nickname: Los Leones

Derbies: Vasco Derby (vs R. Sociedad)

Fierce rivals: R. Sociedad (local), Osasuna (local)

Other rivals: Alaves (local), R. Madrid (competitive), Barcelona (competitive)

Estimated value: £115m (loan debt: £24.5m)

Media prediction: 6th.

FACILITIES

Stadium: San Mamés

Capacity: 40000 all-seater

Planned Expansion: Due to move into the 53100 capacity San Mames Barria on 30.9.2013

Training Facilities: Top training facilities

Youth Facilities: Good youth facilities

Junior Coaching: Good junior coaching

Youth Recruitment: Extensive youth recruitment

THE THREE BIG CHANGES FROM FM12

There are 3 key changes to playing as Athletic early on compared to FM12:

Sale of Javi Martinez

By far Athletic Clubs best midfielder, his sale to Bayern is a loss of quality to the club. There are replacements available in the form on Benat or Mike Rico but they're not of the same quality.

The Llorente situation

The best Basque striker in the game by a long way he is leaving the club on a free transfer at the end of the 2012-13 season unless you sell him before then. You will need to decide if you want to keep him for the season and get hopefully one least great go out of him, or cash in now whilst you can. Aduriz has joined the club, but he's not in the same league.

Azpilicueta to Chelsea

Often a first transfer window or January signing for many players, his move to Chelsea means that is unlikely to happen. How any games and how he performs for them will dictate if he becomes available to sign again, but for now you will have to look internally to strengthen the right back position.

THE SQUAD

GOALKEEPERS

Gorka Iraizoz - First name on the team, good solid keeper. Starting to get on a bit but you should keep him at the club for many years to come.

Raul Fernandez - Will do as a backup, but nothing special.

Jon Ander Serantes - Very much third choice. Should rapidly be replaced by Arrizabalaga. Not good enough.

Good first choice keeper, but a better backup is likely needed until Arrizabalga can be brought through from the U19s.

FULL BACKS

Andoni Iraola - Good attacking right back, also good tutor for the younger players. On the old side at 30 but will serve for a good few seasons.

Jonas Ramalho - Can play at centre back or right back, should be used in rotation with Iraola. Tutor him as well to improve his determination.

Unai Albizua - Simply not good enough, get him to Bilbao Athletic as soon as you can.

Xabi Castillo - Nominally best left back but not really good enough. Replace as soon as possible.

Jon Aurtenetxe - Like Romalho can play at centre back as well on the flank, should be used as main left back until that position can be reinforced.

Right back is covered for a good few years, especially with Etxeberria coming through the U19s over the next few years. Left back is in dire need of a new signing.

CENTRAL DEFENDERS

Mikel San Jose - Talented young defender. Will be the rock at the heart of your defence for the next decade or so.

Borja Ekiza - Another good central defender, again should be in the team for years to come.

Fernando Amorebieta - Third choice central defender but good rotational player along with Ekiza and San Jose.

At first glance this position appears to lack strength in depth, but Romalho, Aurtenetxe and Gurpergi can all play in this position as well so there is plenty of cover.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS

Ander Herrera - Best central midfielder at the club now Martinez has left. Makes a great advanced playmaker. Can also play at AM.

Ander Iturraspe - Well rounded midfielder. Should get regular games.

Carlos Gurpegi - Older but experienced midfielder, probably backup at this point. Very good tutor.

Inigo Perez - Backup central midfielder, good stats but should not prevent de Galaretta from getting game time.

Inigio Ruiz de Galaretta - The young prospect, already has good stats. Get him tutored and give him game time and he will be a key plater for years to come.

There is good depth in central midfield, but perhaps a lack of quality. Will be talked about more in the transfer section lower down.

ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS

Iker Muniain - The wonderkid. A fantastically skilled player at 19, will be key for years to come.

Oscar De Marcos - Mr. Versatility. Make full use of him across the attacking positions and he will play well in all of them.

Markel Susaeta - Another versatile player with lots of skill.

Ibai Gomez - Not quite at his potential yet, good player for the left aside of the pitch and will develop more with game time.

Lots of young attacking talent here. Perhaps the strongest area of the team. Make full use of them to bring success.

STRIKERS

Fernando Llorente - The main man. A brilliant modern target man striker. Wonderfull skilled. Him leaving on a free is a real blow.

Aritz Aduriz - Good rotational option, signed this year from Valencia. Is on the old side at 31. Should be put to good use as a tutor.

