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james_wilko

FM14: Newcastle United - Vive La Revolution

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Mbiwa is quality, but 20mil is a lot of money.

I would delay responding and see if you can bring someone else in first, if you can get a good replacement for a fair price (less than 10mil to me) then go for it. If not then keep hold.

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Balanta does look like a bit of a beast, haven't looked at Zouma yet on this version. Could never get his club to accept anything under £25 million odd on FM13.

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Great effort so far Wilko! Just wondering he the youngster's are looking for NUFC? I know Adam Campbell had a 5 star rating last time, how about for fm14? Also, has young Adam Armstrong made the cut? He is meant to be thought of very highly by Newcastle.

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Cheers Nick, I can`t give you exact ratings, but if you check the data thread about Armstrong he is a

-7 so not great.

Campbell appears to still be highly rated, decent stats at the start and my coaches rate him as a 4* potential so he is worth keeping.

Jak Alnwick also looks decent, rated 2.5* by my coaches so probably a good back up but not a 1st choice keeper.

Having some success with Kevin Mbabu currently, another 2.5* player but with tutoring from Colo he is steadily improving and I`m very tempted to put my faith in him and let him replace Colo by the end of the second season.

Campbell -

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Mbabu -

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Alnwick -

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EDIT:

Forgot about Dummett, not sure if he will be counted as a youngster, being 22 I don`t really count him but some will. 2* potential from the coaches but he has been solid for me so far playing as a complete wingback and replacing Santon when he`s injured/tired. Worth keeping hold of and seeing how much you can improve him `cause it`s always nice to have academy players make the grade. I don`t know if he will be good enough if/when you challenge for the title but he should become a solid squad player.

x2n6.png

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Doubt he will, a few good games aren`t enough to get a boost. If he is consistently good he should see a boost for next year though.

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Looks like you're doing a good job with Mbabu there James. He's out injured at the moment on my save so haven't been able to have him tutored yet.

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Was quite fortunate to notice him, I sold Williamson, and Good who I thought could be a future CB was out on loan. As I needed a CB for a cup game so I could play Wilson at RB to rest both my fullbacks I was digging around the youth teams. Saw Mbabu, saw he had okay stats to play against Bury (I think) and chucked him in. He did well, looked solid and I thought I would give him a go after hearing some good stuff about him irl. Haven`t been disappointed and just hoping he can improve in all the key areas to at least become a squad player for future seasons.

Unbeaten home run is over :( 1-0 loss V Southampton. Crap finishing ruined it for us, with Cisse, Remy and HBA all being awful in front of goal. As expect I`m pretty annoyed, but we are still 4th in the league and 2 points clear of 5th placed Liverpool and 7 ahead of 6th placed Spurs so we have a little breathing space in our battle for Europe.

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Fantastic OP this :thup:

Starting a Newcastle save as we speak and planning a bit of an overhaul of the squad. Wanting to bring through as many of the youth players as I can, and possibly bring back some recognisable faces but I've not decided on that yet.

Don't really know what to do with Campbell, can't deny his ability but I plan on having a lone striker and he doesn't really fit into that system unfortunately :(

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Would say for Campbell it depends on how you decide to play. If you want him to hold up the ball then he probably will be awful, but if you have creative players supporting him with lots of through balls to get him into one on one situations then he will be a success.

I would recommend having a playmaker type in the CAM position behind Campbell to create for him, and just let Campbell poach goals.

But, if he is as potentially good as my scouts reckon you can train him to be a more rounded player so he can contribute more to the team. Will mean he won`t end up with world class poaching stats but instead be a very good all round striker, similar to a Tevez or Aguero rather than an Inzaghi.

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Fantastic OP and some great progress from people in here already :thup:

Just starting a Newcastle as we speak, had a thoroughly enjoyable 18 months in charge of them in FM13 just last week.

My plan for this save is something similar to that FM13 save, I won't make too many drastic changes and instead give the majority of the current until January to prove themselves.

Regarding Campbell, I'm planning on developing as an all round rather than just as a poacher as I will be using a lone striker formation 95% of the time, its for this reason that Cisse will most likely be one of the first big name departures.

