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FM19 Athletic Club - Aupa!

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I started my game again once the new game was released. At the end of the January window in 18-19, I'm 2nd - 3 pts behind Real Madrid, but only 1pt ahead of Barca and Athletico Madrid. Celta Vigo are in 5th, then there's a bit of daylight, so we should feel confident of getting CL football.

Transfers-wise, well this was an interesting January. I staked everything on signing Merino and only his release fee of 25m would do. I accepted an offer for San Jose from China to finance the deal, but as soon as that deal went through, Dortmund paid Simon's release fee of 27m! Had I known I probably would've kept San Jose, but we're strong in defence, and he's ageing, so probably a good deal still.

We signed the Uruguayan Basque, De Arrascaeta, who can offer flexibility across the midfield.

Basically everyone came in for my players this window - I let Dani Garcia go as he'd been unsettled by Athletico Madrid, but I wasn't having any of it when they tried to pay under the odds, so I let FCP have him. I held off bids for Williams, Iturraspe, De Marcos and Susaeta - the latter had a whinge but he's probably off next Summer anyway.

 

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There's a smash-and-grab, and then there's this...their two shots were the goal and a 93rd minute punt. Given we're 10 points off the top, its safe to say we're not winning anything this season.

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4 minutes ago, Lewis007 said:

Is it worth doing a long term Athletic save on FMT19? I.e. will there be enough regens coming through?

The squad is good enough for a run at the CL spots. Hang onto your best players - which you should be able to - and ditch the crud when need to. Then sign Merino and a couple of other guys good enough to make your first team squad if they become available. You should get 3-4 minimum talented kids per intake, but of course you need 4-5 seasons for them to develop. But it's certainly a viable long term prospect. Most of us have had successful runs with Athletic Club in past games.

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So I've reached the winter break in my first season

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We started off brilliantly, and were unlucky not to win every game we didn't bar the Sevilla defeat, including absolutely dominating Barcelona. However, Aduriz hasn't scored since the Rayo Vallecano game, which is a problem for us (he even missed a penalty against Valladolid). This led me to change from our fluid counterattack 4141 to a version of one of my FM18 tactics for the Girona game to make us more potent going forward, and got a great response from the players. Real Madrid await after the break though, so will probably go back to the first tactic.

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Despite his drought Aduriz leads the scoring charts with only two less than he scored in all of 2017/18, and although the title has been out of reach for some time barring a spectacular collapse from Atletico, we're well in the mix for Europe. However, coinciding with the beginning of my 5 game winless streak in November was an election, and the new guy removed club favourites Jose Angel Iribar and Carlos Gurpegi and has stated his intention is to get rid of me - job security is listed as "precarious". So we'll see if I'm still in a job to face Real.

A few players have asked to leave - even when lowering his asking price to the £3.6m we paid for him no offers came in for Ander Capa and Mikel Rico has already turned down two transfers because he wants to go to Villarreal...who aren't interested in him. So although I've got a bid on the table for him I'm expecting him to hang around bringing down the dressing room atmosphere for the rest of the season before leaving on a free. May try to move on Cristian Ganea as well as he hasn't played, although Balenziaga's lower natural fitness combined with his age means he'd be better to leave. 

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So I finished the first season today and we finished 2nd! Atletico Madrid won the title (we had a sniff going into the last day but only if they lost - they didn't), but we finished above Real Madrid and Barca. We had a great intake too in the Spring, with 4-5 players with amazing potential. Wim Jonk doing an amazing job already :) 

This Summer will probably be a slow one on the transfers front, barring some of the overseas Basques or Odriozola being up for sale. So I'm concentrating on beefing up the coaching and scouting and getting rid of Berizzo's staff, most of whom had pretty underwhelming stats.

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Who have you guys used in goal? I've been going with Alex Remiro, and although he's listed as having 2 mistakes leading to a goal in 17 games, I'm happy with him. Tried to loan Unai Simon out (he's set at Hot Prospect squad status) and he kicked off making out I was forcing him out of the club, which is a first. Frustrating as I want him to develop and we're only in one competition now.

Not as frustrating as Real Madrid beating you 1-0 scoring after injuring Susaeta to get the ball, then also putting two guys out for 6 weeks in the course of the match though.

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2 hours ago, zlatanera said:

Who have you guys used in goal? I've been going with Alex Remiro, and although he's listed as having 2 mistakes leading to a goal in 17 games, I'm happy with him. Tried to loan Unai Simon out (he's set at Hot Prospect squad status) and he kicked off making out I was forcing him out of the club, which is a first. Frustrating as I want him to develop and we're only in one competition now.

Not as frustrating as Real Madrid beating you 1-0 scoring after injuring Susaeta to get the ball, then also putting two guys out for 6 weeks in the course of the match though.

I went with Remiro and have tried to rotate Simon here and there to give him games. Sold Herrerin on

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I'm really struggling to get anything out of this squad, I just don't know what to do with the players. Some weird ones. After all these years, I'm still struggling with tactic so much.

Right now: 4-2-3-1 wide

SK(s)

FB(a) - BPD(d) -BPD(d) - WB(s)
BBM - CM(d)
W(s) - AM(s) - AP(a)
PF(a)

Why Muniain as AP? Why Aritz as pressing forward? I have actually no idea and am just out of other ideas.

I play balanced with not a lot of TIs - play out of defence and work ball into box, counterpress and counter, higher line, higher engagement, more urgent.

