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FM20 - Athletic Club - Basque in the Bilbao Sunshine

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Is this CB from Barcelona (bought for his release fee) worth 44m? With Inigo Martinez on his way out, he's the best Basque CB besides Yeray.  

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2 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

Is this CB from Barcelona (bought for his release fee) worth 44m? With Inigo Martinez on his way out, he's the best Basque CB besides Yeray.  

Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 22.11.13.png

He looks excellent 

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2 minutes ago, bowieinspace said:

He looks excellent 

As soon as I had the money, I had to go in for him. Martinez is going and a Chinese club triggered Yeray's release fee though I had to pay him shedloads to retain him. Barca always produce one amazing Basque player each save. 

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17 minutes ago, dothestrand said:

As soon as I had the money, I had to go in for him. Martinez is going and a Chinese club triggered Yeray's release fee though I had to pay him shedloads to retain him. Barca always produce one amazing Basque player each save. 

Yeah they do often have one come through don’t they! He could be great after a year or so of playing each week too 

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12 hours ago, dothestrand said:

Is this CB from Barcelona (bought for his release fee) worth 44m? With Inigo Martinez on his way out, he's the best Basque CB besides Yeray.  

Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 22.11.13.png

Very nice, definitely worth the money for a newgen of that quality.

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2024-25 season finished - behind the big two (but not too far off 2nd) and ahead of the chasing pack. I think this is a record wins/points total so far though. 

The good news is that we have a strong performing squad with consistent performances by first team regulars. We're a little light at FB and with cover up top. But we have some excellent players coming through with a number of wonderkids (attached) - Telletxea, Velez, Alonso, Guruteza - who we need to build our squad around going forward. We have an embarrassment of riches in CM, about seven very good midfielders for three positions! Some good Basque youngsters are other clubs too, who we'll try to pick up. Muniain may move on this Summer if we get a decent offer. Williams too, possibly, though we do need him as a backup to Villalibre. 

Hopefully we'll keep pushing the big two into the next season and also make more impact in Europe (we tend to get through our CL groups but get dumped out in the first knockout round). 

 

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2025/26 Season Review - Champions

 

What an amazing season! We exceeded our expectations this season and accomplished some major goals.

Competitions

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A double! Winning the league and CHAMPIONS LEAGUE!! The domestic league was tightly fought throughout, but we held our nerve at the end and sealed the title with a game to spare. 

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The Champions league saw us go well beyond previous years, securing the title in the final against Benfica, 2-0. We cruised through our group, getting revenge on PSG, beating them at San Mames on matchday 1 and beating them out to first place in a group also including CSKA Moscow and Sporting CP. 

The knockouts saw us take a favourable first round draw against Stade Rennais. We drew 0-0 away before a 2-1 win at San Mames, a scoreline which somewhat flattered them. Next up we facied Man City in the quarter finals, a much tougher tie and one I had minimal expectations for - this was only further backed up with a 2-0 loss away in the first leg. The second leg back at San Mames saw perhaps our best performance of the season, winning 2-0 in normal time after Alex Gabilondo smashed home a 90th minute equaliser. We then went into extra time as the dominant side, finding the winner through Julen Uriarte in the 111th minute!

Following our fantastic win against City, we were back in England to play Chelsea in the semi finals. We played the first leg at San Mames and were looking comfortable at 1-0, until a poor defensive error leveled things at 1-1. However two second half goals gave us a decent 3-1 advantage to take away to Stamford Bridge. The second leg started with a few chances for them, but against the run of play Roberto Exposito slotted home from a corner to give us a vital away goal. A consolation goal with 10mins to go jangled the nerves a touch, but in the end it finished 1-1 and we were in the final.

Benfica in the final, they had already beat Inter, Man Utd and Barca on their run to the final, playing a fluid attacking 4-4-2. We lined up in a 4-1-2-3 to make sure we had two attacking wide players to expose their full backs, and an extra man in midfield to control that area. A missed penalty in the first half from us left me frustrated at half time, as we had failed to convert our dominance to goals. In the second half we were more clinical, Roberto Exposito powering home a finish at the near post to give us a lead, with Julen Uriarte converting with time running out to take away any final minute nerves. A superb run and while our team is solid, this was a little unexpected. 

 

Squad

GK: Simon, Ojeda. Ojeda is now taking over as number 1 but they shared duties this season.
RB - Odriozola, Sanchez. While Odriozola remains first choice, Sanchez (a converted CM) is putting a lot of pressure on him. 
LB - Munoz, Sukunza. Munoz juuuust about takes the first choice spot right now but I think Sukunza is moving in there slowly but surely. 
CB - Nunez, Yeray, Lafuente, Delgado. My two newgens are now perhaps my best two, although I did prefer the experience of Nunez in some of our bigger games. it's only a matter of time until Lafuente/Delgado is my big game partnership though.
DM - Inigo Uriarte, Jose Angel Martinez. Inigo Uriarte is my clear first choice here, but I often use Jose Angel Martinez to sure up my system late in games, and he's a fantastic option to have for certain games if I need a more defensive option.
CM - Julen Uriarte, Oihan Sancet, Aimar Oroz, Mikel Merino. While Julen Uriarte is my star player, the other midfield spot is rotated pretty heavily, with all 3 locking it down at various times during the season.
RW - Roberto Exposito, Fran Gonzalez. Although I didn't use him much this season, I've included Fran Gonzalez here as he will be rotating in the team next season. I didn't need him this season with the addition of Griezmann, but at 35 and departing at the end of his contract now the season is over, he will replace Griezmann in my forward line.
LW - Ander Barretnetxea, Nico Serrano. Barretnetxea was exceptional this season, unfortunately missing the Champions League final through injury.
CF - Iker Garcia, Antoine Griezmann, Alex Gabilondo. Iker Garcia was exceptional and our top goal scorer. Griezmann's quality added a superb option and his addition almost certainly lead to us winning both titles. Gabilondo is superbly reliable.