Gaizka Torquero - A fan favourite, tends to always give his all. Use him upfront and on the right wing as a rotational player or impact sub.

LLorente is the best striker at the club but is leaving on a free transfer. Aduriz and Torquero are good enough rotational players, but may struggle to lead the attack once Llorente is sold or leaves.

YOUTH TEAM PROSPECTS

Kepa Arrizabalaga - 17 year old keeper, already got a good distribution of stats. Needs to bulk up a bit in physical stats and you should tutor him asap with Iraizoz. Could be first choice keeper in a few years with the right development. first year should probably be kept at Athletic to develop before moving to Bilbao Athletic for game time.

Markel Etxeberria - 17 year old right back. 4 star potential and already rated one star. Should be tutored by Iraola. Should get same development path as Arrizabalaga above.

TRANSFERS

Goalkeepers

With Arrizabalaga coming through you may want to do nothing more than sell Serantes. If you do buy in a good quality keeper there are a copule of options:

Stephane Ruffier - Perhaps the best Basque keeper in the game. His asking price has gone up from last year. Even after selling Llorente my scout reports did not give an estimated asking price so you may have to wait to get him.

Asier Riesgo - Not as good as Ruffier but would be a better backup than Fernandez. Scout reports indicate he would be available for a couple of m £.

Defenders

A new left back is certainly a priority, and luckily there is one available.

Mikel Balenziaga - Good quality left back from Valladolid. I got him for £3.5m

Midfielders

With the money available from the sale of Martinez, there are a few options to strengthen this position.

Benat - Very skilled passer of the ball, very good midfielder. But he is expensive, got him for £17.5m in my game.

Mikel Rico - A good well-rounded central midfielder, also nice and hardworking and determined. Available for around £8.75m

If you do not sell Llorente I would go for Rico, but if you do sell him I would get both of the above and sell Inigo Perez as well as he would no longer feature in your plans.

Attackers

Only one real decision here, do you sell Llorente or not? Personally I decided to cash in on him, selling for £19m, rather than letting him for for a free. I re-invested the money in Benat and in improving the youth facilities.

COACHING STAFF

This area could do with almost a complete overhaul. Not many of the current staff are good enough. I kept the following and then got in new staff to fill out the numbers:

Jose Maria Amorrortu - Director of Football

Bingen Arostegi - Under 19s Manager

Iru -Goalkeeping Coach

Luis Bonini - Fitness Coach

Pablo Quiroga - Fitness Coach

Paco Angulo - Physio

Jose Angel Iribar - Scout

Carlos Melendez - Scout

Inaki Moran - Scout

Below are some suggestions for new coaches to sign, note I am an English manager in the game so this may affect whether some of them will join the club.

Patrick Collot - Assistant Manager

Thomas Habler - Coach

Niko Kovac - Coach

John Owens - Coach

Angel Vales - Coach

Pedro Jaro - Goalkeeping Coach

Angelo Antenucci - U19s Coach

Bobby Downes - U19s Coach

Nicolas Zarur - Head Physio

Grant Downie - Physio

Gerhard Hoffmann - Physio

Juanman Lopez - Chief Scout

PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

Despite the loss of some major players, the future looks bright.

  • Core of talented young players
  • Good youth recruitment
  • Moving to new stadium next season

Investing in upgrading the Youth Facilities as soon as possible should be a priority so they clubs youth system can produce players for you for decades to come.

Make good use of the B team, Bilbao Athletic, to give young players lots of game time to develop once they've been tutored in the U19s. If you cannot make the most of your youth intakes you will struggle. There just aren't enough good Basque players who will join you to strengthen your team for the future otherwise.

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TACTICS

PHILOSOPHY

Bielsa has instilled a new style of player at Athletic and I personally enjoy trying to replicate it. I wrote a thread on doing this on FM12 here. His man marking and attacking system gets the most out of the players at the club, especially its gifted attackers.

I use it in three formations:

4-2-3-1

athleticclubtacticsteam.png

This should be your first choice tactic, a lovely attacking formation with a fast pace and more roaming.

4-3-3

athleticclubtacticsteamg.png

A good alternative, more solid defensively but a backup tactic to me.

4-3-2-1

athleticclubtacticsteam.png

An emergency backup formation for me, used once due to injuries to wingers. Should be used as such.

GOOD LUCK!

I hope this thread has inspired you to play as Athletic and given you many ideas on how to play them.

Go out there and make Los Leones proud!

