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FM16: Stoke City - In play now!

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Stoke City FM2016

A Brief Introduction to Stoke

Owned by the Coates family and a part of the Stoke-on-Trent based Bet365 group the clubs fortunes have been transformed and almost a decade on from the return of Peter Coates as chairman Stoke are now in the position where the clubs aims are to try and make a place its own in the top 7 or 8 clubs in England. With over a hundred million estimated to have been injected into the club by the Bet365 group losing betters around the world lured in by Ray Winstons floating head have funded Stokes ascension. Peter Coates, the family patriarch and club chairman though knows at the ripe old age of 77 won't be around forever. The aim is to ween the club off cash injections from Bet365 and ensure the club can take care of itself. The new TV deals and more nous in the transfer market has meant during the past two seasons there has been far less need to invest by the Coates family with external money and the clubs gift loan having stabilised at a little over £50m.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So Where to Begin?

Do I need to sign anyone?

The short answer here is no. You have a large squad with no U21 players who are first team ready, the summer window should be about trying to make the most of what you've got. Unless you can make some good money in sales of course. If you already have a clear cut idea of the formation you want to play and forge your own path right from the get-go then there's no real need for recommendations as you'll know what players you need. The squad you have is good enough to secure top half finishes for the next 2 seasons so the main aim should really be to make the use of the squad you have and exploit the transfer market to get players at the right time rather then drastically overhauling the squad right away.

Who should I sell?

- Stephen Ireland is largely redundant now in a Stoke squad with the likes of Bojan, Afellay, Arnautovic and Shaqiri all operating in the AM region of the pitch.

- Peter Odemwingie, Peter Crouch, Phil Bardsley all come under the same category, ageing players that are only going to be on the fringes of your squad and eat up quite a bit in wages. You're not going to make an awful lot of money, if any for these players though, so you would need to line up some cheap replacements but you'd be freeing up some of the wage budget.

How to Line-up

A 4-4-1-1 formation is generally the line up Stoke work with, and it suits the players at the club but its not quite a straight forward formation like that. Below is a screenshot of how I've been lining the team up with considerable success across a couple of saves during the game so far.

qADPtB9.png

Explaining the tactic

Mentality: Control (Counter or Balanced against stronger teams, or when you're having a lot of attacks against you)

Team Shape: Fluid

Team Instructions: Fairly Narrow Width, Close down More

It's very basic but it provides a framework that anyone can work off of.

How it defends

It defends very much in the 4-4-1-1 shape, the AML will often come back into the ML line albeit a little slower than if he was positioned there but it is still effective and functional. The midfield does a lot of defensive work, and helps keep the team strong through the middle.

Player Instructions & Attacking Movement

Here's a brief outline of the player instructions (not including the default instructions set)

GK - D: Roll it out, To Full Backs

RB - FBA: Fewer Risky Passes, Stay Wider, Run Wide with Ball

LB - FBD: Stay Wider, Run Wide with ball

CB - CDD: Nothing additional

RM - DWS: Sit Narrower

CM - CMD: Close down much more | Note, you could use a deep lying playmaker here on defend, this is a very safe area for play to focus through as this position always has passing options

CM - CMS: Nothing additional | Note, you can use a BBM midfielder here but if you do so you probably want to remove the roam from position on the AMC and change how they play slightly

AMC - AMS/A: Roam from position

AML - IFA: Close Down more, Sit Narrower

ST - AF: More Risky Passes

Here is a poor paint image of generally how the play shifts in attacking movement.

AcV1MAj.png

Bojan has a free role so I haven't put any lines for where he tends to move as it can be anywhere but his movement tends to affect where Shaqiri will move as the Inside Forward. If during play Bojan moves and creates vacant space through the AMC area Shaqiri will often charge through there and end up in a very good attacking position.

The Defensive Winger position is hard to explain how well it functions in building attacks, except in sustained attacks the player there doesn't push up too much but with the sit narrower they come a little more central and then the CMD tends to drop into the vacant space and provide protection for the back 4. It means there's a lot of movement down the right hand side with the potential of crossing & passing into the box.

It has a lot of offensive movement from 3 players in the RB, the AMC & the Inside Forward without them all looking to attack the same space or ending up congesting the same areas of play. The left back will also push up to the midfield line during sustained attacks but its rarer to see anything attacking wise from the left back but this is by design.

A Brief Senior Squad Review

Goalkeepers:

Jack Butland: With plenty of room to develop still the 22 year old keeper is an obvious first choice for many years to come.

Shay Given: The back-up for Butland over the next season or two, it gives you an experienced keeper while you wait for the development of Haugaard or Kurasik to become your eventual number 2.