Tactics

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We are still focused on our 4-1-2-3, or 4-3-3, and the line up pictured is a fairly strong one for us, pretty much full strength. We are a high tempo, attacking side, utilising the movement and skill of Uriarte in midfield to open up goalscoring opportunities, primarily for our Raumdeuter and F9. Our winger on the left scores a fair few too but is mainly a creator who stretches opposition. We changed our midfield roles to an AP (A) and BBM to offer a bit more security over the previous AP (S), CM (A) combo and also to make the most of Julen Uriarte. Playing in an AP (A) role his runs at the defensive line cause enormous havoc. 

We also have a 3-4-3 and 4-4-2 variations we switch too - the 4-4-2 is a similar style but we sit deeper and play more direct - it's their to counter any teams who are dominating the ball and camping in our half. We use the 3-4-3 with pretty similar TI's against any direct 4-4-2 systems we come up against. I had considering using it in the Champions League final, however given how aggressive Benfica's 4-4-2 was, I felt the 4-3-3 with the wide attackers man marking the full backs was the better call. I have a few PI's on this tactic as well but not going to run through them individually. 

 

Edited by bowieinspace

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Congrats on one hell of a season! That's an amazing team you're building there, very envious of a fair few of those newgens. Ojeda looks like he is going to boss it in goal for the next decade, and definitely doesn't hurt having players like Lafuente, Uriate and Garcia in the team as well. Nicely done.

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9 hours ago, cemendur88 said:

Congrats on one hell of a season! That's an amazing team you're building there, very envious of a fair few of those newgens. Ojeda looks like he is going to boss it in goal for the next decade, and definitely doesn't hurt having players like Lafuente, Uriate and Garcia in the team as well. Nicely done.

Yeah I’ve had some crackers, getting Julen Uriarte, Iker Garcia and Gabilondo early on has helped a lot by improving two fairly weak positions. Ojeda looks like he’s going to world class doesn’t he...great attribute spread and room to grow! 

The other one that excites me is Fran Gonzalez, again a great attribute spread and could be a top tier player I think

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14 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

Yeah I’ve had some crackers, getting Julen Uriarte, Iker Garcia and Gabilondo early on has helped a lot by improving two fairly weak positions. Ojeda looks like he’s going to world class doesn’t he...great attribute spread and room to grow! 

The other one that excites me is Fran Gonzalez, again a great attribute spread and could be a top tier player I think

Personally very envious of Ojeda, had no newgen keeper come through that looks anywhere near as good as him (which is bizarrely opposite to my last few saves on previous FM's with Athletic where there were always too many decent GK newgens!). I'll post up my latest season summary soon and more and more of my squad is now newgens but still a few areas I've got some longer-term worries about if some promising youth candidates don't come through in those positions soon. You look like you're well sorted for a long time to come with the players you have, and amazing over half your starting XI is now newgens.

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14 minutes ago, cemendur88 said:

Personally very envious of Ojeda, had no newgen keeper come through that looks anywhere near as good as him (which is bizarrely opposite to my last few saves on previous FM's with Athletic where there were always too many decent GK newgens!). I'll post up my latest season summary soon and more and more of my squad is now newgens but still a few areas I've got some longer-term worries about if some promising youth candidates don't come through in those positions soon. You look like you're well sorted for a long time to come with the players you have, and amazing over half your starting XI is now newgens.

Yeah I’ve definitely had a few good ones in the right positions. Right back is a small concern as no decent basque right backs have come through yet on my save, but Odriozola has a few years left and Sanchez is decent (but he is a retrained CM) so I’m ok for a little while. Aside from that I’m pretty well covered for a while I think. I could put out a pretty solid team of newgens now..

ojeda

sanchez, Lafuente, Delgado, Sukunza

inigo uriarte, julen uriarte, Ander dulce (not featured but a well rounded back up player)

exposito, Garcia and Gabilondo. 

Just lacking a good bbm really there.

Ojeda is the only quality keeper I have had come through and he was nabbed off Sociedad. You’re right though about previous years, last year I had world class keepers coming through what felt like every year!

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2 minutes ago, bowieinspace said:

Yeah I’ve definitely had a few good ones in the right positions. Right back is a small concern as no decent basque right backs have come through yet on my save, but Odriozola has a few years left and Sanchez is decent (but he is a retrained CM) so I’m ok for a little while. Aside from that I’m pretty well covered for a while I think. I could put out a pretty solid team of newgens now..

ojeda

sanchez, Lafuente, Delgado, Sukunza

inigo uriarte, julen uriarte, Ander dulce (not featured but a well rounded back up player)

exposito, Garcia and Gabilondo. 

Just lacking a good bbm really there.

Ojeda is the only quality keeper I have had come through and he was nabbed off Sociedad. You’re right though about previous years, last year I had world class keepers coming through what felt like every year!

I long to get a keeper as good as Diego Arteaga was for me last year. Best keeper I've ever had on any FM save ever!  And that was from a save full of them, really interesting how it seems to have changed this year. Posting my season summary next, that will show the areas I've been lucky in with newgens, and where I'm suffering.

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24/25 SEASON SUMMARY

Another great season, we triumphed in the league once again thanks to a long unbeaten run, though we still struggle against Real Madrid and Barcelona at times, a weakness that would come to haunt us in the Spanish Cup Final and Champions Cup semi's as we lost both to Real which was frustrating.

Transfer-wise a few big moves happened in the January window. Inigo Martinez left to China as his contract was running down, and I bought in Roberto Lopez from Sociedad to add more depth on the left, as Larrazabal's contract was also coming to an end and he wasn't getting much game time so Serrano was now the main rotation option with Williams on the right. End of the season saw Inigo Cordoba leave on a free as he'd been out on loan all season. Ivan Martin was sold to Schalke after another disappointing season. Borja Sanchez, the newgen DM, was also sold after spending the season out on loan due to his lack of technical skills.

So here is how the team is looking going into the 25/26 season.

