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Managing in Russia

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I didn't want to make a super-specific topic, but I'm not sure this deserves a thread of its own at all. Still, there's no thread for clubs that don't have their own specific topic, so I figured there may be a few others who have managed in Russia and can share, or others who may have questions about it.

Russia

I've enjoyed managing clubs in Russia for a few years now, mostly with Spartak Moscow and then Lokomotiv Moscow on the last couple of versions. Its a bit of a different challenge.

A big part of what makes it challenging is that while there are technically no foreign player restrictions, you must have a certain number of Russian players on the pitch at all times. I believe its 4 or 5 (don't have the game in front of me). The rule has become more restrictive too - Russian as a second nationality no longer counts. So you really have to ensure you have quality Russian players in the squad.

The Russian Premier League has a pretty decent reputation, so you can attract a pretty solid level of player. The bigger clubs have spent heavily over the past decade to land some high quality players from western Europe (Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, and even England) and South America. But you probably aren't going to be able to land top prospect type players, at least at first. So don't be shocked if the latest Brazilian wonderkid isn't wanting to join you for a cozy Russian winter. Much like reality, landing quality players from Western Europe means playing over the odds on salary. So don't be shocked if a player of middling quality for the ELP or La Liga demands 100k per week or more.

Worse, the money that Russian clubs were throwing around 5 years ago has dried up. You don't get 20m to start with at most Russian clubs. The Russian league doesn't exactly pay big money and attendances aren't that strong. There are plenty of new stadiums in Russia due to the coming World Cup, but filling them consistently can be a challenge. To be a rich club with plenty of money to throw around, you pretty much need to do well in Europe on a consistent basis.

In terms of Russian talent, the country tends to develop good but not really outstanding players. The average RPL starting-caliber Russian player is probably closer to a Championship level player than an EPL one, on average. Truly standout Russian players are not that common and carry extra value because of the requirements for Russian players. The best Russian player is probably Denis Cheryshev, the Real Madrid winger who is on loan at Valencia. A target to bring back home. As for youngsters, there are some solid Russian prospects. But because of the youth developmental levels being a bit lower, you tend to see high-potential 19-22 year olds who are a bit below starting-caliber for the first team, rather than 17 and 18 year olds in England, Germany, Spain, etc. The slower development means they are a bit less likely to reach their top potential.

Lokomotiv Moscow

Spartak Moscow used to be my Russian club of choice, due to their interesting history. But I randomly tried out Lokomotiv a couple years ago and prefer them now. A top level club but below the likes of Zenit and CSKA. Full disclosure: I wasn't going to use Loko on the newest data update. In the winter window, they sold their best player, Oumar Niasse, to Everton for 16m Euros. Their finances weren't adjusted for that, and the one player they brought in - Henty - was also missed. So I edited to move Henty (with a slight bump) and upped the finances a bit. So instead of 1m to spend at the start, there is about 4.5m Euros.

Lokomotiv are interesting as they don't have real overt weaknesses but no real significant strengths, either. The best overall player is Croatian defender Vedran Corluka (an old FM favorite from back in the day). There is a solid core of Russian players - Shishin, Yanbayev, Tarasov, and Samedov - but a couple are pushing 30. The GK, Guilherme, is solid enough and takes Russian citizenship soon (he's recently been capped in actuality but not certain if that will happen in the game). Oddly, a couple of the key attacking players - Maicon and Manuel Fernandes - are solid technical players but very lacking in mental attributes. There is no out-and-out striker of any real quality. However, they have some good prospects, including a couple who are in the first team already.

The best young player at the club is Alexey Miranchuk, who is one of the best prospects in Russia. He got a reputation bump in the newest data update, but I don't think he was actually improved. That sucks a bit, because while his Squad Rep was a Hot Prospect before (and he was usually listed for loan) and now he's First Team, which means he can't be tutored. His Personality is only balanced, so it may limit how much he can grow. The doesn't seem to develop him into an above average RPL player in test sims.

The intent is try to land a few other good Russian prospects. Doesn't seem doable in the first window - they tend to be at clubs that are similar in reputation and also have rivalries. Hoping that some first year success might help out with it down the road. Rather than overpaying significantly for players from western Europe, I'm going to target younger players from South America and Africa, as well as Eastern Europe. Not the kind of "two years til they are world class, every game" prospects, but ones who will (or should) develop into really solid players and will still have good value to sell on later. I think that trying to do well in both Europe and Russia will need a squad of some depth will be required.