Jakob Haugaard: The third choice and a new signing from Danish football, at the age of 23 if you wish to develop him he will need game time somewhere so a loan is more likely.

Defenders:

Glen Johnson: At the age of 30 Glen has about 2 more years before you need to be thinking of moving him, he can still provide some great attacking potential down the right in the meantime.

Phil Bardsley: Adequate cover for the full back positions but he is also 30 and unlikely to be happy with a fringe position in the squad. His decline is likely to be sharper than Johnsons so you should think about replacing him towards the end of the first season.

Marc Wilson: Versatile enough to cover anywhere across the back 4 and in midfield too, you'll want to keep a hold of him because even though he's unlikely to be your first choice in any position he's an excellent option and reliable.

Geoff Cameron: A solid choice for CB or RB. He does struggle to make the US team though which means extending his contract beyond 2018 can be tricky.

Erik Pieters: Initially your first choice left back and a very solid, no nonsense defender.

Marc Muniesa: Competition for the role of left back or if you're looking for a comfortable on the ball defender then there are few better who are immediately available. He lacks height but can be deployed to great effectiveness as a ball playing defender.

Ryan Shawcross: As soon as he's back from injury he is likely to be your stalwart defender who still has a good 6 or 7 years ahead of him if not more. There's nothing fancy about his defending but coupled with the right partner he will be a rock which you'll struggle to replace.

Philipp Wollscheid: Quick once he's moving but slow to get up to speed. Still a very good defender and depending on your preferences in defending could be a solid partner alongside Shawcross for years to come.

Midfielders:

Glenn Whelan: At 31 he's a little older but still an excellent holding midfielder who can be relied upon to break up play and recycle possession efficiently. He makes up for his lack of speed with the ability to position himself well and read the game.

Charlie Adam: Likely to be your first seasons partner for Whelan, a more creative spark and better range of passing you will find he works well with Whelan even though they both lack the pace to be a mobile midfield together they work well to provide a dependable platform in midfield.

Ibahim Affelay: Technically he's great but mentally he's not so good, you need to find a way to get the most out of his talents or he can disappear from games. At 29 if you get a good season out of him and there's some interest selling him would be quite wise.

Xherdan Shaqiri: First choice for the AML or MR position and capable of driving your attack forward. If you can get him firing again you've got a £40m+ player on your hands.

Jon Walters: The frontline equivalent of Marc Wilson, but he's 31. Technically he doesn't look like all that much of a player, but his physical and mental attributes make him great to use as a defensive winger or to lead the line when looking to protect a lead.

Marko Arnautovic: - - -

Stephen Ireland: At 28 Ireland still has a few years left in him but he too has the tendency to be wonderful some games then entirely anonymous. There's also a lot of players who can play his positions meaning he's not as essential as he might have been to the team.

Bojan: Another of the enigmatic types, but even if he's not doing much directly in terms of assists and goals his movement tends to at least create more spaces for other players to attack.

Attackers:

Mame Diouf: Diouf is largely a faster Jonathan Walters, he can be used to help protect leads or lead the line and do reasonably well he's not the most natural of finishers but will still be capable of getting 10+ goals a season.

Peter Odemwingie: It'll be difficult to get much out of Odemwingie, he's still fast over 10 yards but has lost some of his pace and can still create problems for opponents but at 33 he doesn't have a lot left to offer.

Peter Crouch: Another aging forward but his playstyle is not related at all to his pace, Crouch can be an excellent forward due to his ability to bring others into play and act as a more central focal point for attacks.

Joselu: A younger, faster targetman type to replace Peter Crouch. While he is certainly capable of leading the line his mental attributes leave him a little unable to do so at times, meaning he can be a frustrating figure up top.

In spoilers, but the 16.3 CA's for the squad (top 25 players not including Imbula at the moment):

Jack Butland: 152

Ryan Shawcross: 150

Xherdan Shaqiri: 148

Mame Biram Diouf: 147

Ibrahim Afellay: 145

Marko Arnautovic: 142

Glen Johnson: 142

Bojan: 141

Philipp Wollscheid: 140

Joselu: 139

Geoff Cameron: 137

Erik Pieters: 134

Stephen Ireland: 132

Marc Muniesa: 132

Marc Wilson: 131

Shay Given: 128

Charlie Adam: 127

Peter Odemwingie: 127

Glenn Whelan: 127

Phil Bardsley: 126

Jonathan Walters: 125

Peter Crouch: 123

Jakob Haugaard: 111

Oliver Shenton: 100

Moha El Ouariachi: 95

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Situation in Game

Here's a basic outline of the situation the club faces in the game, with a brief overview of the clubs finances, the facilities, exciting prospects and long term injuries.

