Derrubando Os Três Grandes: Santa Clara, an FM 23 Story, Part 3

Punching Above our Weight Class

This season was all about survival. Which meant trying to be as active as we could in the transfer market and improving the squad on a limited budget. My previous post sort of tells the story of how that went, but at the end of the day (weekend really, I spent a long time on the transfer window) I was pretty sure I had improved the squad. I was reasonably sure I hadn’t made it worse, but the FM Gods are a fickle bunch…

First, the outs:

Costina played in 2 games for us, and was very forgettable in both. At 32 years old, he wasn’t a starter anymore, or even a primary backup, so letting him go on a free was not a hard decision to fight. Anderson Carvalho was in the same boat, and he went to Lugano on a free. Kyosuke Tagawa was actually already on his way out the door when I took over, it just took a year for it to happen. I knew holding onto Kennedy Boateng was going to be an issue. It became a bigger issue when he came to me in the offseason wanting a new contract, that would make him the highest paid player on the squad with a salary match clause. When I looked at his season, 27 games played, 1 goal, 1 POM and a 7.02 rating, I said no, made him what I thought was a reasonable offer, and he liked it so much he went to Bordeaux for 2.1 Million…

Patrick, Italo, and Martin Maia all went out on loan, and Sønderjysk picked up Patrick’s optional fee at the end of the season, and I wasn’t really upset by that, at all.

Released player wise, Marco retired, Andre Mesquita, Rodolfo Cardoso and Messias all left on frees. I didn’t try too hard to stop them…

The In’s was a bit of work. OK, it was a lot of work, especially with the behind the scenes stuff going on with the loan market. But when the summer transfer closed, I was pretty sure we had done some “very good business”.

The Summer Transfers

As an aside, these are player profile screenshots from the middle of the season. I had to delete and reinstall my copy of the game, and when I did that it also reset the hotkey I had set up for screenshots. Which I did not notice until about the January transfer window. There are days when I wonder if this is the 21st Century I was promised…

Lucas Paes was brought in for depth at the Keeper position. At the time I signed him, I think he was the best available keeper on a Free, the ‘Hatyes Big Games’ and a few other thing’s showed me why, but believe me, there were worse options available to me.

Luan was brought in to be a backup, but he did end up starting a respectable amount of games for us. A little bit older, I thought that was offset by his Playing Style abilities, and from an attribute point of view, aside from the low Bravery he’s a solid enough player.

Eray Comert was easily one of the best signings this season. The Swiss International, by way of Valencia and Seattle, made the DM position his own, and had a very good season.

I signed Samuel Telles to be part of the M(C) and DM rotation. Another one of the “Good, but not great players” he also had a solid season for us.

Vítor Gonçalves was supposed to be a depth signing, one of those players who you would be OK starting a handful of games and coming off the bench in most cases. Instead his versatility and solid attributes meant he started 30 games for us. His physicals fell off a little bit at the end of the year though, which is slightly concerning.

Erdal Rakip was out one big money spend, and I actually have some experience with him from my Youtube save last season with Vardar. I kept trying to sign him, he kept saying no. I guess he likes the sun and sand of the beaches as opposed to Skopje, and that’s OK. Rakip is a versatile player, who I wanted to play M(C) more often than not. the 4 star CA, 4 Star PA was probably a steal at 245K, but he wanted out of Malmö because he had been relegated to the bench. I got 30 solid starts out of him, with 1 goal, 4 assists and a player of the match, and that I think is 245K well spent.

Leandro Miguel is a youth keeper with some potential. I brought him on board to see if I can’t help his development along, and maybe make some money on the back end.

Gonçalo Figueiredo I brought in for striker depth. The good news is there’s nothing really bad about him as a striker. The bad news is there’s nothing really good about him as a striker. But then, as a guy who came in on a free, if he ends up with a couple of spot starts and off the bench appearances, I won’t be too upset by that. I hope.