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2013/14 - Season Update

biq2.png

Down to the real business end of the season now and as you can see it's all still fairly tight in the league at the moment, with Everton proving to be the real surprise package so far. We wobbled a little when Ben Arfa picked up his injury but Eduardo Salvio has come into a very nice vein of form recently with 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 matches. A top four place will be pretty hard to hang on to as we have a fairly difficult end to the run in, our last four games are against Chelsea, Man City, Sunderland and Liverpool.

Southampton have opened up a bit of a gap on the relegation places now, don't think there will be much chance of me arranging any cheap deals for Shaw or Ward-Prowse if they stay up, so switching my aim to some other possible targets. We had the first intake of new youth players as well and I think I've lucked out with a future right back.

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Since that screenshot was taken he's been in the under 18s for a couple of weeks and coaching staff have rated him as having 5 star potential. Planning to have him tutored by Davide Santon (once he's finished some personal training) and possibly Ben Arfa as well.

EDIT: oh sodding typical :rolleyes:...Cabaye just been stretchered off away at Palace

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Cissé is perfoming better now. He's now playing AF (before I altered between Poacher and AF). Behind him is an Enganche (offensive midfielder before) and to wings.

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2013/14 - End of Season

3phw.png

As I thought the final few games made for a tough run in. The defeats to Chelsea and Man City weren't surprising, but if Cisse or Remy had taken some of the chances we created in those games we could have gotten something from both games. Fortunately for us Man City and Everton fought out a 0-0 stalemate in their penultimate match of the season, and both went on to lose their games on the last day as well. Those results combined with a very good performance against Liverpool enabled us to hold on to third place and an automatic Champions League qualification spot.

Chelsea and Man Utd kept up a bit of a ding dong battle over the last few weeks to finish 1st and 2nd, both on the same points and same goal difference but Chelsea took it on goals scored. At the bottom Crystal Palace, Cardiff and West Ham went down.

Final League Table

78t8.png

Stars of the season were Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko who both finished the season with 7.70 average ratings, Coloccini and Santon weren't too far behind with 7.61 and 7.55 ratings. Our creative and attacking players were a bit more hit and miss, but both Cabaye and Gaitan made it into double figures for assists plus chipped in with a decent number of goals themselves. Hatem Ben Arfa had 7 goals and 8 Assists from 21 games before his injury meant he missed pretty much the whole second half of the season. Or major singing of the season Honda made 8 assists and scored 6 himself and I think with a bit of tweaking of his role and instructions should hopefully have an even better season next time round.

Both Cisse and Remy finished with 14 goals in all competitions and if they'd been a bit more consistent I think Honda would have had a lot more assists considering some of the chances he created for them. Inconsistency of the strikers aside no player had a particularly bad season apart from Tiote who only made 9 appearances in the end. This was partly due to 2 lengthy injury absences, but also largely due to his second appearance of the season back in September where he came on as a second half sub for Sissoko and got himself sent off for 2 yellows within 3 minutes of coming on.

Planning ahead

I think next season is going to be a tricky one, at the end of season chat with the players where you can tell them what your expectations will be for next season I told them I reckoned we could qualify for the Champions League again only for Honda and Cabaye to say they felt we should be challenging for the title :eek:

Now I've not been told the board's expectations yet but my initial transfer budget is £10million and I don't think that's going to be enough to push us up to a prolonged title challenge. There's going to be quite a lot of rebuilding involved as it is with several of the more fringe players unhappy at the number of games they're playing and wanting moves. Marveaux, Gouffran, Williamson and Gosling all stated that they were unhappy about lack of 1st team action and have been told I'll let them leave at the end of the season. So has Steven Taylor who seems to have decided he needs a new challenge. I think I will also look to sell Tiote as Sissoko has been immense for me as the more defensive of the central midfielders (usually alongside Cabaye) and Anita provides more than adequate cover.