Finances:

Overall Balance: £13.25m

Transfer Budget: £1.7m

Wage Budget: £1m being spent out of a £1.04m p/w budget.

Gift Loan: £59.4m (payable on departure of Chairman)

What does this mean?

Going forward the club should be running at a profit as it starts the game, the TV revenue should be greater than the wage bill which is very important because that £57.4m loan has potential for serious implications down the line. Peter Coates is happy at the club but his age means usually within 2 or 3 seasons he will look to sell the club. You need to ensure the club is in a situation where it can likely afford this expenditure without it crippling the club in terms of FFP.

Facilities

Stadium: 28384 (27740 in league games) capacity stadium

Superb Training Facilities & Good Youth Facilities with a Category 1 Academy.

Injuries

- Ryan Shawcross (5-6 months): The strongest defender at the club is going to be out for a lengthy period of time. Until he's back fit and ready you'll need to make allowances for this.

- Geoff Cameron (3-4 months): Arguably one of your first choice defenders and possible partner for Shawcross depending on your preferences but again missing a vital defender who provides cover at RB & CM.

- Andy Wilkinson (2-3 years): While he is capable of being cover at RB his contract expires in January and his injury is likely to be the end of his career, but the squad isn't build around anticipating his return.

What does this mean?

With a key defender in Shawcross and very versatile defensive option injured in Geoff Cameron is does leave the club a little lighter in these areas, but with Marc Wilson you have another very versatile defensive player who can help plug gaps until these two return so there is no immediate concerns.

Exciting Prospects

- Thibaud Verlinden: A young and fast right winger who turns 16 a couple of days after the game starts. With careful nurturing by the time he is 18/19 he could be developed into an effective premier league player.

- Oliver Shenton: He starts the game at age 17 and can become a useful premier league midfielder but to bring him up to standard it will probably need a more concentrated effort than Verlinden as it stands at the moment.

- Julien Ngoy: Another 17 year old who has pace to burn, developing him will be a challenge but he certainly has the potential to make it into the realm of a 10-15 goal a season striker.

- Dominic Kurasik: A talented young goalkeeper who could be useful to use in cup games to begin developing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In closing

I've tried to keep this quite short and to the point so anyone can come in and pick up a game with Stoke without needing to do too much reading or sifting through additional information to get to what they want. I've not included the list of players who would improve your squad due to the fact most targets are rather obvious based on the rest of this forum and the fact the squad is good enough to meet the needs and as I mentioned above you're either the kind of FM player who has a firm grasp on the style/formation they want to play and will sign accordingly, or you'll use the squad your given and feel your way in and this thread helps more with the latter.

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Player Development

Here's a few screenshots of the players I've developed by the time the game is just into the 4th season:

Jack Butland:

qzlQ2z7.png

Thibaud Verlinden:

q9i5jOS.png

Julien Ngoy:

Jn9zLHu.png

Shenton & Kurasik were never really developed as I couldn't fit them into the team so haven't included those.

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in my palace game stoke got relegated and then a tycoon took over and a very rich tycoon haha

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Very nice start. I like the "Where to begin?" section and the tactic section.

I tried to sign Jon Walters for my Darmstadt save, as he was unhappy in the Winter 2015 at Stoke and available cheap. And indeed, his physical and mental attributes look great; exactly what you need for a team based on defending and hard teamwork. Unfortunately, the wages at Stoke (or in the PL in general) are absolutely bonkers compared to the continent. He asked for € 250,000/month in wages, when my best earning player so far had earned € 65,000/month.

This is actually something some people fear might bite the PL clubs soon: Due to the big influx of TV money, English clubs might find it difficult to get rid of their players, at least when dealing with continental clubs. Interesting how FM16 forshadows this development already to some extent...

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Peter Coates is happy at the club but his age means usually within 2 or 3 seasons he will look to sell the club. You need to ensure the club is in a situation where it can likely afford this expenditure without it crippling the club in terms of FFP.

in my palace game stoke got relegated and then a tycoon took over and a very rich tycoon haha

So you think the club gets selled the next 2-3 seasons anyway? How is the chance to get a rich tycoon and not a poor former player? ^^

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Right, finally got around to getting FM16 so i can finally sink my teeth into the Stoke save i've been dying to do. Only played for about an hour so far but made a solid start in the off season market.

Had the formation planned out for a quite a while, on paper it looks good, and new signings (which i'll come in to) have strengthened it, but in game 1 of my China tour i scraped a last minute 1-1, so might need a refresh on them :lol:.