Thomas Antunes is the D(L) version of Figueiredo, but with bigger holes in his skillset. He’s still young enough to try and get some decent training in, and maybe some of those skills can come up, but if the crossing and first touch don’t get into the high single digits, he can forget about trying to be a D(L).

I know I haven’t talked about my formation much, I am working on another post about it, going into the numbers more, but at the end of the day, it’s a modified Swiss Bolt, a 5-2-3 with a DM. Hi Tempo, short passing, with some PI’s that I rarely use, but it’s been an effective formation for us. Except when it hasn’t been of course.

I’ll be doing a post on this later. It’s not my typical style, but I am having fun with it.

The season started off pretty well:

Famalicão beating us at home was annoying, we were doing a really good job of controlling the game until Olmes Garcia scored 2 in 10 minutes. The Moreirense was one of the few games where we didn’t have at least as many shots as our opponent, but we fell apart in the final third. Losing to Porto was sort of expected, but losing by three was not. Our xG this match was 1.25, but again we fell short in the final third. That said, scoring 9 in the next 2 games while only conceding 2 was very nice.

We got lucky against Estoril, I will be the first to admit that, but there are times when you don’t complain too loudly either, and this was one of them. What this run og games showed me is that on the whole, we are a better squad than last season, because I am very sure that if last seasons squad was playing, we would have lost at home against Farense, and drawn with Estoril and Feirense. In fact I was quite proud of the fact the number of draws we had was down. Would I prefer to have some of those losses be draws? Sure, who wouldn’t, but by the time the January transfer window opened, we were fighting for a top 6 spot in the league.

The January and End of Season pickups

Bojan Dmitrović. I don’t know why FK Željezničar let him go on a free. But he has International Caps already, no real weaknesses in his game for the position he plays, he’s 2 1/2 star current, 5 star potential? Even if after 5 years of training he doesn’t get to 5 stars, I am sure I can turn around and sell him for at least the 22M his current minimum value is. He did get some starts over the course of the season, and he didn’t make too many mistakes. He didn’t have a lot of highlights either, but at this point thats about all you can ask for.

The Summer loan market was a mess. The winter market less so, the number of outrageous monthly fees and like was down, and good players were willing to move, and teams were willing to let them go without charging a ransom. Nemanja Ilić from Partizan and Kerem Kalafat from Beşiktaş were both solid contributors. Ilić had 5 goals, 4 assists and 2 POM’s in 18 games for us at AM(L), AM(R) and a couple of appearances at M(C), but Partizan didn’t want to let him come back for the next season. Kalafat was a solid contributor at the WB(R) and I would have picked up his option if I had the 450K to spend, but alas, we’re still digging around the couches for transfer monies.

Sidnei Tavares was the only other player we spent money to get. a M(C)/DM, he has some attributes that I do like, his Passing skills are very nice, as are his Ball Control skills, and for a person who I wanted to be a bench player, he filled that role capably.

Sabino Gamboa, Carlos Dinas, and Nico Seiler are all youngsters I brought in to help fill in some spots on the U19 squad. If they ever see first team playing time its because I struck gold with them (unlikely), or we’ve been relegated and I have no other options.

Where we made our season

I would bet that if we were playing with last seasons squad, the games against Gil Vicente, Braga, Chaves and Vitoria would have been draws or losses. Benfica beat us fair and square, Sporting scored two early, and again our lackluster performance up top did us in. Porto was Porto, I suspect its going to be a minute before we can do anything against them. But with all the wins we had crept up to 5th place, and were fighting for 4th. Our Youth Intake was embarrassing, with one mediocre player worthy of a contract. I shan’t be posting it, lest you recoil in sock and horror at it’s brute ugliness….

A Punchers Chance

We did get lucky in some of these games. the Ilic goal against Maritomo was nice, as was the Marcos brace against Farense. We came back to draw Braga, which on paper looks like an accomplishment, except they were having an offseason and finished mid table. I didn’t realize we were still in the Cup until I saw the Semi Final Second Leg announcement and we thumped Torreense, meaning we were going to face Benfica in the final. Drawing Gil Vicente clinched us European football, we could do no worse than 5th in the League, but the last month of the season was the proverbial ‘Bridge to Far’.