I would have liked to renew Gaitan's loan deal but Benfica wanted a monthly contribution of £1.9 million so that's looking unlikely, might go back and look at him in August to see if they are more reasonable. Other than that I'm probably going to wait till I offload some of the wantaway players before I make any definite moves to sign some new faces. Ideally I would like to bring in one decent central defender, a striker and a winger for the 1st team squad, then I have a couple of youngsters that I'd like to bring in if there's still some cash left in the budget. Also hoping to bring in a few new faces as far as the backroom staff go, with a few of the current staff approaching the end of their contracts I'll most likely not renew their deals and freshen things up then.

Santon seems to be the main squad player in demand at the moment, we've already had bids from Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and PSG by the middle of June with the latest bid from PSG now at £19million. There's also some interest in Cabaye and Sissoko (not surprisingly after his excellent season)

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@DandyDon

Terrific season there mate :thup:

How did Cabaye perform playing deeper? I was planning on using him as the most advanced midielder in a 3 with Anita and Sissoko/Tiote behind him.

What role did you use Sissoko in?

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I used Cabaye in the deep lying playmaker role usually, though sometimes did play him further forward too. Finished with a couple goals, 11 assists and a 7.30 average rating. I'll be looking at ways to tweak things to get more out of him and Honda during the summer.

Sissoko was usually playing as a Ball Winning midfielder for me, he might not be the greatest tackler but he made a lot of interceptions and harrassed opposition players into mistakes. I was actually surprised how well he did in the role to be honest. His value is up at £17.25 mill at the moment and he's in the French World cup squad.

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Much happier on this version of FM with players demands when it comes to new contracts have to say. Ben Arfa was going into the last year of his deal and when I opened talks he was only looking for £51k a week (seem to remember him wanting a hike to about £120k a week straight off the bat on FM13). I've actually upped his deal to £56k a week but got him to drop his unused sub and annual wage rise clauses which I'm pretty happy with. So have him, Santon and Cabaye all tied down to deals now for next couple of seasons at least.

Anyone looking for a potential bargain defender at the end of the summer could maybe do worse than have a look at this lad by the way:

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Picked him up on a free from Estudiantes after his agent touted him around, had him scouted and looks like he should be a decent backup to first choice pair Yanga-Mbiwa and Coloccini

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well finished first season and what a mixed bag finished 10th in the premiership.

2013-10-22_00001_zps7c7ea799.jpg

won fa cup

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Just couldn't get a tactic to work for any length of time until about end of march.

2013-10-22_00003_zps150c7fb0.jpg

also sunderland got relegated sacked poyet and re hired martin o'neil.

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during pre season been a nightmare for bids and players becoming unhappy so having a major reshuffle,

mbiwa went for 35 million, santon 21.5 mil, debuchy for 20 mil, ben arfa for 20 million, those were unhappy, also out are gouffrran for 5 mil, taylor for 4 mil and cisse for 8 mil, those weren't in my plans.

so far coming in for debuchy is corchia signed for 3.6 million,

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coming in for santon is fabio signed for 5 million. but still searching.

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coming in for mbiwa is erazo. also still searching for another centre back.

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replacing goufrran is agirretxe,

2013-10-22_00009_zps324136c2.jpg

replacing cisse is di natale short term , and Vydra.

and replacing ben arfa is nathon redmond.

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@Spedding

I do love Di Natale, should be a great option to tutor some of your youngsters for a season. Got some great prices there for your sales. I've been turning down a lot of bids for Santon and Cabaye so far....though PSG are creeping close to offering a price I'd feel was too good to turn down.

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Just finished my pre season, and although I decided not to overhaul the squad as much as I had first planned, I still saw a fair bit of transfer business go through.

I'll start with my outgoings. I allowed Sylvain Marveaux to leave for Norwich in a deal that will eventually hit £5m. After evaluating the squad I decided that he could be replaced from inside the squad, and would allow me to focus on developing youngsters such as Haris Vuckic and Gael Bigirimana. Gabriel Obertan left for Crystal Palace for £4m. He wouldn't have seen any game time in the squad and I wasn't to sniff at a fee like that. Mike Williamson followed Obertan to Selhurst Park. He was another player that simply wasn't up to standard, and I felt we already had decent cover for my first choice pair of Yanga-Mbiwa and Coloccini in Steven Taylor, Curtis Good and Remie Streete. Jonas Gutierrez joined Everton for £3.5m. He wasn't really what I was looking for in a winger and was happy to see the back of his wages.