The signings:

- Lucas Romero (£2 million up front, £2 million more over 48 months) - Not much that can be said about this kid that hasn't already been said, we all know about the potential. But i signed him for more reasons that him just being a wonderkid, i needed a ball winning midfield in the DM slot to go into my formation, and he fits the bill absolutely perfectly.

- Eder Alvarez Balanta (£1.8 up front, £1.5 million more over 48 months) - Again, we know all about him. But with Shawcross out for 6 months i wanted to bring someone in who can go straight into the team and form a partnership with Wollschied, and he slots in perfectly. Hoping they build a solid partnership.

- Ricky Alvarez (free) - Had a good long look at him before other teams forced my hand a bit and i put in a contract offer. Signed and he's instantly worth £12.25 million. Should be good for back up/competition for Bojan at AMC.

Looking for maybe one more deal before the window closes and the season cracks on.

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I also started a Stoke save and i will rebuild them quickly.

Also bought Romero, Balanta and Alvarez. So Malcom (loaned back 1 season), Gil Romero, Mammana, Madlung, Andrés Cubas, Zarate (Pretty young for the future)

I really try hard a 4-1-4-1 atm, but i had many injury Problems and not the best start in the Liga. A really underperforming Arnautovic who have to go in the Winter - i also failed to get a Striker into the DLF Slot. Diouf plays really bad, as defensive forward or DLF. Crouch also. Only Zarate blinks sometimes, but he is so small.

Every Game is even, not many clear chances for the other team, still i have bad luck with late goals and really close games.

Can someone see why i struggle here?

atm i play:

----------------------------------------------- GK Butland --------------------------------------

---FB/a Mammana/Johnson --- CB/d Wollscheid --- CB/c Madlung --- FB/s Balanta-----

------------------------------------------DM/d Romero/Cubas ---------------------------------

WM/a Walters/Arnautovic --- RMP Gil Romero --- AP/a Alvarez --- WM/a Afellay ----- (Somtimes i play Romero AP, Alvarez as WM/a

--------------------------DLF/s Diouf-Zarate-Crouch ----------------------------------------

injured: Shaqiri, Shawocross and more

Counter, Fluid,

The Future is bright, but atm its hard. I Also dont like balanta as CB couse he is too small.

Many Players are unterperforming and my Strikers cant score... Crouch is demanting that he want to play, but he is so bad when he plays, lose so many possession, dont score...

What do you mean, should i give them just more time? Change the System?

I sell Arnautovic for 15mio. I will buy another DLF striker i guess.

Where can i slot diouf? He cant score goals... Even Zarate plays better, but he is so small.

Any thoughts?

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I think the formation is likely to cause you more issues, you have 3 midfielders with attacking roles & a roaming playmaker. It looks to me when you're being countered you could well be in a situation where you're primarily relying on Romero/Cubas, Wollscheid and Balanta to stop attacks with Madlung just behind to try and pick up anyone making runs behind.

There's the very real chance, particularly if you've had the ball for a while to build an attack that the midfield 4 & Mammana/Johnson are completely out of the equation when it comes to defending.

Possibly change your right back to a wing back attack and put Walters/Arnautovic as a WM on support (playing narrower so there is plenty of room for the RB to go on the overlap), putting Alvarez as a BBM midfielder so he gets forward and comes back as and when you need it, without saturating midfield with too many playmakers and put your left midfielder as a Winger instead of Wide midfield.

It should mean your team attacks more in a layered approach and not so much as an attacking wall of players.

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Tyon-

I signed Diouf for Newcastle in the second season, he's my backup striker and plays as a CF-A where he's scored 10 goals in 10(10) games.

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Finished up the pre-season with some more business in the transfer market:

OUT:

- Peter Crouch (£350k), Peter Odemwingie (£500k) and Glenn Whelan (£1.8 million) - All fringe and not getting close to starting anytime soon. Got offers and pulled the trigger.

- Mame Diouf (£13 million) - The main area i was looking to strengthen, even before i got the game and knew the quality of the strikers in the game, was up top. Didn't really like the look of any of the players to lead the line. I mainly went with Joselu up top in pre-season, so decided to sell Diouf to raise some cash. In the end it took A LOT of to'ing and fro'ing with Spurs to get to £13 million, but we got there in the end.

IN:

- Charlie Austin (£9 million) - The man i really wanted from the beginning to lead the line for me. Scores goals at all levels and he's proven quality. Considering he was worth £8.5 million, i was amazed they settled quickly for £9 million. Hoping he's the man to bang the goals in for me.