Tactically, I don't think there is any set "right" direction to go. The squad doesn't seem ideally suited to any particular approach. They overall technical ability doesn't make possession or attacking ideal. The work rate and physicality doesn't make pressing or defensive ideal either. So my intent is to not lock into a specific style, but use one base with a couple of different approaches as the game requires. Probably a 4-1-4-1 as the base formation.

Questions

The main point of all of this....Anyone managed in Russia on FM16 and willing to share your experiences? What club, how did you do, how did you build, and what did you manage to acccomplish? Were you able to elevate Russia as a whole? Did some good Russian regens come through?

Also open to player suggestions. Mostly going to target South America (all of it, not just Brazil and Argentina), Eastern Europe, Scandinavia (hit or miss if they'll come), and Africa (same), as well as much Russian talent as possible. Not looking for the well-known obviously names - Zivkovic, Bentacur, Lincoln - but some more obscure ones would be cool. Especially if they aren't so much prospects as relatively young but developed players who aren't going to cost an arm load. Would love to land a rotational DC, for example. The only "locked in" player is Miranchuk. Every other position is open, to some extent. Prefer rounded, hard-working types moreso than one-dimensional attacking talent. Also want to spread the money around, so relatively inexpensive is probably better than a 10m or 15m player. But open to all suggestions :-)

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I haven't played in Russia on this version of FM, but on FM13 I had a really enjoyable save as Anzhi/Anji.... Played 5 seasons with them and had a successful team based on an entire back 4 and goalkeeper that were russian. Solid russian backline! Best part of the save was the great rivalry I had with St Petersburg... I still fondly remember one of the Russian Cup finals I had against them. It was one of the best games I've ever seen on FM.... and I lost! Was still my most enjoyable game though.

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Very nice thread. I would love to see some more discussion on managing in Russia. I myself started my first ever save in Russia in fm 16 with Dinamo Moscow and is so far my most fun fm-save ever and also the longest running. I have so far got to May 2021.

Dinamo Moscow is a club which is in a very bad financial position in the start of the game but they do have a big sponsorship deal which will make the economy recover. Though after three season the sponsorship deal runs out and my new sponsorship deal was about 1/10th of the starting one. So i had to sell my best player to make sure finances was good.

So far i have now won the Russian league three times, the supercup three times and got to semifinals in CL last year which was a very big surprise. Most years I finish 3rd in my CL group and play Europa League in which I have never got past the first knockout stage.

Some of the best Russian players on my save include Alexey Miranchuk, Vyacheslav Karavaev and Mogamed Ozdoev. Also three players which start at Dinamo Moscow that I have developed have turned into very good players. They are Roman Zobnin, Aleksander Tashaev and Vyacheslav Grulev. They are all young at the start of the game and will need nurturing to turn into good players. Luckily Dinamo have very good training and youth facilities so it's possible to concentrate on youth. Though the facilities are not as good as CSKA Moscow and Spartak Moscow. I had to focus on youth at the start because of Dinamos poor economy. This payed off really well since I can sell my good regens for a lot of money but also even average Russian regens can be sold for nice prices to other Russian clubs. I have also had very good success at finding regens in Belarus.

I will just post my transfers so far so people may get some inspiration for transfer targets to bring to Russia. The prices are in Danish Crowns where 10 is roughly equivalent to 1 pound so just divide the numbers by 10 and you get the price in pounds.

http://imgur.com/a/Nhalj

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Anji were a fun sugar daddy club a few versions ago. Think their finances are a mess now, though.

Its 5 Russian players, so a max of 6 foreign players in the starting 11 at all times.

Ran a test sim of a couple years this weekend. Looks like all the bigger clubs in Russia end with really solid finiances, despite the league paying small purses and the crowds not being huge. Spartak, Lokomotiv, and Dinamo were all getting transfer funds of around 15-25m.

Ah Dinamo.... appreciate the response, Rasnoldo. Dinamo is a club I've never run, but the combination of Lev Yashin and the new stadium made them interesting. A podcast I listen to about Russian football was recently talking about their season and about how their financial situation has caused them to have a really young squad of promising players. I had eyed them in FM but their financial situation scared me away. Looked again based on your post and the potential is impressive. The Lokomotiv game isn't quite clicking for me the way the club has in the past - I think its having edited, even if its valid and justified.