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Nice thread dude :thup:

Cheers SRL88, already started my career game with them for this year. Did really enjoy playing them last year, the combination of skilled players and youth recruitment I find great fun. Even bought their shirt for this season based on FM :p

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Good detailed thread cemendur88

I think this year is going to be tough with certain players being either unavailable/gone/wanting to leave. I'm not sure if i'll play this year as them but if I do I think i'll be doing 3 at the back again as I did on FM12 to at least not worry about the lack of quality available at full back.

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Good detailed thread cemendur88

I think this year is going to be tough with certain players being either unavailable/gone/wanting to leave. I'm not sure if i'll play this year as them but if I do I think i'll be doing 3 at the back again as I did on FM12 to at least not worry about the lack of quality available at full back.

Cheers :)

To me, with the improved play of full backs in the new Match Engine, it would be a mistake to not play with them. it hass been fantastic watching Iraola, Ramalho, Balenziaga and Aurtenetxe bomb down the flanks getting crosses and passes into the box. But then I do play very attacking football.

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Good thread Cemendur88. Really enjoyed it with them on FM12 and tempted to manage them again on this year version.

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Jonas RAMALHO, FERNANDO Amorebieta and Iker MUNIAIN ;)

Good thread, though. I'll start my annual Athletic save once I'm done with my main career save elsewhere.

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Jonas RAMALHO, FERNANDO Amorebieta and Iker MUNIAIN ;)

Good thread, though. I'll start my annual Athletic save once I'm done with my main career save elsewhere.

Fixed, will teach me to type them all out.

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Had my first youth intake, pretty pleased with it:

Mario Diaz - Defender (Right)/ D©, WB®: 4 1/2 * potential, another great young right back

Jose Luis Blanco - Defencer (Centre)/D(L): 4 * potential

Asier Munoz - Defender (Centre)/ DM: 4 1/2 * potential, has a lot of stats in the right place already, and already rated as 1*

David Santisteban - Attacking Midfielder (Centre)/ M©, AM(L): 4 1/2 * potential, another youngster with bags of potential.

Xabier Aragon - Attacking Midfielder (Centre)/ AM(RL): 3 1/2 * potential, got a lot of good stats already.

The two main U19 prospects from the start of the game are developing well:

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Markel Etxeberria

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Obvious signings such as Nacho Monreal at Malaga and then as unpopular as they would be in real life Antoine Griezmann, Iñigo Martínez, Asier Illarramendi and Imanol Agirretxe to name a few from rivals Sociedad.

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Obvious signings such as Nacho Monreal at Malaga and then as unpopular as they would be in real life Antoine Griezmann, Iñigo Martínez, Asier Illarramendi and Imanol Agirretxe to name a few from rivals Sociedad.
if we are speaking about real life, then only Griezmann would go in the unpopular bracket to be fair, a lot of ppl would think he is not basque enough to play for Athletic

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Will people be keeping Llorente or cashing in? Looks like Spurs and Arsenal are both willing to pay the £31.5 million release clause.

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if we are speaking about real life, then only Griezmann would go in the unpopular bracket to be fair, a lot of ppl would think he is not basque enough to play for Athletic

We are speaking about real life and fans are reluctant to sign players from Sociedad as good as they may be, which limits their options further! I myself would accept them of course, they would bring something new and improved to the team which badly needs it.

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Nice thread, always been a fan of Bilbao and look out for their results because of their policy and they share the hallowed red and white stripes of Southampton. Bought a shirt I found when on holiday a few years back amongst a sea of Barca and Real shirts.

Might look to do a game with them when I'm done with my Southampton save, especially as developing youth team prospects will be key.

(Note: none of the screenshots seem to load very well for me?)

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With Bilbao can you sign player's that are 16 and under from anywhere?

Spanish players aged 16 or under.

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Will people be keeping Llorente or cashing in? Looks like Spurs and Arsenal are both willing to pay the £31.5 million release clause.

And just to confirm, you can sell Llorente for the £31.5 mill clause from the start of the game, all the money up front.

I sold Llorente and spent 7.75m on a 33 year old Diego Forlan. He is rated at 4 stars, so he is a bit better than Aduritz.

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And just to confirm, you can sell Llorente for the £31.5 mill clause from the start of the game, all the money up front.

I sold Llorente and spent 7.75m on a 33 year old Diego Forlan. He is rated at 4 stars, so he is a bit better than Aduritz.

I haven't got the game yet, but any chance of keeping him and if he's happy enough sign a new deal?