In terms of incomings, we essentially replaced what left but with better value and with better quality. Wilfried Zaha joined on a season long loan from Manchester United. He provides cover for both wings and will act as a rotation option, and can even cover up front if completely necessary. Tom Ince came in from Blackpool for £4m, what I felt was an absolute bargain. He is my starting left winger and completes a formidable wing pairing alongside Ben Arfa. Javad Nekounam joined from Iranian club Esteghlal for £150k. He adds some steel and experience to the core of the side, and can cover both defensive midfield roles. John Souttar arrived from Dundee United for £1.3m. He'll start off in the under 21 side, but will hopefully be ready for first team football within a couple of years, and will hopefully become a mainstay in the side. Finally, Will Hughes arrived for £7.5m from Championship side Derby County, where he will remain on loan for the season. I probably overpaid for him a little but he will eventually become Yohan Cabaye's replacement in the attacking midfield position.

Pre Season Results:

Terek Grozny 0 - 3 Newcastle United

St. Mirren 1 - 3 Newcastle United

Carlisle 2 - 3 Newcastle United

Gateshead 0 - 1 Newcastle United

Real Sporting 0 - 3 Newcastle United

Despite the 100% record I'm not entirely happy with the results. We weren't playing as I'd like and we rarely hit 60% possession in games which is something I want to achieve on a regular basis. I put this in some part down to the goalkeeper distribution bug as it meant we couldn't develop moves from the back but we were still giving the ball away too much in midfield.

Just realised this is a massively long post, sorry about that :)

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Much like Spedding, I've also had a major reshuffle..

£45m bid from PSG for Santon was too good to turn down, as was the £28.5m for Mbiwa from City. I've also let Obertan go for £2m & Marveaux for £3.5m.

Totalling £79m of income.

Replacements have been -

Kurt Zouma - £7m

Alvarez Balanta - £25m

Luke Shaw - £12m

Jonathan Silva - £4.5m

Sime Vrsjalko - £4m

Bakkalli - £8m

Which leaves me with nearly £20m left in change, plus my transfer budget on top! I'm just hoping they gel well at the start of the season or I'm in trouble!

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On another note, anyone else getting inconsistencies with Krul's performances? His potential seems a lot less than it was in FM13 for me..

Any ideas on a possible replacement? I've managed to nab Casteels for only 60k which is a bargain & I've looked at Ter Stegen but he's already signed for Barcelona..

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Much like Spedding, I've also had a major reshuffle..

£45m bid from PSG for Santon was too good to turn down, as was the £28.5m for Mbiwa from City. I've also let Obertan go for £2m & Marveaux for £3.5m.

Totalling £79m of income.

Replacements have been -

Kurt Zouma - £7m

Alvarez Balanta - £25m

Luke Shaw - £12m

Jonathan Silva - £4.5m

Sime Vrsjalko - £4m

Bakkalli - £8m

Which leaves me with nearly £20m left in change, plus my transfer budget on top! I'm just hoping they gel well at the start of the season or I'm in trouble!

Holy cow! I got 30 for Santon and 15 for Mbiwa and I thought I did well...Did you have to bargain a lot?

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Have started a save as NUFC as well. Not going too well so far :(

Mixed results in pre-season and just lost the opener at home to Cardiff 0-2, even worse: fully derservedly.

Playing an asymmetric 4-1-2-2-1

GKd Krul

WBRs Debuchy

CDRc Collocini

CDLx Yanga-Mbiwa

FBLs Davies

CMD RGA Tiote

MCR CMs Cabaye

ML DWs Gutierrez

AMR IFa Ben Arfa

AMCL ENG Gaitan

SC AFa Cisse

Control, Balanced, more expressive, work ball into box

My (notable) transfers so far:

OUT:

Santon to Tottenham € 19m + 30% of profit

Sh. Ameobi to somewhere € 1.6m

still trying to get rid of Obertan and Gosling. Would sell Gutierrez if I saw any better replacement for the 50% which I may re-invest.