Thinking I will give Dinamo a try. They look like they would also fit the tactical approach I was intending to use with Loko. The expectations aren't that high so I can target finishing in a Europa League spot while giving significant time to those young players in the first team already and on the cusp of it.

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Yeah Dinamo has a very young squad at the start but a lot of the yougsters are immensly talented so you will profit after a few seasons. Just watch out for injuries since the squad is also very thin and at the start of the game quite a few of Dinamos players are injured. Alexey Ionov has been golden for me since the start of the game. And I would advise you to find another striker than Pogrebnyak since he is old and i found him to be quite bad. I played a 4-1-2-2-1 in the first season because of the abundance of good central midfielders and lack of strikers. Second season I switched to a 4-4-2 since that is my preferred formation.

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I hate to keep harping on it, but Russia got overlooked pretty hard on the winter patch data update. I know late-window transfers can cut it close to the deadline, but I was under the impression that the data update was later this year to accommodate the late Russian and Chinese transfer deadlines. Dinamo had three players leave (two to Zenit, one on loan) and brought 4 players in. 2 of the transfers in were missed and I'm not sure on the third (don't have the game in front me). Sebastian Holman (Swedish DC) and Fatos Bećiraj (Montenegrin striker) were definitely not included. Worse, Kokorin left for 8m and Zhirkov for something like 3m. The two additions that were missed cost about 1m. Drahun is included but was a free. But it doesn't look the finances were adjusted to accommodate the incoming money, which is the same issue with Lokomotiv and the sale of Niasse.

So I did edit to transfer the two players. I left the finances alone, because I didn't want that same feeling I had after adjusting Lokomotiv. Berciraj isn't a great striker but hopefully he will be more effective than Pogrebnyak. Looking over the squad, I see what you mean about depth. And some of the fringe players are not of real quality at all. There are a few young players I will probably target, including a 21 year old Ukrainian CM Gvila who is capable of starting right away

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Congrantulations on finishing 2nd in your first season! That is really good with Dinamos squad. I didn't even qualify for Europa League in my first season.

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Managed to keep most of the squad together in my 2nd season, though lost Hubocan to Everton for £3m and Denisov to Krasnodar.

With the money I got in Yusopov from Zenit for £1.1m, Lystsov from Benfica for £1m, Andre Martins from SPorting on a free and Brayan Perea from Lazio for £5.5m

As well as a few regens from Africa.

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Anji were a fun sugar daddy club a few versions ago. Think their finances are a mess now, though.

Its 5 Russian players, so a max of 6 foreign players in the starting 11 at all times.

Ran a test sim of a couple years this weekend. Looks like all the bigger clubs in Russia end with really solid finiances, despite the league paying small purses and the crowds not being huge. Spartak, Lokomotiv, and Dinamo were all getting transfer funds of around 15-25m.

Ah Dinamo.... appreciate the response, Rasnoldo. Dinamo is a club I've never run, but the combination of Lev Yashin and the new stadium made them interesting. A podcast I listen to about Russian football was recently talking about their season and about how their financial situation has caused them to have a really young squad of promising players. I had eyed them in FM but their financial situation scared me away. Looked again based on your post and the potential is impressive. The Lokomotiv game isn't quite clicking for me the way the club has in the past - I think its having edited, even if its valid and justified.

Thinking I will give Dinamo a try. They look like they would also fit the tactical approach I was intending to use with Loko. The expectations aren't that high so I can target finishing in a Europa League spot while giving significant time to those young players in the first team already and on the cusp of it.

Yep, Anji were a lot of fun then! I really liked the starting squad, with E'to, Tardelli, Carcela, Dzsudzsák, Boussoufa and Jucilei all in there. Obviously you also had the money to spend too. My only save where I have started with a sugar-daddy or even a well-financed club.

I'm pretty sure the club has massively changed since then, the owner has since changed his stance on bankrolling the club, saying that they need to become more self-sustaining.

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So started up with Dinamo. Made it through the pre-season and the first game of the season. I didn't buy anyone but signed a few players on free transfers. Mostly young depth players, but Gvila could be a regular at CM.