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Nope, if you try to offer him a new contract it just says he'll be leaving on a free at the end of his contract. :(

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Nope, if you try to offer him a new contract it just says he'll be leaving on a free at the end of his contract. :(

Gutted :( Cashing in then signing Forlan is probably your best bet then! Have they made Muniain more of a midfielder in this game? If so, it causes an even greater problem as he's played upfront for me ever since he was 16 and it's almost like you'll be another striker down.

Has the signing of Griezmann or Inigo Martinez been made any easier at the start? Also how much is Benat going for if any of you have signed him? :)

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Also how much is Benat going for if any of you have signed him? :)
Beñat seams to go for around £15m, while Mikel Rico goes for around £5m, its probably worth it to pick up both of them since they look really really good on this years game

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Gutted :( Cashing in then signing Forlan is probably your best bet then! Have they made Muniain more of a midfielder in this game? If so, it causes an even greater problem as he's played upfront for me ever since he was 16 and it's almost like you'll be another striker down.

Has the signing of Griezmann or Inigo Martinez been made any easier at the start? Also how much is Benat going for if any of you have signed him? :)

My only experience with Athletic is on the demo, so the case may be different on the full game, but so far I've noticed that:

Llorente can be sold for his £31.5m minimum fee release clause. Just transfer list him and then offer him to clubs when they're interested, for me Arsenal and Tottenham both took the bait.

I had an offer of £9m accepted for Forlan, but he wanted £99k a week to join, which was out of my budget. Probably because he's only just joined Internacional.

Muniain is a natural AMC and an accomplished ST, but because of a lack of options at AML you'll probably want to play him there and play Ander Herrera in AMC. Unless...

You can buy Antoine Griezmann, and with surprisingly little fuss too! Real Sociedad obviously don't want to sell but they've stupidly left a £21m release clause in his contract. He accepted a contract of around £55k a week from me and the fans are a little unsure about him, but willing to give him a chance.

Inigo Martinez isn't interested though and has a +£100m release clause anyway.

Benat has a release clause of £17.5m but they accepted a bit less than that from me.

Edit: Forgot to mention, top thread by the way. :thup:

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Again, this is just from my experience on the demo, but I've found a few decent 16 year old Spaniards:

Kike (DL) - Available for £825k from Sevilla. Wants a high squad status at first but just drop it when he arrives. He also wants pretty high wages for a 16 year old but my assistant manager (a certain Mr. Cruijff (18 JPA)) rates him as having 4* potential.

Pol Balleste (GK) - Can be bought for £525k from Malaga. A young keeper rated 4*, higher than Arrizabalaga's potential according my ass man.

Ruben Blanco (GK) - Can be bought for £550k from Celta. Another keeper, rated almost as highly as Balleste. Get him before he turns 17.

Antonio Cotan (MC) - Available for £500k compensation. Not quite as strong as the others but worth a punt anyway. Another to snap up before he turns 17 in July 2012.

These guys will significantly improve the quality of the U19 squad. Also, check out Igor Martinez, Isma, Enric Saborit and especially Guillermo Fernandez from the Bilbao Athletic squad. They all could potentially develop into useful players.

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Started my career. Replaced pretty much all of the staff so that all coaches are 4* or more in every position and improved all the Physios and Scouts, including Txiki Begiristain as Chief Scout.

I've decided to cash in on Llorente, and have two offers of £31.5m, one all up-front from Chelsea, and the other from Tottenham which is £9.5m up-front and 22m over 48 months. Needless to say I hope he chooses Chelsea, because I have agreed a deal to sign Griezmann for his £21m buyout clause which should be happening any time now and am also looking at Benat to play as my DMC-Deep Lying Playmaker.

Edit: Llorente went to Tottenham. Grr! Means that I'll have to take Benat over Griezmann as I need him more.

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Started my career. Replaced pretty much all of the staff so that all coaches are 4* or more in every position and improved all the Physios and Scouts, including Txiki Begiristain as Chief Scout.

I've decided to cash in on Llorente, and have two offers of £31.5m, one all up-front from Chelsea, and the other from Tottenham which is £9.5m up-front and 22m over 48 months. Needless to say I hope he chooses Chelsea, because I have agreed a deal to sign Griezmann for his £21m buyout clause which should be happening any time now and am also looking at Benat to play as my DMC-Deep Lying Playmaker.

Edit: Llorente went to Tottenham. Grr! Means that I'll have to take Benat over Griezmann as I need him more.

Why not pay for Griezmann in Griezmann in 48 month installments? He costs the same price as Spurs are paying in installments for Llorente, so you won't even notice the money going out.