It's just super bland football and nothing ever happens.

Edited by Time_Consumer
Sent to early

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28 minutes ago, bowieinspace said:

I went with Remiro and have tried to rotate Simon here and there to give him games. Sold Herrerin on

Ah right, yeah that's what I decided to do...only for Simon to come for me and ask for a move, I talked him down to loan...and the only bid was Villarreal on a rotation contract, which I had to accept unless I wanted him even more unhappy. So now I'm hoping for Sergio Asenjo to get his fifth ACL injury.

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2 hours ago, zlatanera said:

Who have you guys used in goal? I've been going with Alex Remiro, and although he's listed as having 2 mistakes leading to a goal in 17 games, I'm happy with him. Tried to loan Unai Simon out (he's set at Hot Prospect squad status) and he kicked off making out I was forcing him out of the club, which is a first. Frustrating as I want him to develop and we're only in one competition now.

Not as frustrating as Real Madrid beating you 1-0 scoring after injuring Susaeta to get the ball, then also putting two guys out for 6 weeks in the course of the match though.

Simon was the better GK in my save, but Dortmund activated his release fee (27m), so it's Remiro. If you can sign Ivan Martinez from Osasuna, you'll have a better keeper in 4-5 years. 

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17 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

Simon was the better GK in my save, but Dortmund activated his release fee (27m), so it's Remiro. If you can sign Ivan Martinez from Osasuna, you'll have a better keeper in 4-5 years. 

Yeah he seems to have higher potential, but given he's also two years younger I decided to try and max out Remiro whilst I still can. I've got Martinez on my shortlist but I won't move for him unless a non-Basque team does, that's the policy I've given myself.

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5 hours ago, zlatanera said:

Who have you guys used in goal? I've been going with Alex Remiro, and although he's listed as having 2 mistakes leading to a goal in 17 games, I'm happy with him. Tried to loan Unai Simon out (he's set at Hot Prospect squad status) and he kicked off making out I was forcing him out of the club, which is a first. Frustrating as I want him to develop and we're only in one competition now.

Not as frustrating as Real Madrid beating you 1-0 scoring after injuring Susaeta to get the ball, then also putting two guys out for 6 weeks in the course of the match though.

Ramiro for me. I send Simon to the B team and I used a U19 goalie as a backup for him while Herrerin is injured

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9 hours ago, Lewis007 said:

Is it worth doing a long term Athletic save on FMT19? I.e. will there be enough regens coming through?

It is well worth it. They'll be more than enough regens coming through whether its Touch or normal FM

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7 hours ago, Time_Consumer said:

I'm really struggling to get anything out of this squad, I just don't know what to do with the players. Some weird ones. After all these years, I'm still struggling with tactic so much.

Right now: 4-2-3-1 wide

SK(s)

FB(a) - BPD(d) -BPD(d) - WB(s)
BBM - CM(d)
W(s) - AM(s) - AP(a)
PF(a)

Why Muniain as AP? Why Aritz as pressing forward? I have actually no idea and am just out of other ideas.

I play balanced with not a lot of TIs - play out of defence and work ball into box, counterpress and counter, higher line, higher engagement, more urgent.

It's just super bland football and nothing ever happens.

Looks like you need to think about how your team is creating chances and what those situations will look like. 

Right now your team is trying to urgently win the ball back as high up the pitch as possible. Once the ball is won, the approach becomes very cautious due to work ball into box TI. That slows the tempo and lowers passing range...when your players have the ball, assuming you have won it back high as intended, they won’t want to take risks or play quick balls into the goal scorers. The opposition will just be able to hold a solid shape and make it extremely difficult for your players to create a decent opportunity. 

I’d say you need to think about space on the pitch and how you are planning to exploit that, and how you are going to create it

Edited by bowieinspace

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In December of season 2 now. In a very tight champions league group but I think I’m likely to finish 3rd as we are away at PSG on the final match day. We are on 7 points, with besiktas and Leipzig behind us on 6 and 5 respectively. If they draw on the final day we will go through provided we avoid a tonking from PSG, but a win for either will mean we will be in trouble. 

We have gotten off to a good start in the league, sitting at won 9, drawn 2, lost 1, but are somehow 5th with a game in hand. Hopefully a couple of teams who have shot out of the blocks will drop off. 

Have 50mil in the bank but no news on an improved transfer budget. I’d like Odriozola or Oyarzabal in January but neither looks likely at this stage. 

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So I'm at the same stage; Christmas 2019. Again, the top four (of which I now count us!) are grouped closely. We're 2nd, behind Real Madrid, but Barcelona overhaul us if they win their game in hand. Atletico are 6pts behind.

Top performers so far; Yeray, Nolaskoian (very pleasing!), Yuri, Lekue, Williams and a 17yo regen from last season who can play AML, AMC and AMR.

Transfers-wise; mostly fringe players departing, though I let Susaeta leave when I was trying to cobble funds together for Pardo in the Summer. He'd left Sociedad for Betis last season and only then was interested in joining. Although I couldn't raise his 22.5m release fee in the Summer, I talked them down to 15m later on, so he'll add depth, especially as Iturraspe and Garcia age.

Arduriz is going to retire. I'm weighing up whether to keep Garcia on another season just as a striker - he'll need some talking down form 100k per week though. 

We made it through our CL group, which included Juve, Lyon and Porto, so that was nice.