IN:

Gaitan from SLB € 8.25m

Pantsil free

Benayoun free

Davies from Swansea € 11m

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Damn it...I hate you all :lol:

Haven't had a real major bid yet for anyone, and struggling to secure moves of some of the wantaway players. Starting to miss out on sveral targets now as they get moves to other clubs

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On another note, anyone else getting inconsistencies with Krul's performances? His potential seems a lot less than it was in FM13 for me..

Any ideas on a possible replacement? I've managed to nab Casteels for only 60k which is a bargain & I've looked at Ter Stegen but he's already signed for Barcelona..

Could try and grab Valdes on a free :p he's still without a club in late July after his Barca deal expired on my save

Another possibility if you're at start of second season would be Brazilian keeper Jefferson from Botafogo. He's 31 in the 2014 summer transfer window, so you could get 2 or 3 decent seasons out of I'm sure while you see if Krul improves. He has some fantastic attributes as well. Plus his contract expires at the end of December 2014 so you could always get him in on a free in January. I'm trying to get him in for the start of the season though, my new Brazilian scout rates him very highly (4.5 stars)

grq7.png

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Manage to win Carling Cup Final against Spurs in the first season - guaranteeing european football in the next season.

In the 6.round of the FA Cup, we met Spurs again. Lamela scored in the 93.minut to 1-1 :( We lost the return 3-2, so we're done in the cups this year.

Sitting 6th in Premier League after 31 games... Pretty decent.

EDIT: Krul isn't playing that good for me neither. 41 games, 54 goals, 6.76 ovr rating. He's price is also dropping. We'll look for one of the german keepers, if they are available

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Could try and grab Valdes on a free :p he's still without a club in late July after his Barca deal expired on my save

Another possibility if you're at start of second season would be Brazilian keeper Jefferson from Botafogo. He's 31 in the 2014 summer transfer window, so you could get 2 or 3 decent seasons out of I'm sure while you see if Krul improves. He has some fantastic attributes as well. Plus his contract expires at the end of December 2014 so you could always get him in on a free in January. I'm trying to get him in for the start of the season though, my new Brazilian scout rates him very highly (4.5 stars)

grq7.png

Cheers bud, I'll look into him!

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Just started Newcastle save. I have a few main aims for my save with them!

- Sort the defence out first. Make Newcastle hard to beat, too many times over the last few years they've been all over the place defensively.

- Bring some British-ness back in to the squad. The team has been taken over by the French so I intend on bringing in a few home grown players and selling some foreign deadwood.

- Win a trophy. Too long since such a big club has won anything.

I'll update on results and transfers at the end of the transfer window!

Any specific hints/tips that you'd like to add feel free! cheers

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Reet, didn't realize pre-order got me early access !

Been itching to start a new Toon save on fm13 but held off for the new game to be released.

Will try keeping this save realistic, focusing on bringing in youth and training them up, transfer limit of around 10-12m for a single player and money up front.

So, first order of business - sack Joe Kinnear, got Santon on a new deal as Spurs and Arsenal are sniffing around, Ben Arfa is already unhappy and just got his transfer request rejected, also signed Campbell up to a new contract as Man U are trailing him.

Next up, got my training & youth facilities upgraded and axed all my -4star coaching staff and replaced them with the best I could find..

Andy Renshaw, Massimo Neri & Bruno Demichelis are all 5 star fitness coaches if anyone need to improve that area.

Transfers

Out:

Shola - Leeds 675k

Gutierrez - Lille 4M

Obertan - Palace 4M

Bigi, Tav, Gosling, Campbell, Dummett, Good, Sammy all loaned out to SPL/Championship clubs or higher as key players.