- Ashley Cole (£275k) - Told me in no uncertain terms he was not interested in coming to me at the beginning of the window. It was only when told a few weeks down the line by a scout that he was worth a look did i go back. £275k accepted again and this time he would let me offer a contract. Again, took a bit of hard balling but we got there in the end. Will be a solid left back for a season or two i'm hoping, with a good bit of experience.

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Just getting to end of August now and pretty happy with how the team has got together. I made a tactic to try and be hard to beat aswell as having that skill up top. Playing with a 4-1-2-2-1 formation. 2 wide players. Played 3 & drawn all 3 which who was Everton, Villa & Swansea. Got Fulham away in the capital one cup and just beat them 2-0 Joselu getting them.

Players in:

Jose Enrique £2.5m

Bruno Zucilini £2.5m

Kristoffer Ajer £1

Players out:

Stephen Ireland £4.5m

Peter Odemwingie £500k

First x1:

Butland

Johnson

Shawcross

Wollschield

Enrique

Zuculini

Van Ginkle

Whelan

Shaqiri

Arnautovic

Joselu

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Ive just updated when i laat played. not played for couple of days as ive been on my Burton Albion save. so just updated today where i was. Give Burton Albion ago. I did a Team Discussion on here.

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After the first couple of games of the season i decided the tactics needed a change as it wasn't quite working. Once i had decided on a new formation it become clear i needed a quality CM, and with that Sven Bender popped up on the transfer list. After selling some deadwood i managed to raise £3 million, which i used to pay an initial up front fee (including agent fees) with another £5 million over 48 months. He has been a quality signing, absolute top draw going both ways playing alongside Van Ginkel.

Only about 10 games into the season at the moment (playing time has been stupidly limited at the moment) and solidly mid table. Lost to the big boys, Arsenal, Liverpool, United and Chelsea, but all been quite tight games (except Chelsea where we fell apart to lose 7-2) but have picked up good wins against teams like Watford, Southampton and Newcastle. Still in the Capital One Cup too but have Arsenal away in the last 16 so not holding my breathe.

Had to alter my tactics slightly though by taking off the get stuck in instruction, as i've already had 4 players pick up 5 yellow card bans, and have been fined 3 times for failing to control players after picking up 6, 6 and 7 yellow cards in matches. :lol:

Charlie Austin started slow but has 6 goals in his last 5 games now. Sven Bender has been absolutely fantastic in the middle with Van Ginkel, Balanta has slotted straight into the back fantastically and now Shawcross is back to partner him. Butland is a plain machine in goal.

Hoping to smash my way through the season as quickly as possible now but it's quite a hectic time of year, really limiting my FM time! :mad:

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The Rebuild

I started a Multiplayer Game with a Friend (Stoke - Southampton), still in the First Seaon and i decided to rebuild the Squad and bring in some young Names to challenge for the CL Places in the next 3 years.

----------------------------------------------- GK Butland --------------------------------------

---CWB/s Mammana/Johnson --- CB/d Wollscheid/Madlung --- BCB/c Shawcross--- FB/s Balanta----- Sub: Some young Talents

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----WPM/s Afellay/Walters ----- CM/d Gil Romero ----- RMP/s Lucas Romero ----- WM/a Shaqiri/Malcom ------ Sub: Cubas

------------------------------------------------AM/a Zarate/Lincoln----------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------DLF/a Rondon -------------------------------------------------------- Sub: Crouch

The others had to go, too inconsistend - Also Zarates attitude is miserable, i consider to sell him. Malcom and Loncoln hopefully come out big and i hope that the Romeros Rule the Midfield.

The Finance is good, many Talents at the club - the Old have to go or to Teach the younger Players.

So far so good - but this Season only Mid Table - Next Season i aim for International Football.

Does anyone have good/bad experience in a Consortium takeover?

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Just come to the end of January so thought i would give a January update, the next one will be end of season whenever i manager to get there! :lol:

We currently sit solidly mid table, 14th. We've played some good football and have made ourselves pretty hard to play against which pleases me, but just drawn too many games we should have seen out for wins.

On the last day of free transfer signings i brought in Yoann Gourcuff. Van Ginkel broke his ankle, Gourcuff could be slotted into the vacant role perfectly, only wanted 11k a week. No brainer. He's been very solid for me.

We've also done some January window business. Neven Subotic joins for £6.25 million. Another deal i couldn't say no too. Quality defender at a great price, still only 27. Him and Shawcross as my CB's with Alvarez Balanta as backup? Yes please.

Kieran Trippier joins on loan. I see him as the long term replacement for Glen Johnson. I couldn't afford to sign him outright but have a clause in the loan deal when i can buy for £4 million at the end. Which i absolutely will be unless anything outrageous happens during the loan.