The draw against Vitoria made our job that much harder, and while the win at Sporting was nice, they had a solid lock on 3rd place and played a rotated side against us, so I am not counting it as beating Sporting. Benfica hammered us to clinch 2nd, and then two weeks later hammered us again to win the Cup. But we finished in 5th Place, European Football! And I am quite happy with that.

The Três Grandes are still the Três Grandes though, and while we were competitive, there is still a very wide gap between us and them.

Our finances are improving though, but at this point I still count not losing a lot of money as a victory. The clubs reward for our fine season of play was a new contract, and a tiny transfer budget of 203K and a payroll of 79K, which isn’t that much more than we are paying now.

Squad wise though, we have some issues. Quintilla is leaving on a free. He wanted Star Player Money, and as much as I like him, and his 10 assists, I can’t afford to pay him that, not if I want to improve the club. We need help in our front Three, I think it speaks volumes that Ilic came in the January transfer window and had the best all around performance of the attackers, and while Mohebi had some nice games for us, he wasted too many opportunities in games as well. Sure, on paper 14 goals, 4 assists and 4 POM’s is nice, but when you consider the next highest scorer was Valente playing CM, and our primary attacking mids had 9 between them, it’s a minor miracle we won as many games as we did. If we want to challenge for better European football, we need to get better up top, but given our budget constraints and the wackiness that is the loan market…that’s an iffy proposition.

So we go into the offseason on a high note, and a well deserved one I think because despite the teams shortcomings, we did very well. A nice cup run would go a long way to improving our finances, that or a sugar daddy takeover, but without some improvements to the squad, we may find ourselves fighting it out in midtable, or worse.

That said, the first brick of the foundation has been set. Hopefully we don’t need to build the Great Wall to topple the Três Grandes.

Thanks for Reading!

FM_Jellico

My Dentist is going to be able to send his kid to college after all…

I knew one of my current saves was going to be more of a challenge. A relegated club, not the strongest financially, competing in a very good league, with several bigger clubs ahead of it. I like those types of saves, there’s something to be said about bringing one (or more) of the teams that have dominated the league for so long back down to earth.

And then inside the game, you have new challenges to overcome as well.

However, this version of FM, I have been surprised by the one area I was not expecting to be surprised by, which has caused me to work harder in this save than any other save I have done.

And that area is the Loan Market of Transfer Window.

Now, before I continue let me say first and foremost, the mechanics of the loan market/transfer window are not broken. What is broken though, is the economics of it.

Like all markets, the transfer window consists of buyers and sellers. A Sellers market is when a club has a player (say…Endrick) whom everyone wants, and they can drive up the price, and get the most bang for their Buck/Euro/Pound. A Buyers market is one in which Team Meh puts Joe Average out there for loan, and noone wants him until the last day of the window, and the only offer a team gets is the best offer, so if the club wants Joe Average to go out on loan, that’s the offer they are going to take. Right?

Transfers in FM23 make no economic sense to me. Young players on good teams are listed for loan, and then the team wants 175K a month when they play, 350K a month when they don’t play, 100% of their salary covered, and Oh Yeah, here’s a 33.5 million optional future transfer fee and 750K for when you when your Nations Cup tournament. And it seems like it is like that for 95% of the players you look at out there.

Now, I will admit, Santa Clara’s financial situation is not the best. While our finances are secure, we don’t make a lot of money. My budget surplus is about 1.9 million Euro’s, my yearly expenditures thus far have been covered by competition and TV monies. But I only get 10% of the transfers and my payroll is the lowest in the Primeira. My scouting is Portugal only, and I have turned down creating a B squad and a competition U19 squad because I cannot afford the staffing for it. Its a challenge, one I look forward to overcoming.

That in mind, a lot of my loan attempts are going to be looking for player’s who’s clubs are not going to want outrageous salary demands, or high monthly payments, preferably no monthly payments. But it seems any young player loan listed by a team who’s in the top two divisions of their country has the starting point of the negotiations somewhere near Oberon.