Total: 8.68M

In

Mason Bennett 600K

Tom Ince - AML - Blackpool 03.5M

Will Hughes - CM -Derby -3.9M

John Souttar - DC - Dundee 1.6M

Ryan Gauld - AMR/L/C - Dundee 1.7M

Richairo Zivkovic - ST - FC Groningen 550K

Youri Tielemans - CM - Anderlecht 2M

Honda - AMC - CSKA - Free (Arrives in January)

Zaha - Loan

Total: 13.85M

Be interesting to see how our new crop of youth players come along in this game, looks like a few gems who with a bit of tutoring and game time can reach 4-4 1/2 star ability. Gonna focus big time on Vuckic and Campbell who have been my favorite players in the previous 2 football managers.

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Just beginning my journey to conquer the world with Newcastle my game is setting up and im about to go.

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Reet, didn't realize pre-order got me early access !

Been itching to start a new Toon save on fm13 but held off for the new game to be released.

Will try keeping this save realistic, focusing on bringing in youth and training them up, transfer limit of around 10-12m for a single player and money up front.

So, first order of business - sack Joe Kinnear, got Santon on a new deal as Spurs and Arsenal are sniffing around, Ben Arfa is already unhappy and just got his transfer request rejected, also signed Campbell up to a new contract as Man U are trailing him.

Next up, got my training & youth facilities upgraded and axed all my -4star coaching staff and replaced them with the best I could find..

Andy Renshaw, Massimo Neri & Bruno Demichelis are all 5 star fitness coaches if anyone need to improve that area.

Transfers

Out:

Shola - Leeds 675k

Gutierrez - Lille 4M

Obertan - Palace 4M

Bigi, Tav, Gosling, Campbell, Dummett, Good, Sammy all loaned out to SPL/Championship clubs or higher as key players.

Total: 8.68M

In

Mason Bennett 600K

Tom Ince - AML - Blackpool 03.5M

Will Hughes - CM -Derby -3.9M

John Souttar - DC - Dundee 1.6M

Ryan Gauld - AMR/L/C - Dundee 1.7M

Richairo Zivkovic - ST - FC Groningen 550K

Youri Tielemans - CM - Anderlecht 2M

Honda - AMC - CSKA - Free (Arrives in January)

Zaha - Loan

Total: 13.85M

Be interesting to see how our new crop of youth players come along in this game, looks like a few gems who with a bit of tutoring and game time can reach 4-4 1/2 star ability. Gonna focus big time on Vuckic and Campbell who have been my favorite players in the previous 2 football managers.

Ive also set myself similar rules all money paid upfront for players or at least the majority and only focusing on bringing in youth players with the odd exception. Most purchases will be young English/British players on this save.

I will keep everyone posted with regular updates or transfers, results etc... and also screenshots

good luck everyone

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Rather wishing I'd tried a little harder in the first season to shift the likes of Obertan, Gutierrez, Marveaux, Gouffran and maybe even Tiote to drum up some extra funds. I've had to sell them second season for pretty low fees and the likes of Ince, Hughes, Tielemans and some of the other young talent are all that bit more expensive in this transfer window.

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Season 2 -Summer transfer window update

First off welcome to the thread and good luck for some of the new starts :thup: Anyhoo my second season on this save is finally underway after a long and at times excrutiatingly slow transfer window. During the first few weeks of the window when it opened I was struggling to raise any extra funds by selling players and was rather tiptoeing around bringing anyone in. I didn't want to spend the bulk of the initial £10 million budget I had on just one target early in the window if that would turn out to be all the cash I had available.

Outbound

Eventually things started to pick up pace around the second week in August when I finally offloaded some of the players who weren't in my plans (although not for particularly great fees) and then someone actually came in with a tempting offer for one of more bankable assets. Clubs had been sniffing around Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko and Cabaye during the summer. Of that group of players the one I would be most willing to lose would be Debuchy as I felt either of the fullbaks would be more easily replaced, Santon could easily move over to right back if Debuchy left and we had back up options within the squad already.