Charlie Austin has 11 goals. Sven Bender has been our best player, 4 MOTM awards, most assists on the club and has also chipped in with 3 goals. You little ripper Sven. Currently sitting out a 4 match ban mind, straight red card for a 2 footed challenge, 2 match ban, up to 4 on review, god knows how bad this tackle was!!

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Sven Bender is an ideal midfielder for Stoke, an enormous upgrade over Whelan who is very functional in the same role despite his much lower level of ability in game. Surprised you're only 14th though, Austin seems to be scoring well, is he the only one bagging goals? Depending on how you play it that 4-1-4-1 should really be shifting into a 4-3-3 on the attack, whether by using the wide midfielders or central midfielders to push up in support.

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Hoping some of the Stoke players get a bit of an upgrade after January. Bojan and Arnautovic being the main ones. Shaqiri is already world class.

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My first season went much better than expected (I always seem to struggle with Stoke at the start for some reason).

As it happens a win against West Brom on the last day of the season helped me jump from 12th to 8th!! if it wasn't for injuries and a complete loss of form from February to April then I'm pretty sure I'd have managed to sneak in to Europe.

Didn't manage too well in the cups:

Capital One - lost to Ipswich in 4th round

FA Cup - lost 1-0 to BLOODY Burnley in 3rd Round

Brought just 3 players in, all were big sucesses:

Lucas Romero £3.5m

Erik Sviatchenko £2.1m

Pione Sisto £6m (thank god I did as Shaqiri did his cruciates early October)

Total: £11.6m

Sold:

Ireland £4.5m

Odemwingie £600k

Walters £2.3m

Adam £1.9m

Ngoy £1.2m

Crouch £750k

Total - £11.3m

Top goalscorer was Joselu with 18 - a superb return although I think he only scored 3 or 4 after Xmas!! Lucas Romero has improved no end since the start of the season, already attracting interest from the bigger clubs so I've got big hopes for him next year if I can keep hold of him.

Most Assists - Arnautovic with 13

Fans PoY was Ryan Shawcross, despite having the second worst defense in the league :mad: although somehow Marc Muniesa got the best ave. rating for the season of 7.23

I've already agreed to sign 3 players on a free for next season:

Adem Ljajic - a quality LW to put pressure on Shaqiri and Arnautovic

Tonny Trindade de Vihena - from Feyenoord, a favourite AMC from previous FM versions so I'm hoping he's just as good this time

Tom Carroll - good young CM as backup most probably

So I'm just planning 2 or 3 quality first team additions ahead of the next season a CM to replace van Ginkel, a Striker (not convinced by Joselu after his second half to the season) and a RB to replace Johnson (he was poor all season although I probably didn't exploit him as an attacking full back).

I'd like to challenge for Europe, although I'd settle for another 8th place finish if it meant I could get to the final of one of the cups!!

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There was an interesting post in here the other day which seems to have disappeared! No worries though.

I'm quite surprised you got Arnautovic in such a good assisting role, what did you end up using him as Bostock? I'm currently weighing up whether to let him go or not, although I'll probably end up restarting whenever the winter update comes about.

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Now that Imbula has signed I'll definitely be waiting for the winter update before starting a new game.

In regards to upgrades/changes etc Lewis I can only cite the standard response. I have looked at the club and there have been changes made.

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Yeah no worries, I weren't asking for specifics and in truth I know there would be getting upgrades. How could they not? Think I will be starting as them too when the update is here. I'm hoping Arnautovic get's improved and so does his teamwork and work rate. Watched a few games this season and he really does seem to be tracking his runners all the way back and putting in tackles which has impressed me.

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There was an interesting post in here the other day which seems to have disappeared! No worries though.

I'm quite surprised you got Arnautovic in such a good assisting role, what did you end up using him as Bostock? I'm currently weighing up whether to let him go or not, although I'll probably end up restarting whenever the winter update comes about.

I thought I saw an update from someone to...glad it wasn't just me!!

Predominately used on the left as a winger and my striker as a target man. Set tactics up to exploit the flanks and for the players to be more expressive. Definitely seemed to play better this way as it makes the most of his flair/dribbling & crossing.

Found it much easier on this year's FM to improve my team with higher profile players...got Giroud, Ante Coric and Ward-Prowse after selling Sisto to Monaco for £29m!!! Giroud was on the transfer list but he's been sensational for me!!

The other two although very young, will walk in to the starting line-up and could both be sold for a big profit in a few seasons if I need the money.

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There was an interesting post in here the other day which seems to have disappeared! No worries though.

It's my post. I couldn't load the game which I saved to cloud so I had to give it up for now. It's a pretty good save as I was around 6 points off the top and in 4th spot. I will start it again when the update is out.

