A Football Manager Story: Transfers and Preseason

Stu Forster

In which I try to remake Tottenham Hotspur in my own image.

On Monday we discussed a bit about how I was going to approach my Football Manager game with Tottenham Hotspur. Today we're going to look at my summer transfer window and the pre-season results.

The keys to my man-marking tactic would be work rate, determination, and mobility. There never is much place in any of my FM saves for players with low work rates. After looking at the attributes for my squad in work rate I was quite pleased. Only Hugo Lloris and Iago Falque were below 10 (on a scale of 20). For Lloris it doesn't matter much and Falque is young enough that I can work with him to improve it. Defoe and Adebayor are also, unsurprisingly low in this attribute. Gareth Bale and Younes Kaboul both also only possess a 12/20 in work rate, which actually was surprising. Needless to say I wasn't going to get rid of those two.

The same was true of determination, with much of the squad being about 10. Only Benoit Assou-Ekotto fell below that magic number. I found this a bit disconcerting, but given BAE's personality the number seems about right. I'll have to keep an eye on his performances in my tactics. The other key was mobility. Most of my squad possessed the required fleetness of foot and agility except three players. Tom Huddlestone, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Steven Caulker.

Gylfi was always going to find it hard to find a spot in my team because I don't play with an AMC, but it would be hard to move him in the first window because he just joined Spurs so I resolved to train him up so that he could play in my team. Because we're a little thing at right wing and he has most of the attributes needed for an inside forward I decided to train him for that position. Caulker is young and has plenty of time to develo. Huddlestone, I'm not so sure about.

In the end, I decided to definitely try to move 4 first team players: Huddlestone, Gomes, and Carlo Cudicini, and Jermaine Jenas. I'd consider offers for just about any other player.

Next came time to evaluate my needs. I definitely wanted another striker, but I did not have the budget to sign a world class player in the summer. So I set my sights on a young player that I could develop and would eventually replace Defoe and Adebayor. That was a definitive need. I felt like everything else would be a luxury. Unfortunately, some early pre-season injuries forced my hand and I had to seek out injury cover for Aaron Lennon, Assou-Ekotto, and Mousa Dembele.

Here's what I did:

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In total I spent £31 million pounds on 4 players. I sold 4 players for £15.5 million. I took a bit of a loss on the window, but nothing terribly crippling. I still have £22 million to spend in January if I need to. I bought Ademlison as my young striker for very cheap. Here's how he looks:

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Aaron Lennon went down for two months with a thigh injury and so now I was forced to play Dempsey on the right with Bale on the left. That left me with no cover at either position so I turned to FC Porto and bought Argentine winger Juan Iturbe. Iturbe is young and a bit raw, but his potential is through the roof. I don't expect him to play much, but he'll be useful in the Europa League and in Cup matches.

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Likewise, Benoit Assou-Ekotto went down with an injury. He hurt his knee and is out for three months. See, FM is very similar to real life. Now, I was left without much cover at the wing back and left back position. I don't have enough CB depth (since I'm playing a 3 CB formation) to play Vertonghen out of position, so I put out feelers for a left back and it turned out Davide Santon was available. Santon is, like most of my purchases in FM, young and full of potential (insert Stachelock joke here). The price wasn't too bad so I jumped on it.

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My final purchase was another youngster. Mous Dembele also picked up an injury and I didn't have much cover at advanced playmaker anyway, so I bought Adryan from Flamengo for less than £1 million pounds. I have a feeling he and Tom Carroll can form an excellent partnership in my midfield in the future.

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So those were my purchases. I then had the preseason to get everyone gelling together. The preseason went pretty well and I won't bore you with too many details. Spurs, of course, had their training camp in the U.S. and played a few MLS teams in their preseason friendlies. Here were the results:

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Despite the poor results in the American tour I was pretty pleased with how things went. New York Red Bulls got a late winner and New England got an own goal from Caulker. The tactic is working well. I had to adjust my three-man defense tactic so that the wing backs cut inside as opposed to hugging the touchline. This allows them to move into midfield and prevent my anchor man and advanced playmaker from getting overrun. It seemed to work well and my last two friendlies showed much better results.

I know face the opening of the Premier League season with an away fixture to Stoke City, then a home match with Norwich City, and a visit to the Madjeski to play Reading. Overall those are three winnable matches. I'm happy with my squad and confident that I have the required depth to compete on multiple fronts and secure Tottenham a place in the Champions League.

So, what do you think of the job I've done so far.

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