We didn't receive any bids for Ben Arfa or Debuchy in the end, probably as both picked up fairly serious injuries almost immediately after returning from the summer break (Ben Arfa at least returned after the first couple of games in August, but Debuchy won't be back until mid October). Enquiries were made for Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko and Cabaye, but only led to a couple of concrete bids for Cabaye which I rejected. However we did start getting concrete bids for Santon almost as soon as the transfer window opened, but at first they were mostly just a nuisance as they were for nowhere near what I'd consider accepting for him. We rejected bids from PSG, Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea all before the end of June and they kept coming through July and into August, gradually creeping higher and closer to something I'd be tempted by.

By the time I eventually decided to accept bids from PSG and Monaco for him I think we'd had over 25 individual bids for Santon that summer, but the two french clubs finally put in offers that exceeded the acceptable price tag I had in mind. Santon chose Monaco over PSG and we'll eventually receive £33million from the deal (assuming he meets the appearance and international cap clauses of course) but we made £28 million upfront which I was more than happy enough with. Apart from that deal we also ended up selling Mike Williamson to Reading for £700k, Gouffran to CSKA Moscow for £3mill, Tiote to Cagliari for a disappointing £2.9mill (plus we're still paying 4.5k a week toward his wages), Obertan to newly promoted Watford for £3.3mill and Steven Taylor to Fulham for £2 million. Marveaux I couldn't sell, but he has joined Lille on loan.

Inbound

Early in the summer before we started to get some extra cash in I was being very careful with signings and to start with I only added a few free transfers that I felt would at least challenge for 1st team places. Picked up central defender Santiago Vergini from Argentinian club Estudiantes (posted a screenshot of him a little further up the thread) as backup to Colo and he's also capable of playing at right back. The other 2 early freebies were both strikers as we brought in Eduardo from Shakhtar Donetsk (primarily to be a tutuor for Campbell, but he still looks a very useful player) and a target Newcastle were linked heavily with in real life Bafetimbi Gomis (who'd scored 26 goals for Lyon in the season just finished).

I was a little put out when the club agreed a deal for a young right back that I hadn't heard of for £1.2 million, but when I saw how highly he was rated for potential I decided to let the deal go through. As we got to the first week of August and still hadn't had much success selling players I decided to spend the bulk of the remaining transfer budget on 2 players who had been transfer listed at pretty reasonable prices. Firstly we brought in Lewis Holtby from Spurs for £3.6 mill and then added Giuseppe Bellusci from Italian club Sassuolo for £2.1mill. Bellusci was a favourite signing on a couple of FM13 saves and he still looks a very solid defender on this version and I knew I was planning to try and offload both Taylor and Williamson so just couldn't resist when I saw how cheaply he was available.

Once the deal for Santon was finally concluded and some of the dead wood shifted as well the season was already underway but I've been able to bring in another 5 players before the window closed. Probably our biggest deal of the summer (at least in terms of player quality anyway) was signing Ghanaian winger Andre Ayew from Marseille for £4.6 million. We only bid so low for him on Carr's recommendation as I'm sure he was valued at about £8 million at the time. I had planned to then make a bid for Eduardo Salvio, be he agreed a deal to sign for Atletico Madrid, so I switched to another possible target and Wigan's Callum McManaman arrived for £8mill (not sure how some will feel about him considering his tackle on Haidara). My other wing signing is one that's pretty familiar to everyone judging by the posts so far, Tom Ince arrived from Crystal Palace for £5.25 mill after we missed out on him last season when he moved from Blackpool.

I decided to bring in some proper competition for Tim Krul as well and after looking at some of the keepers available on free transfers like Sergio Romero, I decided to spend £1.6 million bringing Brazilian keeper Jefferson to SJP. We could have gotten him for nothing in January but I decided I wanted him available for the first half of the season to push Krul.

My final signing of the window won't actually play for us till next season as we agreed a loan back deal with his club. We picked West Brom's central midfielder George Thorne up for a deal that will eventually rise to £8.75 million. I went for him as I wanted another English player and he'd been flagged up in several scouting reports. He looks like a solid, hard working midfielder (can play MC or DM), decent passer and he's been rated with 4 star potential. I've got Cabaye, Honda, Sissoko and Anita for central midfield at the moment and he should be guaranteed plenty 1st team action there to aid his development this season, which is why I was happy to agree the loan back clause.