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@dothestrand Ruben Pardo is one of my all time favourite FM players - despite those awful physicals he's always performed on my Real Sociedad saves, hope he does well for you!

As an aside, I'm not continuing mine. In the same game I lost Muniain, Williams and Aduriz to 3month+ upper body injuries from tackles, with my opponents not getting a single booking and actually scoring whilst Muniain was down, so I decided to go back to my last save point. Then felt like a bit of a fraud, so I've deleted it and I'm going to experiment with the new support duty Enganche in South America instead.

Btw, Atletico in my save up until the 2nd time I played them (match day 26 I think) had only conceded 6 goals...never seen anything quite like that before.

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1 hour ago, dothestrand said:

So I'm at the same stage; Christmas 2019. Again, the top four (of which I now count us!) are grouped closely. We're 2nd, behind Real Madrid, but Barcelona overhaul us if they win their game in hand. Atletico are 6pts behind.

Top performers so far; Yeray, Nolaskoian (very pleasing!), Yuri, Lekue, Williams and a 17yo regen from last season who can play AML, AMC and AMR.

Transfers-wise; mostly fringe players departing, though I let Susaeta leave when I was trying to cobble funds together for Pardo in the Summer. He'd left Sociedad for Betis last season and only then was interested in joining. Although I couldn't raise his 22.5m release fee in the Summer, I talked them down to 15m later on, so he'll add depth, especially as Iturraspe and Garcia age.

Arduriz is going to retire. I'm weighing up whether to keep Garcia on another season just as a striker - he'll need some talking down form 100k per week though. 

We made it through our CL group, which included Juve, Lyon and Porto, so that was nice.

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I’m in the same boat with Aduriz retiring and looking to keep Garcia for one more year...not on 100k per week though. At the moment I’m using Córdoba as my main striker and he’s doing well.

Nolaskoain is an interesting one, I think he must have a variable PA in the DB because in my save he might become a La liga quality player in the future, but in the save I made to create the opening posts of this thread he had way more potential. I used him on and off during my first season and he’s currently on loan in the segunda. 

How is Sancet going on your save?

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4 minutes ago, bowieinspace said:

I’m in the same boat with Aduriz retiring and looking to keep Garcia for one more year...not on 100k per week though. At the moment I’m using Córdoba as my main striker and he’s doing well.

Nolaskoain is an interesting one, I think he must have a variable PA in the DB because in my save he might become a La liga quality player in the future, but in the save I made to create the opening posts of this thread he had way more potential. I used him on and off during my first season and he’s currently on loan in the segunda. 

How is Sancet going on your save?

Sancet's been out on loan and hasn't been near the first team yet. But the coaches suggest he has 5 star potential so I reckon in a year or two he'll be in the first team squad. He hasn't developed as well as Nolaskoain, but he's a couple of years younger. Hopefully if he comes through as Iturraspe leaves, all's good.

I let Cordoba go, which I regret as Bautista has been poor. I don't want Williams up front if I can help it either. If Garcia takes a comparatively low wage he'll stay. His physical stats are still OK.

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1 hour ago, dothestrand said:

Sancet's been out on loan and hasn't been near the first team yet. But the coaches suggest he has 5 star potential so I reckon in a year or two he'll be in the first team squad. He hasn't developed as well as Nolaskoain, but he's a couple of years younger. Hopefully if he comes through as Iturraspe leaves, all's good.

I let Cordoba go, which I regret as Bautista has been poor. I don't want Williams up front if I can help it either. If Garcia takes a comparatively low wage he'll stay. His physical stats are still OK.

I've had Sancet in the first team this year, he's coming in for the odd game and making apps off the bench as well. He's progressing really well. I don't think Nolaskoain is ever going to make it on my save sadly, looks like I got the rough draw with him. Cordoba on the other hand has been superb for me, he's up to 3* CA with a 4* PA and is averaging a 9-10 rating every week in training!

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The 19-20 season is over and again we finish in 2nd place, behind Barcelona and ahead of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. We also reached the QF of the CL, getting past Dortmund in the last sixteen before Spurs gave us a bit of a pasting.

Modest performances from the squad and not many individuals shone; Yuri, Lekue and Merino the only regulars averaging over 7.

Garcia and Aduriz will leave this Summer and it's possible some of the squad players might move on, to give some youngsters a chance. Some of last year's crop of kids are developing nicely (we had a poor intake this year). Expect these four guys to get serious game time next year.

Now....where we will find a striker?

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@dothestrand I didn’t get chance to play yesterday or today really but my save is progressing almost identically to yours except I’m a few months behind. Finished 3rd in my Champions League group sadly but was a fun group to be part of. 

Im gonna need to consider depth in the attacking areas next summer. Really hoping I can get Oyarzabal as he would add so much quality in a key area for us. Then next season I’ll be starting to bed in Borja Borja too so that would be enough depth I think. 

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40 million in the bank, I wait patiently for an increased transfer budget for January after being given 313k budget at the start of the season.

Nothing is forthcoming, I frequently check the board interaction options and eventually get the chance to ask for my wage budget to be increased. To my delight they accept, I scroll excitedly to the news feed to assess my bounty, to find an increase from 1.16mil p/w to 1.19mil p/w. Well **** you I say to the board, you're diddling me with an extra 30k p/w offering and I don't like it.

I continue to wait for my transfer budget increase...

Nothing in December...