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Why not pay for Griezmann in Griezmann in 48 month installments? He costs the same price as Spurs are paying in installments for Llorente, so you won't even notice the money going out.

I got him in the end, paying €14m upfront and the remainder over 48 months.

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I'm really looking forward to playing Athletic again this year, I always have a lot of fun as I enjoy developing players more than buying them.

I'm not disappointed about Llorente as I always sell him anyway as he doesn't suit my tactics and I can never get enough goals out of him. I like to play Muniain as a false nine (ala Messi or Suarez to a lesser extent). I'll be keeping a close eye on Inigo Martinez and hoping Sociedad get relegated. Benat looks very impressive but I might just try to develop de Galaretta instead.

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Playing with Barcelona and watching the A.I. Athletic in the league, I must admit I'm growing very fond of them. Terriffic team, terrific players. One of the few teams to really give me a challenge; boy that Llorente sure wrecked my poor little defenders. :D

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I'm really looking forward to playing Athletic again this year, I always have a lot of fun as I enjoy developing players more than buying them.

I'm not disappointed about Llorente as I always sell him anyway as he doesn't suit my tactics and I can never get enough goals out of him. I like to play Muniain as a false nine (ala Messi or Suarez to a lesser extent). I'll be keeping a close eye on Inigo Martinez and hoping Sociedad get relegated. Benat looks very impressive but I might just try to develop de Galaretta instead.

How do you emulate a false 9 - do you start him in the forward position or the AMC position, and what instructions do you give him? Would be really interested to hear how you're getting on with that.

I'm enjoying a Southampton save at the moment but will be back for a Bilbao save after I'm done with that - loved being them on FM2012 so much I ended up buying their shirt!

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How do you emulate a false 9 - do you start him in the forward position or the AMC position, and what instructions do you give him? Would be really interested to hear how you're getting on with that.

I'm enjoying a Southampton save at the moment but will be back for a Bilbao save after I'm done with that - loved being them on FM2012 so much I ended up buying their shirt!

I haven't started my Athletic game yet. I will very soon however. I plan on playing him at the ST position with Deep-lying forward on attack or maybe support if Susaeta and de Marcos can score goals. Last year I had great success playing Václav Kadlec and Sergio Araujo as Deep-lying fowards. Neither were especially good finishers but their dribbling and speed created so many opportunities. Muniain seems perfect for the tactic. He can also be a creator with his flair, creativity and passing. Aduritz is good but not a long term option and there aren't too many decent Basque strikers.

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I think selling Llorente and usingthe money to strengthen in midfield (Benat), and bring in Deigo Forlan to play up top for a couple of seasons seems like a good idea - while hoping the cantera produces a good, young striker.

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I think selling Llorente and usingthe money to strengthen in midfield (Benat), and bring in Deigo Forlan to play up top for a couple of seasons seems like a good idea - while hoping the cantera produces a good, young striker.

Thats what I did, and I regret spending the money on Forlan instead of Griezmann.

Aduritz is playing really well for me as a lone striker (target man - attack), and he would probably be even better if I had someone who could cross instead of cutting inside on the left.

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I'm only four league games (and four EL games) in to my season but Forlan has been unstoppable. 9 goals in all competition (6 in Europe and 3 in La Liga). I must admit Aduritz looks a lot better than I'd properly realised though. Hopefully between the two I have the lone striker role covered for the next 3-4 seasons, giving me time to snatch up the best 16 year old Spanish strikers from the first set of newgens and develop one ready to take over.

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Is anyone else struggling to get the best out of Susaeta? I found on FM12 he was a hit and miss - one great season followed by an average one, followed by another great one - but his first half season for me on FM13 has been atrocious. I'm playing him on the right wing with attach duties and the winger role in an attacking team playing a short passing, control game.

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I play Susaeta as a winger on support (on the right wing), and he has had around 25 goals+assists pr season.

On a side note, I'm on my fourth season and just spend £44m getting Llorente back, so far he has 15 goals in 15 starts and an avarage rating of 7.80, so I'm quite pleased with that, Aduriz was starting to show his age and not performing as well as he was in the first seasons.

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I was hoping re-singing Llorente might become a possibility, so that's good to hear.

Which of the young talents at the club have developed well for you? I have high hopes for de Galareta, Ramalho and Etxeberria (sp?). I can also see Iturraspe, Ibai and Aurtenetxe being the kind of players to play consistently better than their ratings might suggest they were capable of.