And there we are...apologies for the wall of text :p

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@DandyDon

Some great signings there especially Holtby, Bellusci and Ayew. Also, Thorne has been a player that has interested me on English club saves since FM12 but I'm never actually signed him and as you say he has a good mix of attributes.

Bit disappointing to get so little for Tiote surely? But you done well getting rid of the majority of the deadwood.

How's the finances and squad looking now? Any idea on what formation you'll be using next season?

----

Regarding my save, progress has been slow... very slow!

Have only got to 24th July but have so far brought in £33.5m from Monaco for the sales of Cisse (£23.5m) and Marveaux (£10m). How I managed to get £10m for Marveaux I don't know, he was valued at £5m and I always offer players out at 200% of their value, the next day Monaco came back with an offer of £10m. So far I have brought in Yossi Benayoun on a free transfer, he is a terrific tutor with his 'Model Preofessional' personality - currently titoring Vuckic - and he is very versatile. To replace Cisse, I bought Leandro Damiao for £4.1m from Internacional. I also brought in a youngster from Brazil, Anderson Talisca from Bahia who can cover DM, CM, LM, AMC and AML as well as having the attributes to cover at LB and with 'Cuts Inside' as one of his PPM's I'm sure he could play at AMR and cut in on his left foot.

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@DBurns

Just reading your post and I'm kicking myself, second season running I forgot about Damiao...and he's still available incredibly cheaply :( Who else you targetting for the first season?

Yeah very happy with Holtby, Bellusci and Ayew for the prices I had to pay. Much like my last FM13 save I think lack of games in the previous season counted against me getting a good deal for Tiote, probably should have bitten the bullet and sold him before last season kicked off to be honest (hindsights a marvellous thing isn't it :p)

I'm playing the same 4-2-3-1 formation I played for the 1st season, but I've tweaked it to a higher defensive line and quicker tempo. The idea is to do something a little like the way Southampton played against Man Utd recently in real life where you harry opponents high up the park rather than just let them have possession in their defensive third and if you win the ball there you're quickly in on goal. Obviously it means there's a risk of a high defensive line being exposed at times but I'm taking that gamble at moment. Also means a lot of work for the team, but I've got decent cover for most positions now so I can rotate and rest players more this season hopefully.

I've actually just added one more player, signed Darren Fletcher as a free agent after the window closed. Main reason for signing him was to act as a tutor to some of the youngsters obviously, but I think he should do a job for us if called upon.

Financially I've no transfer funds left, but I am well within my wage budget. Not worried about buying in anyone else this season as I'm happy with the squad for now. Next summer my goal will be to sign long term replacements for Debuchy and Coloccini, but I think I should be able to do that pretty easily with whatever funds the board make available then...assuming of course I meet their expectations this season.

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@DandyDon

Yeah, couldnt believe how cheap he was available for! I've raided Anderlecht for Massimo Bruno (£5.5m) who will offer a very different threat to Ben Arfa on the right wing whilst also having the attributes to play as an inside forward. I've also further strengthened our strikeforce with the addition of Aleksandar Mitrovic, a powerful 18 year old who also has pace and good in the air as well as being a good finisher, he could be one of the best strikers in the world with that mix of attributes if he develops to his full potential.

I've also sold Jonas to Real Sociedad for £3.4m, maybe a little low but he has high wages and was unlikely to ever be first choice. I'm looking to bring in a centre back then sell Williamson and that should conclude my transfer business for the summer.

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@DBurns

I already had Bruno and Mitrovic both shortlisted, both look like being very, very good players. Thought about making a move for Bruno this season, but decided to go for the English option of McManaman. Good business getting both of them :thup:.

Some crazy amount of young talent in that Anderlecht squad (Tielemans and Praet are there too aren't they?)

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@DandyDon

Yeah they're both there as well and both are on my shortlist as well. They also have a young Spainish fella Fede Vico, looks like a good prospect too.

Anderlecht would make for an interesting save!

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