Already tempted to start over lol. Made two mistakes. One was realizing that another Dinamo transfer was missed - Andrey Yeshchenko on loan from Anji. I had already started, so I just used the in-game editor to move him to my club (he's out of contract in 2016 so it would work out about the same anyway). But yeah, that feels cheap and it put me way over the wage budget. So I may edit that properly and start again. The second issue was having three different tactics, which combined with the young players being signed, means that none of the tactics are anywhere near fluid. That's a little bit problematic with the season starting.

Finishing second is really good work, Drew. Its not a great squad and not very deep. But with the amount of youth, they should be developing very nicely for the future. Playing Champions should help the finances, though making it deep will be very tough.

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Had bit of a reality check in my second season, CSKA and Zenit pulled they're fingers out and stormed the league, so Europa League for me next season.

Transfers wise a few backup players left and in came Yusopov from Zenit for £1.1m, Martins from Sporting on a free, Brayan Perea from Lazio for £5m, and a few regens.

Next year will be a hard one with both Zenit and CSKA strengthening.

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Interesting thread this, as on my journeyman save after managing for the first few seasons in Sweden I have ended up at Dinamo Moscow, sitting 8th in the league at the winter break but only 6 points off 3rd. However we're £5m in the red and I have no transfer budget and not much in the way of wages. Offloading some dross for a little bit of money might help.

Seem to have a fairly decent youth setup though.

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3rd Season, we finally done it, a 1-0 home win against Zenit secured our first title, we played well throughout the season.

Transfer wise, deadwood was shipped out, Perea was sold to Villarreal for £5m, our star left back was sold to Porto for £9.5m and our regen winger was sold to Barcelona for £6.25m

In came more African regens and some solid Russians to provide back up to the squad.

My theme of buying young African regens is starting to pay dividends as more are being sold in Season 4, whilst more are coming in and being scouted.

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IRL Dinamo relegated from Premier League today, should be a good challenge for FM17.

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Into season 4, and top of the league, have spent £8.7m on players so far mostly African regens with a few Russian players.

Out wise, £25m came in, with Martins off to France, my Algerian AM to Barcelona for £4.6m, my CB to Hoffenheim for £2.9m, and lB to RB Leipzig for £1.7m; also lost my Algerian RB to Barcelona for £2.1m rising to £7.5m, Also lost my Ghanaian Target man to Barcelona for £6.5m, bit of a weird one that, he only scored 7 goals in 21 games so why they paid so much I don't know.

But on the plus side, this whole buying African regens and selling them for profit is working really well for me, just need to make sure I have enough Russian playesr as well.

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Anji were a fun sugar daddy club a few versions ago. Think their finances are a mess now, though.

Its 5 Russian players, so a max of 6 foreign players in the starting 11 at all times.

Ran a test sim of a couple years this weekend. Looks like all the bigger clubs in Russia end with really solid finiances, despite the league paying small purses and the crowds not being huge. Spartak, Lokomotiv, and Dinamo were all getting transfer funds of around 15-25m.

Ah Dinamo.... appreciate the response, Rasnoldo. Dinamo is a club I've never run, but the combination of Lev Yashin and the new stadium made them interesting. A podcast I listen to about Russian football was recently talking about their season and about how their financial situation has caused them to have a really young squad of promising players. I had eyed them in FM but their financial situation scared me away. Looked again based on your post and the potential is impressive. The Lokomotiv game isn't quite clicking for me the way the club has in the past - I think its having edited, even if its valid and justified.

Thinking I will give Dinamo a try. They look like they would also fit the tactical approach I was intending to use with Loko. The expectations aren't that high so I can target finishing in a Europa League spot while giving significant time to those young players in the first team already and on the cusp of it.

What podcast is this?

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Rasnoldo is correct. Just found it fairly recently but its a good way to keep up with the league if watching matches isn't really an option.

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So bump because I'm trying to get in one more FM16 game and thinking its gonna be another swing at Lokomotov Moscow. I've wasted a bunch of time trying to decide between Lokomotiv, Dinamo Moscow, and Vitesse Arnheim in the Netherlands (another favorite FM club). I'm using pr0's data update, so transfers are relatively up to date. Because it has the promotions and relegations, Dinamo Moscow is in the FNL, plus they sold Zobnin, one of the most promising center mids in Russia. They might be a fun game for FM17 but not really intrigued to try them again. Lokomotiv have done almost no transfer business this summer, in large part because of front office issues, but they have a new chairman and Director of Football (which I added in with some edits of my own). I did also give Loko a bit more money because they didn't get their budget adjusted on the winter update despite selling Niasse and having a profit of around 15m. One downside to using the updated data is that Loko aren't in the Europa League for the new season so that's some potential significant income lost.