1st January roles around and there it is, the message in my inbox I've been waiting for, what will it say I wonder... after all I have 40million in the bank. A budget of 15-20million would give me enough to have a good go at Odriozola or Oyarzabal with some hefty instalment options this month, it be huge for my season!

But oh what's this...

Q34TXbR.png

:seagull:

 

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I share your pain. I had a transfer budget of 20odd million after the second season but to be honest, I think I finished the season with a transfer budget of around 15m, so it wasn't like there was a huge injection of cash to reward a second place finish. The thing is though, you can't really spend the money anyway! The Merino splurge was a one off. I tried to meet Zaldua and Elustondo's release fees but they wouldn't join.

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After starting a save as Athletic quite late on FM18, only getting six seasons in, they've been my first save on FM19. Almost through the first season which has gone okay, currently 4th in March but was 2nd for a long time some tactical messing around screwed with our form for a while. Defensively we've been solid but goals have been harder to come by, think I've improved that over last few games. There are however 2 big mistakes I made at the start of this save.

  • I forgot we weren't playing in Europe this season, so I made some transfer to give more depth to defence who I haven't really needed without the extra games (been playing 3 at the back so wanted another central defender)
  • I forgot to make the Segunda B2 playable! Realised a few months in they weren't playing full game as it were, added it as a league but won't kick in until start of next season so that's one year of probably less development than I'd like from B-team players

Both of these will be addressed next season as I'm looking good for a Europe spot, and the b-team will be in a full league again.

Transfer wise it's been a mixed bag. Quite a few of the older players have moved on. Rico went in pre-season, along with Ganea out on loan. Iturraspe wanted to move on so I let him go to Bournemouth for a decent amount of money. De Marcos and Susaeta went to China in the January window and Iago Herrerin too. Players in I bought Belenguer, David Garcia as CB, Hervais as a wide player once Susaeta left, big signing was De Arrascaeta who hasn't really performed yet though. Though frankly all of our attackers have underperformed this season.

Had some promising youngsters come through in the youth intake, focus is on finishing season and ensuring we get into Europe. Once its done will post up screenshots of season, tactics and highlights from the youth intake. Then aim si to try and get the attack firing more for next season, see if we can't actually score a decent amount of goals.

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8 hours ago, cemendur88 said:

After starting a save as Athletic quite late on FM18, only getting six seasons in, they've been my first save on FM19. Almost through the first season which has gone okay, currently 4th in March but was 2nd for a long time some tactical messing around screwed with our form for a while. Defensively we've been solid but goals have been harder to come by, think I've improved that over last few games. There are however 2 big mistakes I made at the start of this save.

  • I forgot we weren't playing in Europe this season, so I made some transfer to give more depth to defence who I haven't really needed without the extra games (been playing 3 at the back so wanted another central defender)
  • I forgot to make the Segunda B2 playable! Realised a few months in they weren't playing full game as it were, added it as a league but won't kick in until start of next season so that's one year of probably less development than I'd like from B-team players

Both of these will be addressed next season as I'm looking good for a Europe spot, and the b-team will be in a full league again.

Transfer wise it's been a mixed bag. Quite a few of the older players have moved on. Rico went in pre-season, along with Ganea out on loan. Iturraspe wanted to move on so I let him go to Bournemouth for a decent amount of money. De Marcos and Susaeta went to China in the January window and Iago Herrerin too. Players in I bought Belenguer, David Garcia as CB, Hervais as a wide player once Susaeta left, big signing was De Arrascaeta who hasn't really performed yet though. Though frankly all of our attackers have underperformed this season.

Had some promising youngsters come through in the youth intake, focus is on finishing season and ensuring we get into Europe. Once its done will post up screenshots of season, tactics and highlights from the youth intake. Then aim si to try and get the attack firing more for next season, see if we can't actually score a decent amount of goals.

I did exactly the same thing with Segunda B...no idea how I managed it. I just moved any good players to the first team and rotated them where possible to manage it. I was only reaaaallly worried about one or two of them anyway. In the second season now with the league active and I don't think the issue really affected me or the players in the end.

How are Berenguer and Hervias doing for you? I've scouted both repeatedly and never moved on them as I don't see them as an improvement really. Hervias in particular though has a nice attribute spread, reminds me a bit of Ibai Gomez. 

Edited by bowieinspace

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The 2020 Summer was one of transition. Two of our three main goalscorers (Arduriz, Garcia) left, whilst I'm desperately trying to think what to do with Williams. He is so, so good on the right wing, but with Bautista not pulling his weight, I'm sorely tempted to move him up top. But I don't think I want to. We have a couple of talented young strikers but they're a few years off coming through. So it's Lopez/Williams or Williams/Bautista. Hmm, decisions, decisions.

We have a number of talented kids on the cusp of the first team so I was thinking about what was best for their development. Train with the first team and give them 5-10 games in La Liga each, or move them to the second tier on loan for regular football? I've gone for the latter, with the options for recalls if it doesn't work out. Some will be ready next season, others maybe another year.

It did leave us a bit short though, as I'd moved on a few fringe players as it was. So we brought in a few backup options at cheap prices. Former Athletic Club players Oscar Gil and Mikel Balenziaga returned, but they'll only get limited action. I like the thought of going 3-5-2 in some games with Martinez/Yeray/Nunez ALL playing, but it would give us something off the bench.