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Well.

I play with Stoke - new Board.

I ask for a Stadium expansion - accepted.

We won the Title and the board ask me if we should buy the Britannia Stadium - i said yes.

Now both are running, expansion and buying stadium.

Im not from England but doesn´t own Stoke the Stadium allready? Or is it just rent?

Someone know the answer?

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Well.

I play with Stoke - new Board.

I ask for a Stadium expansion - accepted.

We won the Title and the board ask me if we should buy the Britannia Stadium - i said yes.

Now both are running, expansion and buying stadium.

Im not from England but doesn´t own Stoke the Stadium allready? Or is it just rent?

Someone know the answer?

They don't at present.

Around 2 seasons ago the ownership of the ground & training facilities was transferred from Stoke City FC the club to Stoke Holdings Limited who own the club and are a subsidiary of Bet365.

Currently the club pays £4m rent per season to Stoke City Holdings Ltd for the ground and training facilities each year. The club wouldn't ever really be likely to buy it back from the company that also owns them but this is the only way the game can replicate the situation as if they wished the Coates family/Bet365 could sell the ground & training ground off to a third party without an issue now.

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They don't at present.

Around 2 seasons ago the ownership of the ground & training facilities was transferred from Stoke City FC the club to Stoke Holdings Limited who own the club and are a subsidiary of Bet365.

Currently the club pays £4m rent per season to Stoke City Holdings Ltd for the ground and training facilities each year. The club wouldn't ever really be likely to buy it back from the company that also owns them but this is the only way the game can replicate the situation as if they wished the Coates family/Bet365 could sell the ground & training ground off to a third party without an issue now.

Ah okay thank you.

So its a good think that my new Board rent 40Mil. from the Bank to buy the Stadium i guess.

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Well the stadium has a good expansion capacity, and owning it will help because £4m a year isn't a lot for a premier league club, but it mounts up over the years!

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Beginning to update this for 16.3, have included the CA's for players in spoiler tags and adjusted the transfer & wage budget.

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Stoke, Season 3 - just purchased Geoffrey Kondogbia for 12mill thanks lads thats a steal cheers.

Finishing 4th in the league and winning the UEFA League

We've brought the ground with the new consortium and will be ground sharing at Hillsborough for the next season.

First Choice X1 (alternating with a 4-2-3-1 / 4-4-2 dependent on opposition tactic)

Gk : Jack BUTLAND

RB: Borja SAN EMETERIO

LB: Rico HENRY / Marco MUNIESA

CB: Ryan SHAWCROSS

CB: Jorge MERE / Niklas STARK

MR: Andrija ZIVKOVIC

MC: Geoffrey KONDOGBIA

MC: Thiago MAIA

ML: LINCOLN

FC: Simone ZAZA

FC: Diego ROLAN

Big assistance and competition for places with Callum Wilson, Charles Aranguiz, Andre Hansen, Nat Chalobah, and of course Shaquiri who has just returning from 11 months out with a broken leg part) and really hopeful that we'll kick on and challenge for the title this time round - and a special mention to Hakim Ziyech who I purchased for around 7m from FC Twente and offers great versatility, anywhere in the midfield and AM slots and 28 assists over 2 seasons.

It's been a really good save and enjoying it. Really excited about Kondogbia as never had him in my midfield before he scored a sublime goal in a pre-season friendly just now that was so hot I had to fan myself down with a tea towel.

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Started a Stoke game with the latest patch. Sold Diouf to Spurs for £23m (£10m upfront, £10m over 12 months, £3m when he plays 5 internationals).

Can anyone recommend a (young) central defender for £2-3m? First season.

Thank you.

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Quite a tough one to recommend for, not entirely sure what price you could get him at but Jeison Murillo would be a good defensive option as he brings more mobility to the back line. Personally I'd look more for a 1 year stop-gap defender and look to try and buy next summer as if you sit on that money from the Diouf transfer you'll have a much bigger budget then.

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Started a Stoke game with the latest patch. Sold Diouf to Spurs for £23m (£10m upfront, £10m over 12 months, £3m when he plays 5 internationals).

Can anyone recommend a (young) central defender for £2-3m? First season.

Thank you.

You'll struggle for that amount.. but why not try and loan in tiago llori or joe gomez or someone?

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Started a Stoke game with the latest patch. Sold Diouf to Spurs for £23m (£10m upfront, £10m over 12 months, £3m when he plays 5 internationals).

Can anyone recommend a (young) central defender for £2-3m? First season.

Thank you.