For the astronomically challenged, that is one of the moons of Uranus.

Now admit it, you giggled a little-+ there….

Now, there is a point of view put forward that says loans made by a club take into account the requesting teams finances. To which I say that is a Blivet, if not Two Blivets worth of Bad Information not grounded in objective fact.

Case in point:

Meet Giorgi Abuashvili, AKA the less capable Georgian Khvarradonna.

At Santa Clara, he would be very good, amongst the best players at the club. My Scout and my coaches say he’s 4 star current, 4 star potential player. His versatility makes him even more useful to me, and his wage is within my range as well. If Porto want me to cover 100% of his wage, I can. Last season he was on loan, at Le Havre:

I would expect to pay more than that, seeing as how he’s still young, played very well, and Porto is looking to get him playing time.

So I made an Inquiry, and about fell out of my chair when Porto’s starting offer came back:

What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here? This offer is 120,000% more than what he went out on loan for last year. That is not a typo. And I am sorry, while 3 goals, 6 assists and a POM in 31 games is pretty good, it’s not in the range to drive his asking price up that much. IMO of course, feel free to disagree and tell me why.

“But Jellico, you can negotiate them down,” I hear some of you say.

No. No you can’t. I tried, multiple times. With multiple players, over the course of six hours. I was grinding my teeth so much Household Six offered to go get me the mouthpiece my son wears when playing soccer. At one point she thought I broke a tooth because I hit the keyboard in frustration, but that was when another player at another clubs offer was 97K a month starting fee. For a 29 year old winger who hadn’t played more than 4 games a season the past four seasons.

So I played the waiting game, and the last day of the transfer window, went back to Porto to see if they would come down on their offer. This is what they said with 16 hours left in the window:

The €600 was the most the club would let me pay. But Porto still wanted 20K a month for him. And as far as I could tell, there were no other clubs interested in loaning him, in fact he stayed at Porto, and is playing for the B Squad. They musty not have been that interested in loaning him out…

I don’t know, maybe the transfer window has always been like this, and I just never noticed it.

I will say one thing though, I am positive the bidding club doesn’t give a tinkers dam about your finances when you make a loan offer.

Case in point, this is Giorgi from my other save, at Saint Etienne, and at that club my finances are in way better shape, much more so than at Santa Clara.

I haven’t fully scouted him, but I think it’s safe to say he’s close to the same player in my ASSE save as he is my Santa Clara save.

And yet the offers are pretty similar…

Look, I get economics is the art of explaining to tomorrows crowd why the predictions made yesterday didn’t come true today, but what’s happening in the FM23 transfer market with regards to loans is just…weird.

What am I missing here? Other than a peaceful night of sleep because my jaw is sore…

Derrubando Os Três Grandes: Santa Clara, an FM 23 Story, Part 2

The 1st Season: Fighting, Clawing, Scraping.

So, we have a mic of screenshots here, the dark ones are from the Statman skin, the light ones from the Mustermann skin, both available on the SI forums. They are both brilliant IMO, and well worth a look!

The season did not get off to a good start. Luckily everyone’s expectations were low enough that it didn’t really matter, but as a coach, it was frustrating.

With the world cup being played, there was going to be a decent winter break, and I for one was thankful, because of the first 20 games we played, we won 6, drew 6, and lost 8, which at first glance seems respectable, but when three of the wins come in cup competitions against lesser opponents, it really does open your eyes a little (OK, maybe a lot) as to how poorly we were doing.

There were some “Expected Losses”, losing 3-1 to Sporting was one of them. Losing to Porto as well, despite the fact they were up 2-0 after 17 minutes, Fabio Cardoso getting sent off and a straight red in 25th minute gave me a glimmer a hope that being a man up, we could do something. Instead Eustachio scored in the 35th minute, and they defended really well the rest of the match. Draws against Arouca and Casa Pia, who were both bottom of the table at that point, were frustrating, as was losing to Boavista in the League Cup Quarter final, only to turn around six days later and beat them 4 -0 had me reaching for the scotch.