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@Enders357 here is an update on the talents:

Aurtenetxe is rotating left back with Monreal (who seems to have less dirtiness than in earlier fm's, he only has 1 red card so far).

aurtu.png

De galarreta is a first team regular and has been since season 2.

ruiz.png

Laporte has improved quite a bit and I was hoping to give him quite a bit of first team football in season 3 (Since I sold Ekiza) but he got injured for a few months, and only managed to get 15 matches.

laportei.png

Ibai Gomez is playing left winger when Muniain is tired or against smaller teams. He had an amazing 2nd season with 10 assists and 8 goals in 19 (5) matches. I am playing him as a winger on attack.

ibai.png

Markel Etxeberria has been very injury prone, and has only played 7 first team games so far. He has one full season for Bilbao Athletic in Liga Adelante though, I don't think he will ever make it into the first team due to his injury proneness (I don't know if the stat is random, so it might be different in your game).

etxeberria.png

Ramalho has improved a lot as well. He looked out of his depth for the first team in the first season, but has been playing really well for Bilbao Athletic. He has 4 games for the first team in 2015/16 and an average rating of 7.18. I am going to give him one more season at Bilbao and then promote him to the first team.

ramalho.png

Guillermo Fernandez had a great season at Bilbao Athletic in 2014/15 with 20 goals in 32 games. He looks like he could be a really good poacher, but with the signing of Llorente I am looking to ship him off when the season ends. Guillermo is also quite injury prone and he has problems with consistency.

fernandez.png

Yanis Rahmani looks like he could be a decent rotating option for the right wing.

yanisram.png

EDIT: Griezmann just got unhappy at Sociedad, so I threw £21m at them and he is now an Athletic player.

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Brilliant update, thanks!

How have you been getting on - league finishes, cups etc? I don't see there's quite as much potential to challenge right at the top end of the table as in FM12. Llorente and Martinez are big misses.

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I had a great first season with a loss on penalties to Marsielle in the Euro Cup. Got to the Semi's in the Spanish cup, and had a really bad return game against Betis, lost 3-0 and was out. As for the League I got a 3rd place, 1 point ahead of 4th and 23 points up to 2nd (R. Madrid).

2nd season was mediocre at best, finished 8th in the league after Forlan stopped scoring. Got to the quarter finals in the cup. And got knocked out in the first knockout round in the CL.

3rd season was better, another 3rd place finish, this time closer to 2nd and further from 4th than before. Lost to Atletico Madrid in the semi finals of the cup (it was Madrid and Barcelona in the other final anyway..).

I made a few signings for Bilbao Athletic in the first season, and they finished in the top of Liga Adelante last season and are looking good so far in this season, only 4 points from a first place. My guess it that in a season or two it will be a newgen only team, so the best players from the academy will get regular football in Liga Adelante, which really help them develop.

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Just taken over Athletic in 2014/15. They've been gutted of the main talent, but I'll try and soldier on!

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Don't you just love it when your players get 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the young player of the year award?

screenshot20121123at953.png

EDIT: And 13 of the 22 players Spain is taking to the 2016 under 21 Euro's are from Athletic (Or Bilbao Athletic)

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How good is Ander Herrera? I signed him for Liverpool to play as a deep lying playmaker for around £15m and he's not quite clicked yet... I'm hoping it is just because he's trying to get used to the country and club...

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He has been playing pretty well for me. Avg rating of 7.03, 7.15, 7.23 and 7.14 in the first four seasons (as a deep lying playmaker).

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Both really. I have been playing both 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 (or 4-5-1).

In the 4-5-1 I play him as a bit of a mix between DLP and AP, I've used him as a AP on support but with no forward runs. In the 4-2-3-1 he plays as a DLP with no alterations to his setup except hold up ball has been unticked. In both tactics I play with high creative freedom, but if you don't want your whole team playing with that, I'd consider giving him more creative freedom.

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How good is Ander Herrera? I signed him for Liverpool to play as a deep lying playmaker for around £15m and he's not quite clicked yet... I'm hoping it is just because he's trying to get used to the country and club...

He' been the star player for me in the first three quarters of season 1, playing as a DLP next to a defensive CM, and behind an Attacking Midfielder with attack duties. The team is set to control and with a very fluid movement.

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I have a couple of questions for those who are a bit into there saves:

1) does the b and c team managers still move players up and down between b and c team on the current patch? while you yourself cant do anything about it other then to move the player back again

2) is it easier to sign players from Sociedad this year then it was on fm12?

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