FIRST TEAM SQUAD

Goalkeepers

Defenders

Midfielders

  • Joselu - long-term future probably at CB, but need him to rotate at DM this season, did pretty well last year
  • Peru Nolaskoain - not as good as the year before, but hoping he can be good at DM again
  • Jon Moncayola - lots of assists again, but will likely have to play further forward this year
  • The Wizard of Oroz - definitely worthy of the nickname you suggested @bowieinspace (also totally worth it for the news items using his name)
  • Mikel Merino - didn't have a great season last year, hoping he returns to his usual form for this season
  • Mikel Agirre - did okay in his first season in the first team, hoping for more from him

Attackers

  • Roberto Lopez - did well since signing from Sociedad, been mainly using him to rotate on the left wing but may retrain to make him a CM and give more options there
  • Inaki Williams - still bossing it from the right wing, signed him to a new 2 year deal and then will see if I keep him beyond that
  • Nico Serrano - not setting the world on-fire anymore, but a good versatile rotation option
  • Inigo Alonso - club legend in the making
  • Pablo Sukunza - love this guy, he loves to bully opposition players by closing them down mercilessly, got a few goals last season by nicking the ball from the keeper or last defender
  • Asier Villalibre - had his worst season for us last year, which was not helpful when we needed a striker to produce the goods
  • Javier Vera - a beast for the U19s last season, scoring 55 goals in the U19 league, 7 in the U19s cup, and 15 in the U19 Champions Cup. He's probably going to be my first choice striker this year

YOUTH PROSPECTS/BACKUPS

Goalkeepers

  • Josu Rodriguez - promoted to B-team for this season, hoping he can soon challenge for the backup keeper spot

Defenders

  • Javier Jimenez - came through in latest intake, Gorosabel's long-term replacement
  • Josu Alonso - only other decent CB option outside of first team, could d a job if needed but stats aren't great
  • Borja Sanchez - developing nicely, will likely step-up to the first team next year

Midfielders

  • Andoni Etxeberria - bags of potential, not developing as fast as others, need his mental stats to improve I think
  • Jon Goni - signed from Espanyol, hoping he can develop well
  • Imanol Ojeda - good stats, bit lacking in potential

Attackers

  • Borja Bacaicao - solid first year with B-team, hoping he develops further to be Williams replacement
  • Xabi Irate - did great for U19s, will get game time with B-team, mental stats are a worry
  • Erik Martinez - lots of potential, stats aren't there yet, hoping B-team game time will help with that
  • Ander Villar - had an amazing year with the B-team, may replace Villalibre soon if he continues his disappointing form
  • Jose Antonio Lorono - another from the latest intake, looks like he could become a great player

-----

Very happy with some of the newgens coming through, but the lack of DM's and CM's is a slight concern, as well as a long-term newgen who could be an upgrade for Simon. Rodriguez looks like he will do a good job, but will not be as solid as Simon is. Fingers crossed for next years youth intake. There has also been a complete lack of any decent Basque newgens from other teams over the last season, so I'm completely dependent on who comes through at Athletic which also doesn't help.

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Real Sociedad A.I. just tried to 'cheat'... by using AML in DLF role and AMC in RMD. :idiot:

d8aa9d964b35b7a7967af266a241f10b.jpg

Unless my data analyst is bad... but i don't think so.

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2 hours ago, kevaggel said:

Real Sociedad A.I. just tried to 'cheat'... by using AML in DLF role and AMC in RMD. :idiot:

d8aa9d964b35b7a7967af266a241f10b.jpg

Unless my data analyst is bad... but i don't think so.

That's a bug. I'd create a thread with this info and share the pkm

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Anyone had any luck retraining Vesga into a centre back? Looks like he has the attributes for it, especially since there's not many other backup options out there to replace San Jose and it'd make him much more useful as a squad player?

Am also considering Pablo Hervais as a signing: scouts don't rate him but he looks like good cover for the wings.

 

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15 hours ago, enigmatic said:

Anyone had any luck retraining Vesga into a centre back? Looks like he has the attributes for it, especially since there's not many other backup options out there to replace San Jose and it'd make him much more useful as a squad player?

Am also considering Pablo Hervais as a signing: scouts don't rate him but he looks like good cover for the wings.

 

I didn't think much of that as I sold Vesga. It's a bit easier just to use Unai Nunez at the back. I also have Dani Vivian waiting in the wings as an option as well...

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15 hours ago, enigmatic said:

Anyone had any luck retraining Vesga into a centre back? Looks like he has the attributes for it, especially since there's not many other backup options out there to replace San Jose and it'd make him much more useful as a squad player?

Am also considering Pablo Hervais as a signing: scouts don't rate him but he looks like good cover for the wings.

 

Yeah agree with Jean, not sure there’s too much value given the existing strength at CB and also other options out there you could potentially pick up. 
 

Pablo Hervias is an interesting one, I’ve always thought his attributes looked decent, but I think with Larrazabal and Vicente you could look at internal options first, Unai Lopez as well! 

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I fancied having more than just Nunez as a backup option and not convinced San Jose will stay mobile enough for long enough for it to be worth renewing his contract or any of the other options are worth pursuing [apart from young Jorge Herrando, who looks like he could be a first teamer in three or four years]. At the moment the bigger issue is Vesga is moaning about the retraining. Dude, this is your chance to be useful enough to not be sold. 

Vivian looks pretty far from first team football on mine though at least he's finally agreed to renew his contract.

Larrazabal will get his chance before Hervais gets signed and Cordoba will probably end up a winger rather than a striker despite the retraining I'm doing, but a lot on the wings depends on whether Munain ends up forcing a move to Arsenal. Williams is definitely a striker as far as I'm concerned.

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2026/27 Season Review - Back to back titles, but was it all good?

 

Took me a while to do this season! I've been enjoying another short save experimenting with a deep low block system. 

We won La Liga for the second season in a row, the first time during this save that we've won it in consecutive years. Sadly it wasn't all rosey...we won it largely due to the other teams not doing that well. We finished the season on 90 points, with our closest challenger way down on 80 points - unusually low scoring for La Liga. The highlight was our resolute defence only conceding 16 goals in the league. 

In the Champions League we suffered a disappointing quarter final defeat to Lazio, 3-2 on aggregate in ET. We drew 1-1 at San Mames in the first leg, giving away a goal due to an individual error after dominating the game. In the second leg, the game was more even but we still had the better chances, sadly two more individual errors cost us for 2 goals, and also a silly sending off early in ET. A frustrating way to lose it but c'est la vie. 