One player I did sign was Berenguer. The scouts always rated him at 72, which is pretty decent, given that only elite level Basques you can't sign rate higher. His stats are OK, but they're evenly distributed and he offers a lot of versatility across the midfield, so it seemed an easy option in the end. I let De Arrascaeta go to Shakhtar on loan, with them paying most of his salary, as we had Munain, Berenguer, Lopez, Williams and a youngster able to play across the attacking midfield places. He has performed in fits and starts and there's no point paying the best part of 80k per week to a back up option. I also bought Zubeldia for another CM option, as well as a couple of young Basques. There are a few more who won't sign yet but I'm doggedly pursuing them!

Top 4 this season should still be the aim, though I wouldn't be surprised if 4th was as good as it got. 

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9 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

I did exactly the same thing with Segunda B...no idea how I managed it. I just moved any good players to the first team and rotated them where possible to manage it. I was only reaaaallly worried about one or two of them anyway. In the second season now with the league active and I don't think the issue really affected me or the players in the end.

How are Berenguer and Hervias doing for you? I've scouted both repeatedly and never moved on them as I don't see them as an improvement really. Hervias in particular though has a nice attribute spread, reminds me a bit of Ibai Gomez. 

Berenguer's done okay, he did better for me last year so hoping he will improve over time. Hervais has not done well so far, but as all my attackers and wide players have done pretty badly this season don't want to write him off yet. Second season should help show whether he has been a good buy or not.

I forgot the worst transfer news of my season. I signed Nolaskoain to a new contract just before the January window which increased his release clause to £5.75, but AC Milan met the clause and I couldn't try and negotiate a new contract with him. Will keep an eye on him in the hope he doesn't get much game time and I can buy him back.

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13 minutes ago, cemendur88 said:

Berenguer's done okay, he did better for me last year so hoping he will improve over time. Hervais has not done well so far, but as all my attackers and wide players have done pretty badly this season don't want to write him off yet. Second season should help show whether he has been a good buy or not.

I forgot the worst transfer news of my season. I signed Nolaskoain to a new contract just before the January window which increased his release clause to £5.75, but AC Milan met the clause and I couldn't try and negotiate a new contract with him. Will keep an eye on him in the hope he doesn't get much game time and I can buy him back.

I throw the youngsters extra money to lock the release clauses to at least 20m. Lock it every time.

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6 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

I throw the youngsters extra money to lock the release clauses to at least 20m. Lock it every time.

Last year a doubling of the release clause was enough to keep other clubs at bay most of the time, for future youngsters I'll definitely be increasing it by more!

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10 minutes ago, bowieinspace said:

10million!!!

I know!!! Whenever I've enquired before, they insisted on his release clause - 109m! So be patient and he will be available as soon as De Marcos is ready to be sold.

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The annual President elections are good fun. Whenever the current one gets replaced the new President basically says you're about to get fired for a bigger name. Because we have been in good form I've been given stays of execution. But had anyone been fired? I personally would just retire and add a new manager anyway :lol:

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1 hour ago, dothestrand said:

The annual President elections are good fun. Whenever the current one gets replaced the new President basically says you're about to get fired for a bigger name. Because we have been in good form I've been given stays of execution. But had anyone been fired? I personally would just retire and add a new manager anyway :lol:

I've seen that quite a few times but never been let go. As long as you're not underperforming I think it's unlikeky.

I am going to have another go at Odriozola this summer, but pressure is off a little as I have an amazing RB regen coming through

 

Edited by bowieinspace

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1 hour ago, dothestrand said:

The annual President elections are good fun. Whenever the current one gets replaced the new President basically says you're about to get fired for a bigger name. Because we have been in good form I've been given stays of execution. But had anyone been fired? I personally would just retire and add a new manager anyway :lol:

I never have, had it almost every year in my FM18 save but never got fired.

My first season has now come to an end. Ditching 3 at the back and switching to a formation based on one I used last year with Arsenal definitely improved our attack in the final games of the season. Now heading towards the transfer window with some big worries. Aduriz's stats are dropping off a cliff, and Garcia was out injured for a long time and has also entered a sharp decline. Benat is also getting worse and Balenziaga is starting to drop too. Thinking I may want to try and cash in on them whilst I can. Problem is there's no obvious options to replace any of them out there, so going to have a look at B-team and promising youngsters from U-19s to see who I could promote. Probably going to sell Remiro as well as Simon is just the better keeper to me and can't really keep both happy. Much prefer having one keeper playing all the time and a cheap backup for the rare times another keeper is needed.

Players of the season

San Jose - solid as always, and doing well as a DM in my new tactic

Muniain - took a while to get going but put in some key performances towards the end

Otherwise lots of decent but not great performances. Top scorer was San Jose with 9! Then Raul Garcia with 7, Williams and Aduriz with 6. Definitely need more goals next season.

Good Transfers

I did buy a couple of Spanish u-16s in first transfer window who have been developing well. I do try and limit myself to this in the first window only so that otherwise it's proper Basque players from here on out.

Pelayo Morilla - hoping he can develop into a good all-round forward

Jorge Herrando - solid defender, good to have around with San Jose's age and clubs sniffing around Yeray.

Promising youngsters.

Adrian Herrero - looks like he could nail down right back for a long time

Roberto Sanchez - wasn't sure where he would fit with my 3-at the back tactic, but fits into the one I've switched to well, looking forward to seeing him develop

Alain Aguado - decent looking keeper, be interesting to see if he can develop to challenge Simon.