Reece Oxford from West Ham. He won't negotiate with you, probably, so have your HoYD or director negotiate the contract, then change it to give Oxford whatever amount he wants.

He's so, so good.

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Hey guys. I'm not a Stoke supporter, but after quite easily winning all available trophies consistantly with my beloved Spurs I wanted a new challenge. And I thought Stoke was a good team to have a go at. It proved quite the test too. Please note I'm playing on patch 16.3 with the winter updated transfers, so I have Imbula in my midfield. Which obviously proved very useful.

Before the season started I shifted out players I didn't envisage getting much game time. The list here is as follows :-

Ireland to Norwich for 2m

Odemwingie to Stade De Reims for 450k

Andy Wilkinson contract terminated

Jonathan Walters to Burnley for 1.1m

Crouch to Guingamp for free

I had an offer from Palace for Muniesa for 5m who I let go. Spurs also bid 17.75m for Diouf who departed. Arnautovic also forced a transfer to Spurs for 8m. So I generated 35m(ish) on transfer funds. However it obviously left me light on players.

I loaned in Lingaard from Man Utd, Correa from Atletico Madrid and bought two young central defenders in Balanta 6m plus Mammana 5m, both from River Plate. I've had these two on previous games with Spurs and Everton and they always developed very well.

Despite winning all my friendlies, I really struggled at the start of the season. With a solitary point from the opening 3 games. And that was a 0-0 draw at home to West Ham on the opening day. Losing 3-2 at Bournemouth and 4-2 at home to Watford gave me some concerns. I knew this was going to be difficult, but not this difficult.

A 4-1 away win at Southampton followed, but that became our only victory until the 31st October. We were bottom of the table. However, by this I knew what my first choice 11 was and the tactics had finally sunk in with the team. We went 12 games unbeaten and were mid table come new year. We did the double over my beloved Spurs, whilst also beating Liverpool 1-0 at the Brittania and taking a point from both Chelsea and Man City.

In the January window we needed to recruit a striker as our main guy Joselu got injured for 3 months. So in came Bony on a loan deal from City. I also noticed Weigl on the transfer list at Dortmund. For 10.25m he was a Stoke player. And with him and Imbula in the middle, we always seemed to control the games. I also picked up Jorge Mere from Sporting for 1.2m, Oviedo from Everton for 2.5m, Duelund from Midtjylland for 1m, Timo Horn from Koln for 6.5m and took a chance on an Argentinian left back called Emmanuel Mas for 2.8m from San Lorenzo.

I invested in these guys because some of the squad players wanted to leave and given their ages, I allowed them to move on. Bardsley went to Norwich for 250k, Charlie Adam went to Troyes for 750k, Geoff Cameron went to Porto for 2.5m. Liverpool offered 6m for Pieters so I let him go, while Lyon offered 2.5m for Wollschied who also went.

We lost on new years day, getting spanked 4-1 at West Ham, but after that we only lost 2 more league games and finished a comfortable 7th place. Above Arsenal, who sacked Wenger and replaced him with Benitez.

Highlights from the second half of the season was a 1-0 home win over Man Utd who went on to become champions and a 2-1 home win over Arsenal.

Our cup runs were quite disappointing. Losing 2-1 away at Southampton in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and a 1-0 away defeat to QPR in the 3rd round of the Capital One Cup.

Shaqiri was our best player for the season by far. He had the most goals, assists and the highest average rating. It was no surprise the bigger clubs came knocking. Chelsea offered 30m, I asked for 40m they accepted it. However Man City offered 35m, so I asked for 50m. He went to City and I was buzzing with the money I could reinvest in the squad. Jack Butland also demanded a transfer, moving on to Man Utd for 20m. Marc Wilson also left for Norwich for 4.8m, Glen Johnson to West Brom for 1.4m and Oviedo (who was poor) went to Newcastle for 1.8m. Steve Sidwell was released on a free.

So with 83m generated I went on a spending spree..................

Andre Dozzell from Ipswich for 2.5m

Charlie Austin from Southampton for 4m

Jeff Hendrick from Derby for 4.4m

Lewis Cook from Leeds for 9.5m

Harry Maguire from Hull for 5.75m

Jhon Arango from Deportivo Estudiantil for 5k

Richairo Zivkovic from Ajax for 3.9m

Nouri, Nunnely and Cerny also from Ajax for combined fee of 17.5m

Pione Sisto from Midtyjlland for 5m

Iver Fossum from Hannover for 6.25m

Julian Brandt from Leverkusen for 15.25m

Victor Valdes free from Man Utd

I'm happy to have what I consider a young, fit and quick team to suit my tactics. I'll be disappointed if we don't qualify for the Euro Cup this season.

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