We won the Supercopa and also the UEFA Super Cup to bolster the cabinet. 

We are making some tactical changes for next season. We are switching from our attacking 4-3-3 which has stayed fairly steady for quite a few seasons, to a more possession orientated system. As the squad has changed over the years, we really now have massive strength in midfield creativity, versatile forward players and a high work rate. A switch to a more balanced, progressive possession orientated system should suit us well. We are using 3 variants of roughly the same system, a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and a 4-1-4-1. The 4-1-4-1 sits a little deeper, useful when we need to be a little more defensively compact for example. The 4-2-3-1 operates with a two DM double pivot, which we will utilise if the opposition wants to focus play through an AMC playmaker. The 4-3-3 will be our go to system, and it's designed to play heavily through the middle, with all of the forward line on support duties - the idea is to create a possession orientated system based around a high line/high press, utilising the movement and skill of our midfield and attacking line to break down stubborn defences rather than a quick, pacey attack. The pacey attack has caused us a few issues against stubborn defences, so I am hoping this system change gives us a patient system that breaks down deep defenses, but also provides a system that can control games against good teams by restricting their chances to get on the ball.

 

The squad for 26/27:

Goalkeepers: Ojeda, Simon

Right Back: Odriozola, Sanchez (Villar is our young prospect coming through to replace Odriozola)

Left Back: Sukunza, Munoz

Centre Backs: Lafuente, Delgado, Nunez, Yeray

Defensive Midfield: Inigo Uriarte, Jose Angel Martinez

Central Midfield: Julen Uriarte, Oroz, Sancet, Merino

Right Forward: Iker Garcia, Inaki de Paula

Left Forward: Barrenetxea, Gonzalez

Centre Forward: Gabilondo, Exposito, Inaki Nunez


We really struggled with injuries this season and this left us really short at one stage. For this reason we're keeping the squad a little bigger for next season, utilising young Villar and Inaki de Paula in the first team rather than loaning them out. Hopefully I can get them all enough game time!

Big highlights development wise this season were Inigo Uriarte - he's really a rock at DM now and Inaku Nunez had an excellent season away on loan at Montpellier. Gabilondo continues to outperform his attributes and is almost undroppable. Julen Uriarte is still a god amongst men.

 

 

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FM does have the ability to throw the best curve balls at you when you're least expecting it.

Accepting actual money from overseas clubs for a soon-to-be 33 year old with 10 pace and six months left on his contract would normally be a no-brainer in FM, but Benat is my club captain and playing well in a title race we're currently on top of. And the Garcias are both currently out injured and so it'd leave me with Unai Lopez, Vesga and young Oroz plus San Jose who's the player I was really hoping to offload this window...

Am currently leaning towards waiting until summer when I might have more options than overpaying for Pardo.

 

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After a while out of playing, I've just finished the 25-26 season. We were always in the mix but hit a great run of form at the back end of the season, partly because we'd played all the big teams earlier on. We won our last eight matches and luckily Barcelona dropped a point at Sevilla in the penultimate round so we could overtake them. As long as we won away at rivals Osasuna, we'd be champions. We beat them comfortably (2-0) to lift the title. 

Villalibre was again a regular source of goals, and he was backed up by Williams and three regens; Orbegozo (our right winger), Velez (our more attack minded central midfielder) and Telletxea (who alternates with Barrenetxea on the left wing).

We picked up Odriozola in January when Madrid listed him. He's been superb. Everyone chipped in really, from the CBs to the other CMs. We need to improve our LB options - I'm trying to retrain one of our left wingers to drop back as there are slim pickings available. 

Next season, we'll be in the mix again and we'll want to do better in the CL. We were meekly knocked out by Monaco in the first knockouts. 

Screen shots of our best regens attached. 

 

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2027/28 Season Review - Domestic Treble!

 

A fantastic domestic campaign saw us take home La Liga (finishing on 96 points), the Copa Del Rey and Supercopa. In the Champions League we lost in the quarter final against PSG - considering we played 115 of the 180 minutes with 10 men after sendings off in both games, only losing 3-2 was no disgrace. We had right sided players sent off both times for two yellows, so I think the pace of their dribbling from Chiesa and Mbappe on that side kept drawing fouls. We were absolutely ravaged by injuries coming down the stretch, at one stage we could only field 15 first team players for a week including 3 games, due to injuries and two suspensions. We have a bit of depth in the B team but it was pretty desperate. We had 6 players out with 2 month+ injuries. None the less we held firm through the injury crisis to finish the season well.

Transfers - Nothing really of note here, just letting go of senior players as youngsters continue to come through. Nico Serrano left in January for a decent fee, he was my third choice LW now, and Mikel Merino left for China in January also. I wasn't too keen on loosing Merino, but a big 35million offer at 32 years old, when he wasn't a starting player was too good to miss. This also lined up with a change in formation meaning we needed less central players.

Tactically I switched mid season from my possession style plan to a more aggressive 4-4-2. This was predicated on the amazing form of Inaki Nunez who I had eventually loaned out to Nice. He was scoring for fun, so the opportunity to sell Merino and recall Inaki Nunez meant I switched to a 4-4-2 and utilised two up front. We had mostly the right players for the system and just one or two had to adapt their position which was fine.

Squad - 

GK - Ojeda, Simon
RB - Sanchez, Villar (Odriozola has declined quickly and is still at the club, but will leave if an offer comes in, otherwise he stays for a bit of depth).
LB - Sukunza, Munoz (We also have David Sanz who will replace Munoz as the back up, but I may loan him for another year to see if he develops any further)
CB - Lafuente, Delgado, Unai Nunez, Yeray. The latter is very much 4th choice now at 33 years old, with Nunez in his early 30s. There's a concerning lack of CBs out there and I've not had a good player in my intakes for a couple seasons now.
RM - Exposito, Sancet
LM - Gonzalez, Barrenetxea
CM - Julen Uriarte, Aimar Oroz
CM - Inigo Uriarte, Martinez
CF - Garcia, Gabilondo
CF - Inaki Nunez, Inaki De Paula

We have some half decent prospects coming through but nothing crazy exciting to yell about. Unless we get some talent coming through soon we're going to holding on to this current crop for some time. Fortunately all the key players are very young! You can see a few of the above have taken hits from their injuries - Iker Garcia and Gabilondo have had some decline, and one or two other are on red arrows due to injuries and are still recovering. Hopefully we can have a bit more luck next season with that!
 