So I have a bit of money to play with but I'm not really sure what to target. A lot of areas could be improved.... but aren't necessarily weaknesses, and buying a clearly better player would be fairly expensive. Striker is the biggest problem, as Henty, Skuletic, and Maicon aren't really strong enough. I'll scout around eastern Europe, Scandinavia and South America (particularly Argentina) to try to find a well-rounded forward who will be relatively inexpensive. Another central defender would also be a nice addition.

The other big decision I have to make is regarding Manuel Fernandes. He's the best overall attacking player and one of the best players in the squad, but while he's strong in technical skills, he's lacking in mental attributes. He's also almost 30 years old so he won't improve. My intent is to create 3 variations of the 4-1-4-1 DM formation - one with a high press, one for a patient possession game, and one for a conservative counter-attacking approach. The two CMs need to be hard-working and versatile, and Fernandes isn't. He's purely one-dimensional attacking. I tried to sell him on a test and could only get 3m for him, so not exactly significant money. He is on high wages. So I've been mulling whether to get rid of him, knowing that I can't replace him with anyone of the same attacking qualities but that others will be better overall in a tactical fit sense. Plus it ensures I can feature Miranchuk more heavily, who is one of the finest young Russian players and needs to be a centerpiece of the squad. I was leaning toward no, but typing it out, it seems to make more sense to sell, even if the 3m isn't huge money.

Hope to get the game rolling and have some actual updates soon, rather than just planning.

 

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Update time.

Scored the double with Lokomotiv Moscow. Exceeded expectations, but only by a bit. Used a 4-1-4-1 DM variation of the 4-4-2 Ozil_to_the_Arsenal posted about and it was highly effective. Fun football to watch, too. Glad I didn't sell Fernandes - he averaged like 8.5 over the season, doubled in value, and won the RPL Player of the Year. My wingers were awesome. My defenders did fantastic. My one "big" signing was Colombian striker Harold Preciado, who scored 15 goals and likely would have led the league but he was injured a bit and I gave too many starts to my backups to keep them happy.

After finishing the season, I gave in to the urge to try out a new save with FK Ural for some reason (I love the orange) but can't see me going further with it. So I'm debating whether I want to go back to the Loko save or start over. The urge to start over is mainly because I bloated the squad a bit with some free signings and some regens from Africa. The free signings aren't the biggest issue, but the regens are a bit more. They have good potential according to my scouts, but giving them the match time they need to develop would mean taking match time away from other youngsters... who don't have the same long-term potential but being Russian, mean I have a big need for them to develop. There are also a ton of Loko transfer rumors and they may add another player or two, so its tempting to start over after the window closes for that reasons as well.

If I do keep going with this save, I was given a 15m initial transfer budget, but its hard to pick spots where I really need to add players. I'm tempted to sell a few key players on. Notably Fernandes (who is 30) and Maicon (who did really well but is a very attacking winger). I could upgrade at a lot of other positions, especially considering I will be playing in the Champions League next season, but most of the players that would be clear upgrades are not Russian, which creates further problems. Especially if I'm upgrading from a Russian player to a non-Russian. Another complication is that I promised central defender Vedran Corluka a new contract during the season, but he wants 140k per week and I max out around 85k. Corluka is one of the better players in Russia so that is a definite problem.

I'll likely keep moving thru the summer with this save and maybe look to rebuild the squad a bit, then see what the real transfer window holds over the next few days.

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Okay so kept going with the Loko game and made it a good chunk of the way through the summer. The closed season is a bit odd in Russia because the new season start so early, making the pre-season overlap almost entirely with the European Championships. Russia did pretty well there - quarter finals, which kept several of my key players away for most of the pre-season. And although he didn't play, Manuel Fernandes was with Portugal, who made it as far. Italy won the Euros.