Jorge Herrera - another good right back, thankfully either footed so going to try and develop him for the left

Asier Munoz - nice physical and mental stats, with some development could be a good striker for my tactic

Edited by cemendur88

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Season Two Review


We went in to this season with a small squad, combined with Aduriz being fairly useless for our style of play and Raul Garcia being on the decline. For that reason we had to take some calculated gambles in European competition and allow a couple of younger players opportunities to play and develop here and there. 

In the end we went out in the group stage (3rd) in the Champions League in a very tight group. I wanted to focus on the league and make sure we regained Champions League status at least, we also rested players in the Europa League knockout, but lost a tough second round to Dortmund which was no disgrace either way.

This was partially done because I fancied we could work our way to something quite impressive in the league with a bit of luck..and it played out just right.

2u50d6N.jpg

We got on a roll and we just kept on winning. Next season is going to be a bit of a transition, I am planning to sell Capa and San Jose to make room for younger players coming through, and Raul Garcia (despite some excellent performances this year) won't be getting his contract renewed. We desperately need an attacking midfielder to replace him, but I don't think Oyarzabal is going to happen, so youngsters will be getting time. It'll be tough for us to repeat the league win next year that's for sure.

The B team also made it through the Segunda B playoffs and will be in the Seguna next season!

 

Tactical Analysis

I wanted to share my tactical process and how I went about setting up the team. We have a firm style which we put across 3 different formations to manage the oppositions set up. 

How I decided on the set up

I know the Athletic squad very well, but this always starts with an analysis of the squad and goes from there....I felt we had the following characteristics:

Strong work rate, pace out wide, movement in the middle (when Cordoba is up front and Raul Garcia in attacking midfield), Cordoba offers a good pressing forward option, absolutely quality defence and strength in the air.
Weaknesses in the middle - the signing of Mikel Merino was a must as he's a step up, outside of him though, we have some decent players but no one exceptional. Zubeldia, Iturraspe and SanJo offer good options in defensive midfield, and Dani Garcia is a good BBM. There's a heavy reliance on Merino, but I do have variety at least in this area of the pitch with willing runners.

With this in mind I wanted our team to have the following characteristics:

1) Counter press - we have the work rate to do it and winning the ball in transition will allow our pacey wide players to stretch the opposition if we move quickly once the ball is won.
2) Compact - I want us to be vertically compact - we have pace in defence so I've no concern in playing a higher line, however I don't want us to have a high line of engagement, as we want space in front of us to exploit with our pace when the ball is won. The counter press gives us quite a high engagement anyway, but when we need to regain our shape, I don't want the top end of the team to be too high.
3) Narrow defensively. I want a balance where we are narrow defensively and compress the space. We have good defensive midfielders positionally, and lots of strength in the air. I don't mind conceding space out wide as we can deal with crosses. If we don't win the ball on transition, I am confident we will be difficult to break down with this set up.
4) Key TI's - run at defence...Cordoba, Williams and Muniain can all do this and they form our 3 key attackers. Urgent pressing intensity and a higher tempo to build on the above style.
5) Full backs - Yuri and De Marcos (or Capa/Lekue/Ganea) are all attacking. When we are going forwards I want them to stay wide and stretch the play. We have the defensive quality in midfield to be ballsy in the wide areas and overlap. This also allows Williams and Muniain to sit narrower and support Cordoba. 
6) No messing around - when we win the ball in transition especially I don't want the team to hang about. We get the ball in the box quickly and and try to catch the opposition off guard...this comes down to quality movement from the attacking players and midfield to allow us to do this. For that reason the wide players are set to play very direct, as I want them to play the ball quickly (rather than stick to the short passing TI). 
7) This is tied together by movement and runners from the middle. In all of our formations we have two players in the middle who are constantly on the move, either BBM's or Mezzala's, or a RPM in one instance.

Formations

Formations for me are purely a defensive structure. The attacking system is designed by player roles and fluidity. I want my team's formation to reflect the opposition - our goal is to mirror them in some ways and press in key areas, forcing them wide or into poor situations. This led me to 3 options:

4-3-3/4-5-1

4FWDD60.jpg

This is designed to play against the 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1. Our DM is there to stop their AM getting on the ball in dangerous areas...we basically mirror them in midfield to force them wide. With this formation we are a little deeper anyway due to the midfield triangle, so I allow our wide players to push further up. I have no concern with the full backs being 1v1 against their wingers as we can handle the crosses. If their wide players are moving inside and overloading us we can adjust things in game to counter that. 

The most important players in this system are the two central midfielders...their movement makes this system work. The RPM is expected to always be working the ball forwards, where as the Mezzala is our difference maker...he runs from the midfield strata into the box and exploits space. Without the midfield runners this formation would be static and unimaginative. 

 

4-4-1-1

IW1DGEw.jpg

This is designed to play against a 4-3-3/4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1. Again we are basically mirroring their formation by placing an AM on the pitch to press their DM and restrict his space. As our AM is set to an attack mentality, his role is to push in to the box to find space when we are attacking. The BBM is then able to fill his space and the DLP (D) is the anchor who is always available to recycle possession. As our central midfield is fairly forward thinking, in this formation our wide midfielders sit in the midfield strata rather than the attacking midfield strata to better balance our shape. These player roles in a 4-2-3-1 would be very risky indeed. However their movement is still very important in stretching the opposition. 