 

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I started on Athletic a little bit before the year ran out, i'm playing on Touch tho and managed already two seasons in.

Somehow I could literally rob Ansu Fati and Pedri from FC Barcelona for like 20/30M and 4.5M and they've been class. Other spaniards were bought by my HOYD like Rodri, Miguel Rodríguez, David La Vibora and another bunch. This on the first season. I just bought Roberto López as it was all I needed, idk if it's just me but Sociedad sells players really easy to me.

Second season on and managed to get Oroz, Elizondo and Pardo on a freebie, and Barrentxea and Odriozola got transfer-listed and snatched both of them for 6M and 22.5M, and for the third season I got: Iván Martinez and Iker Muñoz on a freebie too.

On the other hand i sold Mikel Vesga to Madrid (wtf Zidane) for like 10M, Kodro to China for 7M, Leuke for 16M, Ander Capa for it's release clause, San Jose for 19M and De Marcos for 7M. Raul Garcia, Beñat and Herrerín are leaving on bosman on the beginning of the third season.

The only youngster that made to the first team so far was Dani Vivian And Nolaskoain, Sancet is loaned out and the other ones are not ready yet.

I won the league these two seasons and two copas too. Barcelona and Real were miserable on the first season but I was caught napping on the second one, and won the title by two points. On the UCL (2nd season) managed to get 6W on a group with Dortmund, Inter and Lokomotiv Moscow, but went on to lose 1-4 to Benfica, only to smash them at home by 5-0, then i beat Juventus by an aggregate of 5-1 only to lose on the semis with Liverpool 2-3 aggregate. Where i cameback from 2-0 in 45min and Salah went to score at the 87min.

 

Now I got my third season to start and a lot to work on. I'll post some screenshots later.

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On 03/01/2020 at 03:30, João14 said:

I started on Athletic a little bit before the year ran out, i'm playing on Touch tho and managed already two seasons in.

Somehow I could literally rob Ansu Fati and Pedri from FC Barcelona for like 20/30M and 4.5M and they've been class. Other spaniards were bought by my HOYD like Rodri, Miguel Rodríguez, David La Vibora and another bunch. This on the first season. I just bought Roberto López as it was all I needed, idk if it's just me but Sociedad sells players really easy to me.

Second season on and managed to get Oroz, Elizondo and Pardo on a freebie, and Barrentxea and Odriozola got transfer-listed and snatched both of them for 6M and 22.5M, and for the third season I got: Iván Martinez and Iker Muñoz on a freebie too.

On the other hand i sold Mikel Vesga to Madrid (wtf Zidane) for like 10M, Kodro to China for 7M, Leuke for 16M, Ander Capa for it's release clause, San Jose for 19M and De Marcos for 7M. Raul Garcia, Beñat and Herrerín are leaving on bosman on the beginning of the third season.

The only youngster that made to the first team so far was Dani Vivian And Nolaskoain, Sancet is loaned out and the other ones are not ready yet.

I won the league these two seasons and two copas too. Barcelona and Real were miserable on the first season but I was caught napping on the second one, and won the title by two points. On the UCL (2nd season) managed to get 6W on a group with Dortmund, Inter and Lokomotiv Moscow, but went on to lose 1-4 to Benfica, only to smash them at home by 5-0, then i beat Juventus by an aggregate of 5-1 only to lose on the semis with Liverpool 2-3 aggregate. Where i cameback from 2-0 in 45min and Salah went to score at the 87min.

 

Now I got my third season to start and a lot to work on. I'll post some screenshots later.

I can't speak for the other non-basque signings, e.g. Fati, but for the Sociedad ones this may be something that is different on touch to the full game. I've never played the other variations, just the main game so I can't say! Sociedad are extremely difficult to get players from normally (partially the club and then also the players themselves). I eventually got Barrenetxea for his massive release clause, Roberto Lopez was never interested. Pardo is a little easier generally as he's normally listed anyway. Oyarzabal is 32 now in my save and despite hassling him about a move for 7 or 8 seasons he has never been interested at all, so now it's too late for him!

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Just reached the halfway point in my season in La Liga...

Played 18, won 17, drawn 1.

Scored 36

Conceded 2

 

 

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22 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

Just reached the halfway point in my season in La Liga...

Played 18, won 17, drawn 1.

Scored 36

Conceded 2

 

 

We just came back from 0-2 down away at Atletico with goals on 87 and 90 +1 to salvage a 2-2 draw haha. We're gonna mess it up at some stage surely.

Edited by bowieinspace

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2028/29 Review - The (Near) Perfect Season

 

So much success, so close to the perfect season and a hint of sadness to just miss out on that.

La Liga - 1st place, 101 points. Won 32, Drawn 5, lost 1. 84 goals scored, 14 against.
Copa Del Rey - Winners, beating Valencia in the final 
Supercopa - Lost in semi final to Sporting
Champions League - Winners
Club World Cup - Lost in semi final to PSG

Having only conceded 4 goals at the halfway point in La Liga, I felt we had a chance of the invincible season, which is something I've only done a few times in a life where I've played far too much FM. However it's never easy to avoid that one unlucky result where the stars align for the opposition and things don't go your way. This time it happened 3 games from home - after clutch wins against Real and Valencia away, and coming back from 0-2 down against Atletico with 3 minutes to go, I really thought we had it. Unfortunately Villarreal away was our undoing, on one of those stupid square pitches that make no sense whatsoever. We played poorly, but still did enough to win the game, however didn't take our chances and they scored from one counter over the top - a combination of a poor performance, a resolute performance from them and a bit of bad luck. Definitely a bit sad about that, but it's so hard not to have one slip up like that at some point, so i can't complain. None the less a very comfortable win of La Liga.