Went into the transfer window unsure how to tackle it. Had 15m to spend but didn't have clear and obvious needs. Lots of areas where I could certainly find a better player, to at least some degree, but at what cost? And keeping in mind that I can't load up too heavily on non-Russian players, as that creates selection problems in league matches. The squad is strong enough to compete in the Russia Premier League but probably not strong enough for Champions League, though that depends on the group we draw into. So to target player who are RPL standard or go big for CL caliber players (most of whom will be non-Russian). In June I saw Dortmund had Sven Bender transfer listed for just 1.5 and I was heavily tempted to jump on that, as he would be an upgrade from Dmitry Tarasov. I went back later but they had upped the asking price to 6 million so unless they drop it again, that isn't happening. I kinda defaulted to trying to build a Russian core.

-brought in Anton Mitryushkin and Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov. Both are Russian. Mitryushkin is a 20 year old keeper that Spartak sold to Sion in Switzerland and he's one of the most promising Russian keepers, so he becomes my backup/developmental keeper. Khodzhaniyazov is a decent center back that left Zenit for Danish club AGF in 2015. Don't know that he'll ever be an elite defender but he's young, Russian, versatile, and has some room to grow. Both cost something like $3.5m total together.

-got Corluka to resign so one problem solved. Had to move all of my 15m transfer kitty into wages so I could offer him 105k per week, which he took after a bit of negotiating. Then I moved the transfer money back.

-sold Maicon for 7m straight-up. He was my starting left winger for most of the season and performed really well, but rotated with Kasaev later in the year. Fairly attacking player, and not a truly great one, while I wanted a more rounded player who could help out defensively. Also sold Henty for 2m - he was third choice striker and an emergency left winger.

-can't decide if I should do something with Fernandes. Was tempted to see if I could get 15m for him and get a younger, more rounded player in. But when I started looking, I realized it wasn't going to be easy to find a well rounded CM with the attacking attributes I wanted. Guys with key attributes like First Touch, Passing, and Technique in the 14-15 range but few in the 16-17 range that would put them on equal stead to Fernandes in the attacking front. I looked at some promising CMs who would likely develop to that level pretty quickly but they were too expensive. And if I'm going to buy potential, I would really just badding to what I already have - Miranchuk is a pretty well rounded player and if he can improve a few attacking attributes, would be great at the DLP role (he already does well). And I have Jhon Arango, a promising 18 year old Colombian CM. Factor in that Fernandes is now one of the club's favored personnel, I figure I will stick with what I have and try to develop those two.

-after selling off my starting left winger, I bought Aleksandr Tashaev from Dinamo Moscow for about 5m. Backup and eventual starter. Then Zenit comes in with several bids for Alan Kasaev, who is a solid player and versatile, but 30 years old. I rebuff a couple of bids, then counter with 20m up front, 10m structured. They bite. Another conundrum. Kasaev is Russian, versatile, and pretty solid for RPL. He did really well for me and scored a surprising number of goals but that's more the tactic than the player. So for that much, definitely. I jumped all over it. Selling him upset Samedov, which sucked, but selling a rotational player who is 30 years old and likely to decline for 30m in Russia is simply good business. Especially considering it means that one of our primary rivals for the league can't use that money to get a better player than Kasaev. He has started one of two league matches for them so far - graded 6.9 and subbed. Averaged like 8.5 for me over the season lol

-flush with money I didn't expect, I decided to stay Russian. I saw Spartak Moscow had lodged a bid to land Elmir Nabiulin, one of the most promising Russian leftbacks. Rubin demanded 15m but he's a pretty solid player already and if his technical skills can develop, I'll end up with a CL caliber leftback who is Russian. My defense seems sound. I have two starting central defenders (Corluka and Pejcinovic), a couple solid backups, and a couple developmental players (one of whom may need to get loaned out). I sold my only other left back (Denisov), but I have three right backs (two are first team status) and two of them can play left. That would have left me in pretty good shape.... but then I saw River Plate had Emmanul Mammana transfer listed. I offered 5m structured and they took it. So now I'm a bit overloaded in defensive players.  

The summer is really only half over. Played 3 competitive matches so far - a 1-0 win over Zenit in the Super Cup, a 3-1 win in the league and a wild 6-3 win. Fernandes got 4 goals and a 10 rating in the last one so yeah, he's worth keeping around. Might still sell Delvin N'Dinga - good versatile player but not outstanding, and I think giving him minutes will limit some younger players.

