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Is it OK to not have any Key Players in my squad? That's the situation I currently noticed. Over time, I've downgraded all Key Players to First Team, and it seems to be working...

But I read somewhere that a squad should have a good mix of player status: 3 or 4 key Players, 5 to 6 First Team, 5 to 6 Rotation, etc. 

What are the pros and cons in having or *not* having Key Player(s)?...  (I kinda recall that the status mix helps in payroll budget allocation... How?...).

Thanks in advance for your thoughts. 

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I have youthful squads and I prefer to have as few key and first team players as possible. If they're happy and playing well a higher status is immaterial. Problems happen when you want to drop a poorly performing player and he demands to play due to his status. I guess the only positive side to higher status is if a club wants to poach your player he's less likely to want to leave is his status is high enough.

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I try to minimise the status of all players whenever possible on the basis that this will reduce the number of complaints about playing time and, possibly, let me keep the wages bill down. I've often started with no key players and haven't been aware of any problems. The only thing that I've noticed is when negotiating a  new contract some players [or their agents] insist on key player status and I haven't been able to keep them at their previous lower status.

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I have always tried to minimise and do away with Key status for reasons stated above- the only issues are usually around contract renewal times, but money usually talks.

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I think the only tangible benefit you get from keeping players on "key player" status is that they're regarded as slightly more influential than they otherwise might be (and this is only a benefit if they have a personality you want others to be influenced by).

The other potential one is that I believe it has a little effect on other club interest in them (and their interest in talking to the other clubs - I've seen a "would like to move to x as they would offer him a higher squad status" message before after setting an overpaid guy to "not needed" to convince him to go through with a transfer) as key players are perceived as less likely to move. But this is only going to be a major issue if they're the sort of players higher rep clubs are likely to poach.

On the other hand, they're much more likely to be happy or delighted by their game time if they're on First Team or Rotation status

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Only reason is I wanted to stave off a transfer bid, and then it would be only to jack his salary up. In most cases I try to avoid having that status where I can

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