In the Copa Del Rey we beat all the big teams on route to the final, beating Valencia comfortably on the big day. Valencia are very strong now in my save, finishing 3rd in the league last season and 2nd the year before.

In the Champions League, this was probably our finest hour. After an easy group draw consisting of Sporting Lisbon, Celtic and Shakhtar, we proceeded to a first knock out round against Benfica who are a very solid team and have produced a remarkable amount of talent in recent years. Our first Champions League final was a narrow win against them, since then they've sold a lot of players for big money, but seem to have replaced them with another generation of exceptional youngsters. A first leg away defeat 1-0 after a sending off for us mid way through the first half was disappointing, but I was happy to still be in the tie after the sending off. We then dispatched them comfortably in the second leg, to set up a quarter final date with a very strong Man Utd team. I fancied we'd have our work cut out here, but what followed was an exceptional performance away at Old Trafford and a 2-0 win, followed by a 2-1 success at San Mames - potentially our best two legged performance ever. Things didn't get any easier for the semi final though, drawing our nemesis PSG. We came from behind twice in the first leg away at Parc Des Princes, including a screamer in the 92nd minute by Alex Gabilondo - time and time again he pops up with key goals, despite not being the best on individual talent. I still fancied we were facing a tough time in the second leg, as we had been a little fortunate to leave with a 2-2 draw, and PSG's front line of Mbappe, Chiesa, Naci Unuvar and a mexican regen called Juan Huitron is better than anything other front line, and it doesn't get any better elsewhere in the side with world class players in every position (and on the bench). I think Julen Uriarte and perhaps Delgado would be our only players who would get near their team. We managed to scrap through the second leg with a 0-0 draw and an away goals win. We've had to beat PSG in both our Champions League winning campaigns, and I think they've knocked us out in every other year in recent times (or it feels like that anyway). That win led to a final with fellow Spanish giants Real Madrid - I felt confident here as we had beaten them twice in the league, looking pretty good both times, and the final followed suit. A 1-0 win but it should have been more. 

The Champions League completed a marvelous treble and our best season yet.

Following the end of the season we had our first venture into the Club World Cup, in the new format in the summer months. A group of Auckland City and Guadalajara saw us comfortable winners there, including a 12-0 victory against Auckland. We then drew Barca in the quarter finals, going 4-0 up before the game finished 4-3. The game was 48 hours after our last group game and our players were ruined at the end - Barca were in much better condition. We then faced PSG in the semi final after a few days of rest, losing a fairly close game 2-0, their world class talent told in the end. They deserved this one after we beat them in the Champions League (and the subsequently won the final comfortably). We played a young team in the 3rd/4th playoff against Bayern, losing on penalties. I was really looking forward to this competition, but the fixture congestion and timing of it during the middle of the off season made it a bit of a joke to be honest.

 

Transfers

We paid decent money for two new players this year - they aren't that good but we have 300million in the bank and I will spend whatever it takes to bring in any decent players at the moment. Unai Pena and Ruben Saenz (see below) are both in our squad now looking towards the future, Pena is a central defender (an area we are desperately short following departures) with a good attribute spread and potential to improve, while Saenz is an interesting attacking midfielder - I'm trying him on the right of midfield in the WM (A) role, hes left footed but perhaps that adds an interesting option so giving it go.

We said goodbye this year to some club legends - Yeray retired, Unai Nunez was declining and moved on to Napoli, and Alvaro Odriozola left at the end of his contract. We also sold Aihen Munoz who is now 31 and constantly whinging about first team football despite playing a lot - we had a good replacement in David Sanz so I was only too happy to get rid of him for nearly 30 million so he can waste away in China. 

 

Tactic

e2q9FGy.jpg

Here is our 4-4-2 that brought so much success this year. Definitely not a plug and play tactic as it revolves heavily around the skills of Julen Uriarte in the AP role. On the left side, we have two supporting roles providing passing options to him, with movement between the lines and runners down the right side for through balls and passing options for him. The movement of the DLF opens up space for the WM (A) and WB (A) to exploit, and the AF is there to finish the cut backs they provide. The CM (D) is there on the right hand side to provide cover for those players. We occasionally get caught out on that side, generally if the WB pushes up and loses the ball, but the CM (D) (Inigo Uriarte) has great mentals so provides exceptional cover. 

 

Squad

Goalkeeper - Ojeda, Simon, Galdos - Galdos is coming on well and will replace Simon in the next few years.
Right Back - Sanchez, Villar - Two great options here, Sanchez a bit more solid and consistent, while Villar is a great game changer/attacking option.
Left Back - Sukunza, Sanz - Sukunza is the main man, but Sanz provides excellent competition.
Centre Backs - Lafuente, Delgado, Pena, Jose Angel Martinez - Lafuente and Delgado are world class, outside of them there is a massive lack of decent basque centre backs with no good youngsters I can find. Pena needs to improve or this is a real problem area if I get an injury.
Right Midfield - Exposito, Saenz - Exposito is the main man with the young Saenz there to provide an alternative option. Sancet played here last season, but I've moved him to CM (D) after Jose Angel Martinez has been turned into a back up CB.
Central Midfield (Defend) - Inigo Uriarte, Sancet - Inigo Uriarte is our club captain and key pivot in the midfield, Sancet deputises.
Advanced Playmaker - Julen Uriarte, Oroz - Julen Uriarte is our best player by far and runs the team on the pitch with his attacking play. Oroz is a very capable back up to him and probably deserves more starts.
Left Midfield - Gonzalez, Barrenetxea - Gonzalez is my main man here, as he stays wider and does a better job for the team. Barrenetxea cuts inside, so while overall I find this a bit limiting for the system, he provides a alternative and has moments of magic.
Deep Lying Forward - Iker Garcia, Alex Gabilondo - Iker Garcia gets at least one fairly significant injury a season, but Gabilondo is one of my favourites and deputises superbly. 
Advanced Forward - Inaki Nunez, Inaki De Paula, Jose Manual Vera - Inaki Nunez is our main man and top goalscorer - he didn't bag quite as many this season as the year before, but being left footed he's perfect for this role. The others deputise well, and Vera in particular has shown a serious eye for goal. The latter has gone on loan this season to play week in, week out, while De Paula covers the front line.