I don't feel like I really improved the squad in a direct sense. I added potential and, importantly, mostly Russian potential. If I can keep the core together and if they develop, I think it can be a dominant side in a few seasons. I can't see the club doing all that well in the Champions League - probably a realistic goal to get third place unless its a really easy group.

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Not certain if anyone is reading, but oh well. Should post some images but mostly trying to get as far with the game as I can before an upcoming holiday. And lazy.

Made it to the start of 2018. Running rampant in the league - 17 straight wins. Preciado has 14 goals in 12 appearances this season. He's a monster. The best aspect of the first half of the league season has been Zenit, who sit at 14th at the break and were in 15th until recently. The crazy thing is that they haven't even sold most of their major stars - just Crisitco.

I made a couple more transfers in the summer. Sold Delvin N'Dinga for a couple million and bought Artur Yusupov for like 875K from Zenit. He was transfer listed. N'Dinga was fine and is probably a better player but Yusupov is Russian and gives similar CM/DM versatility. Wasn't going to add anyone else but then a scout spotted a Turkish winger named Olcay Sahan who was transfer listed at Besiktas. 2m and I had a solid winger with great personality and PPMs. He will rotate with Tashaev at left wing, give me more experience for the Champions League and help out as a tutor. As a whole, I'm pretty chuffed with the transfers made. The only selection headache now is making sure everyone gets enough match time to stay happy, rather than struggling to meet the Russian player requirements. Several of the younger players are now playing for the Russian national team, so that's cool.

Giving the younger players the time they need to develop is the biggest struggle at this point. I have an 18 year old Russian striker Artem Galadjan who has developed very well. He's on the fringe of the first team but he's scored 4 in 4 starts. he needs more matches, but Preciado is amazing and the backup Skuketic is asking for matches.

Best moment of the save was in the Champions League. My Group was Roma, Dortmund, and Plast, so I basically targeted 3rd place and the Europa League. Lost the first match away to Roma but it was tight - just 1-0. Then the shocker - a 4-0 home win over Dortmund. Killed them on the counter and I didn't even adjust the tactic. That was great fun. Won both matches against Plast and when Dortmund lost to Roma, I was in good position. Draw with Roma at home, and the final away match to Dormtund didn't matter - lost 1-0 to a questionable (apparently) penalty but went through on goal difference. Drew against Benfica in the first knockout round. Its a winnable tie but I won't cry if we go out. Considering I didn't focus on reinforcing the squad for this level of competition, I figure anything from this point on is just gravy.

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I had a save in the Russian League a few years ago (when Anzhi were a Sugar Daddy) and found a struggle to sign Russian players for reasonable prices and wages, I had to spend almost £20m on a half decent right back (I think). Anzhi were a challenge because I remember they started off with quite a lot of Foreigners (too many to place all at once) so you needed to find a way of off-loading them and signing Russian talent.

Reading through this thread I might have a go at a Russian save before FM17.

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The Russian rules definitely make you approach things a bit different. Depending on how far back that Anzhi save was, the rules are a bit more restrictive now. You need to have 5 Russian players on the pitch at all times and Russian as a second nationality doesn't count. It definitely means you need to target quality Russian players, which drives up their value. Not quite to the level in England, but there is definitely a premium.

The cost of solid Russian players varies dependent on situation. I got Tashaev for 5m from a rival club (unsettled him first), but had to cough up triple that for Nabiullin. Both are good enough for the RPL and already on the fringes of the national team. Not really paying massive wages for either, but the squad role they will accept is going to depend on what club they are. The young Russian players I got from outside of Russia were cheaper, but they were also less developed. It definitely helps to have depth players that are Russian rather than foreign.

One of the reasons I chose Loko is that they have some solid Russian players - not just veterans but younger players as well, who can be developed into a new generation of stars. The mistake I feel like i've made is adding a few too many non-Russian developmental players. All the prospects need match time but not all of them are getting it, and the non-Russians have an extra barrier.

Any thoughts on what club you would use?

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Dinamo Moscow relegated IRL? Wow, that gotta be the first time in their history when they relegate.

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I believe it is a first for them. From what I know, a lot of bad front office decisions that put the club in a bad spot. They were kept out of the Europa League last season because of financial issues, and lost their two top players. They ended up with a really young squad last year and it backfired.

They are running rampant in the FNL so they should be back next season.