3-5-2

apmRVJA.jpg

This is designed to play against the 4-4-2. I wanted my defenders to have a man advantage with a covering defender, so 3 centre backs vs their 2 forwards puts them in an advantageous position. We then also have 3 CM's to out number their central players. As mentioned before, I don't mind conceding a bit of space out wide as with 3 centre backs who are all good in the air, we can manage anything coming in to the box. Going forward this formation allows the wing backs to provide width, with 2 runners from central midfield supporting the forwards. The goal is for the mezzala to get right up there and force a 3v2 against their central defenders.

 

 

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Summer Window 2020

Well I didn't think I'd be doing this so soon as I expected a very quiet window, but things changed quickly. As planned I sold SanJo - I have an excellent young CB coming through, and he just wasn't getting in the side. Martinez, Yeray and Nunez are quality at CB, and Iturraspe and Zubeldia had been holding down the DM spot.

On the 25th June it was all quiet, Odriozola was keen to chat but Real Madrid wouldn't sell 'under any circumstances'. His value was in the early 30million region as he'd played a lot of games last seasn (Carvajal picked up a long term injury). Sociedad had achieved promotion from the Segunda so Oyarzabal seemed completely uninterested.

However come the end of June things changed quickly. Odriozola was transfer listed by Real Madrid out of the blue for 27.5 million and every big club was interested in him. I acted quickly as I had enough money to pay the fee in full. My bid was accepted but PSG also had a bit accepted...I knew our reputation wasn't going to get the move over line so I went huge on the contract terms. Fair to say I've paid a lot...let's just say the appearance fees are significant and leave it at that. 

I managed to get the deal done. Then before I know it Kepa is available as well...I actually saw it during the Odriozola negotiations but I decided to let it pass...Simon and Remiro are very capable and Odriozola would have a bigger difference to my team. 

Then Ander Herrera became transfer listed...they wanted way too much for him given he is nearly 31, but they were happy to accept a loan offer of only 30% of his wages. He has one year left on his deal so there's some potential to get him on a free after the season. The problem was that I had no budget to spend, I was waaaay over my wage budget after the Odriozola thing. I shifted Capa and Dani Garcia for 5 million each to free up the funds and make the deal work. I like Dani Garcia, but at 30 years old Herrera is a natural improvement at a similar age so I thought it worth the switch.

I also brought Asier Villalibre back to the club. I'd lost him on a free (unwillingly) last summer - he'd become unhappy over first team appearances, so I agreed to give him games (this is in the first season). When Jan 1st rolled around he was happy with his game time but the promise hadn't run it's course yet. Due to this he wouldn't negotiate a contract with me. Girona swooped in and took him. He had a full season in La Liga for Girona last season and came on fairly well, my scouts rated him at 2.5 CA, 3.5 PA. Given he's the ideal player for my system as a pressing forward, I brought him back for a few million to rotate with Cordoba and fill the gap left by Aduriz and Raul Garcia.

o74YeRo.jpg

 

I'm really happy with our business and we have great depth now for the Champions League this season:

GK - Remiro and Simon to rotate
RB - Odriozola clear first choice, Lekue back up
LB - Yuri, Ganea back up
CB - Martinez, Yeray and Nunez rotating. Eneko Goni (quality youngster as back up)
DM - Zubeldia and Iturraspe
CM - Merino, Herrera, Sancet & De Marcos (he will be used a bit all over the place to be honest)
AM - We don't have a natural AMC, but De Marcos can play there, as can Herrera. We can also play Muniain there with Cordoba wide left and Villalibre up front
AMR - Williams, Artola back up
AML - Muniain, Cordoba can rotate in there as can Williams and De Marcos
CF - Cordoba and Villalibre to rotate
 

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Wow, superb work to win the title.....and so comprehensively! I've been in the running in the last few games, but never got over the line. But to finish 20pts ahead of Barcelona even!

And great work to get Odriozola in. De Marcos starts to fade after the first couple of seasons. Lekue is useful cover, but Capa never looked like he'd be a good option. Herrera went in my game for around 25m, but I couldn't make the finances work. He went to Athletico Madrid, but we'll see how he gets on. Merino and Pardo are doing fine, and we have options for a third CM if we need one in a game. 

Even if Kepa came up, we have plenty of young GK options, even with Simon having left. Griezmann would be nice though :)

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At the end of 20-21 we finished 3rd, behind Real and Barcelona, but significantly ahead of Athletico Madrid. So my expectations each season of Europa League qualification is no longer cutting it with the players and they want CL qualification ;)

It's going to be a transitional Summer as I'm moving De Marcos and Iturraspe on. We've a nice set of youngsters developing now, many of whom will probably go out on loan. That said, the vultures are circling and clubs across Spain and Europe are trying to unsettle them. Well they all have huge release fees so they're going nowhere. As always could do with a striker, but we have a couple who can offer some backup to Bautista. 

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Nice work on the title and transfers bowie, very jealous of your midfield. Had no luck with either Merino or Herrera yet. 

I've started my 2nd season and had a frustrating transfer window. Managed to keep Williams and Berenguer but only after both put in many transfer requests and became unhappy which has meant their form has not been good so far. Rest of window summed up below:

IQtghtx.jpg

Remiro I left go as Simon was just better first season, Fernandez came in as a replacement. Aduriz main loss as he just wasn't performing anymore. Herrando was an annoying loss, Sevilla just met his clause and he didn't want to negotiate. Two bright points are Pardo and Nolaskoain which definitely helps in midfield. Others in are youngsters to help fill out a few positions. 