Young talent not mentioned - Eduardo Lasa, Eneko Garmendia. I see these two as our other promising young players, Lasa will eventually replace Sancet in the CM (D) role, and Garmendia I think has potential in the DLF role with a bit of training. His star rating isn't great but there's something about him that tells me he's going to be better than that suggests, from his attribute spread to the way he's developing.

The forward roles above stay a little fluid, I prefer to have a left footer on the left side, so, Inaki Nunez dominates that role, and the others kinda rotate in and out a bit with Iker Garcia being his regular partner. I've sent Vera on loan this season as I wanted to keep De Paula at the club for mentoring reasons. Vera I think is the one I'm more likely to keep long term but the game time away from the club will benefit him, meanwhile De Paula needs mentoring due to lower determination and a weaker personality. The only issue I have is that neither really fit what we want to do, unless I play a right footed advanced forward, but that means playing them on the left up front or changing the tactic. There is a left footed striker out there at Alaves, only 16 though, but he is one I want to pick up for the future. 

Edited by bowieinspace

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Always love reading this thread.

One day I’ll do a save, it’s a wonderfully unique club.
Keep it up :thup:

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Haha get in there @macca72 it's a great time!

 

Season Review 2029/30

Another amazing season, we won the Champions League for the second year in a row, La Liga (once again narrowly missing out on an Invincibles year in the last few games), Copa Del Rey and the UEFA Super Cup. We lost in the final of the Supercopa. Ojeda won World Goalkeeper of the Year which was cool, and Julen Uriarte got into the World TOTY as well.

Also Spain won the World Cup, with Ojeda, Lafuente, Delgado, Fran Gonzalez and Julen Uriarte all getting into the World Cup Dream Team, and the final line up had 7 Athletic players in the 11, with another 4 on the bench. 

Given we've had quite a few years of domestic dominance now and back to back European titles (combined with the above World Cup excellence), I think I'll take a break from this one as I've realistically achieved all I can. I'd like to see Julen Uriarte get into the Ballon D'or reckoning but it's not enough motivation to keep me going. Most of my squad are mid twenties so I can't see too much change in fortunes. Not sure what to do from here so I think I'll take a bit of time to think about it before proceeding :) 

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Glad to see I've finally caught up! 

Will start my annual Athletic save asap.

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Bit late to it this year but just kicked off my yearly Athletic save.

Sancet, Vivan and Vencedor look good prospects this year (currently got them all on loan)

wMIJLri.jpg

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Wondered what people's experience and ceilings were with these three. The only three I've brought in so hopefully they develop well.  

Oroz

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Rodri

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Vazquez

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Fingers crossed have a good first season then I'll go in for Merino, he was fantastic for me last year.

Also has Unai López has a bit of a boost this year? he looks better than what I remember. 

Edited by ben carter

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@ben carter I'm not familiar with the last two but Oroz is really good!

I don't believe Unai Lopez has changed that much but he has had a bit more first team experience compared to FM19, so he may have been boosted a bit.  I think he may get another slight increase for FM21 or in the data update in the next few months!

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I don't think Rodri and Vazquez are Basques (the latter is at Valencia). 

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20 hours ago, dothestrand said:

I don't think Rodri and Vazquez are Basques (the latter is at Valencia). 

They aren't. They are under 16 tho so that makes them easier to sign

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I've posted this in bug for clarification but I though I'd ask here too.

Currently in 2021  and there is a 16 year old Spanish winger playing at San Lorenzo, Argentina.

I can enter transfer/contract negotiations with him but he wont be able to join me till he's 18 in 2023.

Will he just gain Basque nationality or is that only for U16 players? He would have been in Argentina for 18 years bu the time he finally joins me.

 

Follow up: I holidayed to the day he signed and he immediately gained Basque as a second nationality and now has Spanish as his nationality and Basque and Argentina listed as second nationalities.

Edited by ben carter
Update

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Is it true that Marco Asensio is eligible?

I'm doubting upon starting a save again. FM20 hasn't been kind to me with all these ME issues which really affect the way I play the game. Might be swayed, though, not sure.

I am enjoying the reads over here, though!

Edited by TOMetz

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3 hours ago, TOMetz said:

Is it true that Marco Asensio is eligible?

I'm doubting upon starting a save again. FM20 hasn't been kind to me with all these ME issues which really affect the way I play the game. Might be swayed, though, not sure.

I am enjoying the reads over here, though!

Asensio's father is Basque but he grew up in Mallorca, so he wouldn't be eligible. Robert Navarro, who left Monaco for Real Sociedad in the Summer, was also mooted as a potential Athletic Club target, but that would've been a loose definition of the Basque only policy as he was in born in Barcelona and started in their academy. 

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U guys play with strictly basque or laxer requirements such as sign spanish players 16 or younger

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39 minutes ago, Swordsman said:

U guys play with strictly basque or laxer requirements such as sign spanish players 16 or younger

Basque only. No 16yo automatically getting Basque second nationality. You'll get enough regens coming through your own system and from the other Basque teams. 

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23 hours ago, Swordsman said:

U guys play with strictly basque or laxer requirements such as sign spanish players 16 or younger

Basque only for me, as @dothestrand notes that IRL a random 16y/o from outside the Basque region and no Basque connection would never be given eligibility to play for Athletic like that. Obviously Athletic's policy is self imposed and is done case by case, so you'll get the odd one occasionally who stretches the boundaries, but being able to pluck multiple top players from other Spanish academies every season isn't reflective of the actual policy in any way and FM doesn't have it right at all doing it that way.