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So probably the last update.... I hit the 2 season mark with the previous Lokomotiiv Moscow game and decided to start over. Mainly as they added several players at the transfer deadline. Igor Denisov and Boris Rotenburg from Dinamo (Denisov just on loan) and Russian striker Igor Portnyagin. Didn't buy Preciado this time, because of Portnyagin. Ran away with the title again, using the same 4-1-4-1 very fluid high press tactic (thanks Ozil!). ironically, the three additions didn't add that much. Denisov rotated at DM but was hurt for the second part of the season. Portnyagin started regularly, but it was Ezekiel Henty who did a lot of the scoring. I buffed him slightly (not major, an increase of about 8 or 10 CA) and he rarely started matches, but he scored 19 league goals. Super sub indeed. Promising young striker Artem Galadjan got matches and developed well. Highlight of the first season was getting 2 really solid prospects in the youth intake.... both goalkeepers. The older and better of the 2 immediately became my backup and got matches. High PA, decent starting skills, excellent personality... only drawback is his height (5'11"). Also found an Algerian regen CM who is excellent all around and also high PA... but 5'5".

So summer 2016 was busy, and while similar to the previous save, not identical. Signed Tashaev again, and had to pay about $12m for LB Nabiullin. Spartak Moscow transfer listed CM Roman Zobnin for just 225k so I jumped on that. He's versatile, 22, and has some potential, but I kinda regret it - that versatile skillset also means he doesn't stand out in any real way and he's old enough that I'm not sure he'll fulfill that potential. I sold N'Dinga after that, and sold Taras Burlak (who I bought in the first summer) to buy a similar Russian DC with a better personality. Sold Skuletic. Sent Denisov back to Dinamo. Then I saw some big clubs bidding for Andrei Ivan, a complete striker I've coveted in several saves but never landed. Offer a bit more and give him a contract as a Key Player. Land him. I was intending to go into the season with Portnyagin, Henty, and Galadjan, with the hopes that Gala would manage to develop significantly, but Ivan was too good to pass up. Then I saw a chance to land John Hou Saeter and I grabbed him - another one I kinda regret, but not overtly. Yanbayev had asked to leave, and I also sold Ignatyev. Chopped and changed the depth of the squad quite a bit, although all the key starters from the first season are still there.

I'm now halfway thru the second season. First half of it went much the same - running over the league. Zenit is struggling again, though not as bad as the previous save where they spent the entire season near the bottom of the table. My Champions League group was Sporting CP, Steaua, and Real Madrid. Once again, I'd be happy with third place and the Europa League. Wins over Steaua (expected) and Sporting (less expected) put me in a good spot. Then its Real Madrid at home. Decided to run out a normal lineup with my standard tactic, and just hoped I didn't get destroyed. Hit the Instant Result button. 3-0 Lokomotiv win. WTF? Watched the highlights. Was very different from the unexpected win over Dortmund in the previous save - they ran the match but we killed them on the counter. Against Real, it was actually quite even in terms of possession and shots. They just didn't create good scoring chances and we created several. Ivan scored a goal off a lovely quick passing sequence that was as lovely as anything I've managed on FM16. Posted a vid on Ozil's 4-4-2 Sacchi thread. Real thumped us 3-1 in the match in Madrid but managed to finish out the group in 2nd place. Drew Atletico in the first knockout round. Lovely.

So I made it through the winter break and some friendlies to build up match fitness. Hit the youth intake date.... and got crap. Can't get the future Akinfeev ever year. A coupe of in-game days away from the first Atletico leg. Not too positive about advancing further in the CL. Not actually sure I'll go further with the save. Enjoying it but it feels like I'm running over the same territory - because I am. The dynamic of managing in Russia is both fun and a bit constraining. The foreigner rules mean you need to focus on having good Russian players, hence why I targeted the promising Russian youths first. Right now, I have a few too many young players, especially in the CM area. I'm rotating a lot but younger players that need match time aren't getting as much. Some of them will/should develop into really strong players over time, but they need matches for that to happen. Usually a great regen will make me want to stick with a save, but even my amazing little keeper prospect isn't making me all that much more likely to keep going. He's been starting roughly every 2nd match - even though my #1 Guilherme is one of the better keepers in Russia - and would probably became my #1 by season 3, at 19 years of age.

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