Squad now looks like:

GK - Simon, Fernandez

DR - Lekue, Capa

DC - Yeray, Martinez, Nunez, Garcia

DL - Yuri, Balenziga

DM - San Jose, Vesga, Nolaskoain

MR - Belenguer, Hervais

CM - Benat, Lopez, Pardo, Garcia, Eguaras

ML - Muniain, De Arrascaeta

STC - Williams, Cordoba

Has anyone ever bought Aguirregabiria, he looks a decent prospect and he's been available a few times but not sure if he'd be an improvement on Lekue or Capa.

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Is Aguirregabiria at Alaves? I've never found RB that problematic a position as Yeray can cover there if need be, but you've always got enough options. And if there are two positions that regens emerge in its RB and DM. I even had bids for Elustondo accepted, both from Sociedad and when he moved on. No dice. I often find it tricky to sign players from Alaves tbh, lucky there usually isn't anyone you're bothered about.

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Yeah he's there on my save. I've definitely had some good RB newgens in my first youth intake, but considering him as neither Lekue or Capa have done very well in the first time. Obviously first choice would be Odriozola but he's not been available yet and don't have the funds for him yet either.

I have had some very good news on the transfer, think I've found my long-term fix for the striker problem, Alberto Alonso. Had a min release clause of £35k and has 5 star potential and is a proper Basque player. Will be joining in January 2020.

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1 hour ago, cemendur88 said:

Yeah he's there on my save. I've definitely had some good RB newgens in my first youth intake, but considering him as neither Lekue or Capa have done very well in the first time. Obviously first choice would be Odriozola but he's not been available yet and don't have the funds for him yet either.

I have had some very good news on the transfer, think I've found my long-term fix for the striker problem, Alberto Alonso. Had a min release clause of £35k and has 5 star potential and is a proper Basque player. Will be joining in January 2020.

He looks solid!

Yeah RB never seems to be an issue with an Athletic save. This year in particular...Zaldua, Elustondo, Odriozola plus Capa/Lekue/De Marcos... I'd save your money and stick with Capa/Lekue....full backs on this game can get some really high average ratings, so could be worth looking at how you are set up to make the most of those two - they're solid options.

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13 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

He looks solid!

Yeah RB never seems to be an issue with an Athletic save. This year in particular...Zaldua, Elustondo, Odriozola plus Capa/Lekue/De Marcos... I'd save your money and stick with Capa/Lekue....full backs on this game can get some really high average ratings, so could be worth looking at how you are set up to make the most of those two - they're solid options.

They've been doing better this season than last since I changed tactics towards the end of last season, but keeping my options open incase they revert to their old form.

Edited by cemendur88

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Just won the Supercopa in the season curtain raiser. It was a thrilling 0-0 draw that we won in an 18 penalty long shootout.

We played Barca who just bought Pogba for 175million, they have Conte in charge playing a 3-4-3 which is unfamiliar territory for me. I went with the 4-5-1 on the basis they had coutinho and messi out wide who clearly look to be either inside forwards or advanced playmakers, so either my full backs would track them or they would run in to my DM. I had an extra man in midfield to create a 3v2 there so I aimed to stifle them. I didn’t know how my attacking trio would get on given they had 3 at the back but figured if I could control the game I’d have the better chances.

it went to plan really, I controlled the game but didn’t create too much...however they created less. Winning on penalties was a nice surprise given out distinct lack of decent takers on the pitch!

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Nicely done, sounds like one hell of a nerve-wracking penalty shootout! Sounds like you got your tactics spot-on, as that definitely sounds like a very scary Barca side to face, and they're terrifying enough most of the time as it is!

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4 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

Just won the Supercopa in the season curtain raiser. It was a thrilling 0-0 draw that we won in an 18 penalty long shootout.

We played Barca who just bought Pogba for 175million, they have Conte in charge playing a 3-4-3 which is unfamiliar territory for me. I went with the 4-5-1 on the basis they had coutinho and messi out wide who clearly look to be either inside forwards or advanced playmakers, so either my full backs would track them or they would run in to my DM. I had an extra man in midfield to create a 3v2 there so I aimed to stifle them. I didn’t know how my attacking trio would get on given they had 3 at the back but figured if I could control the game I’d have the better chances.

it went to plan really, I controlled the game but didn’t create too much...however they created less. Winning on penalties was a nice surprise given out distinct lack of decent takers on the pitch!

Hey man, I had a great start with my own tactics @ Villareal, but they stopped working. I was intrigued by your setup and it's working great for me now, so a big thanks and good job sir!

I'm only wondering if you have any more Player Instructions except the "More direct passing" on the wide players?

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4 hours ago, JoOSTAR said:

Hey man, I had a great start with my own tactics @ Villareal, but they stopped working. I was intrigued by your setup and it's working great for me now, so a big thanks and good job sir!

I'm only wondering if you have any more Player Instructions except the "More direct passing" on the wide players?

No I think that’s the only one! The only other thing I have player specific is the central defender roles, but that’s the role itself rather than PI’s....I just have it set so Nunez plays as a CD while Yeray, Martinez and formerly SanJo were set as BPD’s

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