However I think how people choose to play is totally up to them, and it's a fun save either way. I wouldn't be disappointed in any way if someone chose to utilise signing Spanish 16 year olds - not everyone cares about the realism/policy side of things or has a personal connection with Athletic :) 

Edited by bowieinspace

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19 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

Basque only for me, as @dothestrand notes that IRL a random 16y/o from outside the Basque region and no Basque connection would never be given eligibility to play for Athletic like that. Obviously Athletic's policy is self imposed and is done case by case, so you'll get the odd one occasionally who stretches the boundaries, but being able to pluck multiple top players from other Spanish academies every season isn't reflective of the actual policy in any way and FM doesn't have it right at all doing it that way.

However I think how people choose to play is totally up to them, and it's a fun save either way. I wouldn't be disappointed in any way if someone chose to utilise signing Spanish 16 year olds - not everyone cares about the realism/policy side of things or has a personal connection with Athletic :) 

for realism and much more a challenging game, i will stick to strictly basque only.

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6 hours ago, Swordsman said:

for realism and much more a challenging game, i will stick to strictly basque only.

Yeah that's the crux of it really! It adds a fun challenge, because you still get some transfer interest but it tends to be longer term pursuing players for lengths of time, it makes it much more satisfying when you finally get the player you've wanted for years! You also get to explore different tactical approaches because you don't always have the right players and enough coverage to play any preferred systems you may have (or have to retrain sensibly). It's great if you want that type of long term investment within a save, but it's not for everyone as the transfer side of things is a massive part of the game for many.

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9 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

Yeah that's the crux of it really! It adds a fun challenge, because you still get some transfer interest but it tends to be longer term pursuing players for lengths of time, it makes it much more satisfying when you finally get the player you've wanted for years! You also get to explore different tactical approaches because you don't always have the right players and enough coverage to play any preferred systems you may have (or have to retrain sensibly). It's great if you want that type of long term investment within a save, but it's not for everyone as the transfer side of things is a massive part of the game for many.

Agreed. It tells you something that Athletic Club are usually the only save that goes beyond 3 seasons for me. And with Athletic Club, although the first couple of seasons may be tough, you can win trophies and titles soon enough - as our saves show.

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OK, jumped back into this save and winning La Liga in 2026-27 makes it back to back titles. We won the Super Cup too, beating Real Sociedad on penalties, which was nice! Knocked out in the first knockout round in the CL - we need to make more progress there.

We brought in some veterans; first, Laporte for just under 20m. LB has been our weakest position for some time, so he's playing there as we have four strong CBs already. He'll be good for another couple of seasons. Griezmann was available for less than 1m - he was terrible physical stats but as a bench option, he'll do - still has great technical attributes.

I might look to cobble together enough money to sign Real Sociedad's main striker for 168m (we have 110m at the moment, maybe 3-4 outgoing players might help). He's crazy good. We'll see if that happens though.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 18.34.37.png

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 18.34.50.png

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 18.37.40.png

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Wow that lad from Real Sociedad is excellent! Are you disappointed you didn't get him earlier or was that not possible?

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5 hours ago, bowieinspace said:

Wow that lad from Real Sociedad is excellent! Are you disappointed you didn't get him earlier or was that not possible?

He was good when he first started too, but always had high release fees. I met his release fee of 168m (despite not having the money) to see what he wanted - I talked him down to 185k pw and a 2.5 signing on fee (originally 9.5m!) I'll see if I can sell anyone across the Summer to make the difference but I'm not going to do that on the cheap. Villalibre has done fine for me, scores 1 in 2 pretty much, but he's 29 now. I've had 40m bids from China for him but ideally I'd keep him even if I signed Goni. I'm hoping Yeray or Nunez get a silly bid and maybe the same for one or two midfielders (I'm stacked in the centre, probably have eight options).

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@bowieinspace Could you share some insights on your youth development? (This includes Bilbao Athletic for me). How are your staff, facilities, do you do youth (both team and individual) training yourself, how do you decide on whether to keep them in the U-19's or Bilbao Athletic or go on loan (figuring no one uses Basconia anyway :D ), do you give them massive amounts of playing time in preseason, ...

I have a feeling that my youth development is a lot slower than yours.

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@TOMetz It's likely @bowieinspace puts more work in than I do with youth development but the first thing I do is improve the staff. Your HOYD, if I recall, isn't great, so replace him. Regularly ask the board to improve youth recruitment and facilities when it's available. I take control of all teams' coaching - I delegate very little generally. If there are players who're a couple of years off being first team quality, then it might make sense to bring them into the first team squad - set them up in mentoring groups, control and observe their training more closely and to set them to play for the B or u19 squads. I try not to loan those players as you have less control over their development but they often request a loan move in their contract negotiations, so be careful and try to get rid of that demand. If you renege, they'll be unhappy and if you need them to sign another contract, they won't. Give them some game time in cups perhaps.

When the players are really on the cusp of first team football or you don't have room for them to play regularly, I would loan them to a top division club and request they get regular football. Your coaches will usually say if a player needs regular football for his development. I've got a 21yo midfielder who is so good, but he's one of 7-8 competing for 3 spots (and he might start half of the league games) so I've loaned him to Porto last season and Roma this season, and he's got regular football each time. You obviously can't control how they're coached but hopefully you've done that work and it's the game time they need. I'm generally stacked for midfielders so am looking to retrain them in their 2nd/3rd positions more to cover weaker positions in the squad. TBH, if that doesn't work out, I'll move them on.

I don't think you'll ever be short of youth options. Some intakes are good, some less good. But you obviously have other clubs you can raid. Generally, I'll bring in a few Basque youngsters each season from elsewhere whilst their release or compensation fees are low. A lot of big clubs try to poach your own young players. Sometimes you'll get insulting offers. Sometimes you'll get silly offers for players who might never really make it - often I'll sell in those situations. You might also want to consider whether a young player might develop well at another club - if you sell any young player with promise, get a good buy back clause, even if you sell for less than you'd like. 

I think after around 8 seasons, I've only got a handful of original players (Simon, Nunez, Yeray, Villalibre, Vencedor and Sancet, who I've just sold). Everyone else is a 'real' Real Sociedad player (Odriozola, Barrenetxea), an Athletic Club regen or another Basque regen. So the players will come through. Generally the first 2-3 seasons are the hardest. 

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