MMM….Scotch….

But we had a process, and I wanted to stick to it, and so after we beat Boavista 4-0, I went back and looked at the Fall games, and other than the 3-1 losses to Porto and Sporting, the only other multi goal loss we had was against Portimonense, and that was 2-0. Against Maritomo we were a man down after the 27th minute, and it took a PK for them to score. Arouca clawed the draw back in the 82nd minute, Casa Pia on a PK in the 85th, we drew with Benfica after scoring in the 67th minute, Braga beat us in the 88th minute, Rio Ave fell apart the second half but we fell short a goal. The more I looked at it, the more I realized we weren’t really getting outplayed, we just weren’t making the most of our chances, and I was hoping the 4-0 against Boavista was a sign of things to come. The other part of me said I was being delusional, but that voice in my head wasn’t invited in and was kicked out short order. Trust in the process, I kept reminding myself. The Process being: Hang on for dear life and don’t get relegated.

So we went into the January transfer window, maybe not with optimism, but cautious optimism. To be honest I suspect most of the backroom staff were trying to figure out how Uruguay, who beat Brazil 1-0 in the 2nd Round, Spain 1-0 in the Quarters, and Argentina on Penalties in the Semi’s, beat France 2-1 in the Finals.

And South Korea beat Argentina to take 3rd place. Somewhere Messi weeps…

Those of us who figured that out were spending out time trying to figure out how South Korea beat Argentina 2-0 to take 3rd Place. We helped our finances by selling Andrezinho to Valerenga for 100K, and Tassano to Legia for 250K before January. Victor Bobsin left for Empoli and a 1.6M Euro deal, Allano went to Cuiba for 525K, Rildo went to Goias for the same amount in February, Ricardo Fernandes went to Fakel for 42K in April, and Adriano went to Nice for 750K in the summer transfer window. The only real loss was Bobsin, the others were older players who while decent, were not irreplaceable. That said, when I did when to strengthen the squad, I couldn’t bring anyone in, because I didn’t wages to pay for those players who were even considering it, and don’;’t even get me started on loans this version of FM, they are all the way befuckled IMO.

So we hunkered down, trained as best we could, and tried to get the new year off to a good start.

I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to 2023.

A 4-0 win at Estoril, beating Gil Vicente 2-0 at home, beating Chaves 2-1, beating Vizela 1-0, getting our revenge against MRT by beating them 2-1, when January ended we were 5-0, with 11 goals for and 2 against, and climbing the table

Starting 2023 of on the right foot

Well earned draws against Famalicao and Sporting were very nice, but then Vitoria thumped us 3-0, and a back and forth 5-3 at Porto closed out February.

March was quiet, as we beat Arouca and Pacos de Ferreira, and then April was…frenetic. Our youth intake was pretty solid all things considered, with Michael Santos and Gervasio Cymbron both 4 ½ star potential candidates. Players who’s contracts were expiring were still wanting too much money, and I was pulling out what was left of my hair over some of the negotiations. Games wise, beating Casa Pia was expected, as they were bottom of the table, but only by one goal was disconcerting. Portimonense held us off in a 2-1 loss, we beat Rio Ave 2-0, and Benfica beat us easily 3-1. However, a week later, we beat Braga 1-0, and with 4 games left, we were in 6th place, fighting for European football.

The Two best Youth Intake Prospects, and climbing our way above mid table

Then we crapped the bed. Boavista, who were in a relegation battle, shut us out 3-0. We beat Estoril, 2-1, ensuring their relegation battle with Boavista would continue, but a Victor Carvalho goal gave Gil Vicente the 1-0 victory. Against Chaves we had nothing to lose, 6th place was our spot, and with a 1-0 draw we waited for 5th Place Braga to beat 11th Place Famalicao in the Portuguese Cup, therefore pushing a Euro Conference spot to us in 6th place, and instead they lost 2-0, and we lost out on European football, with a final record of 14-8-12, with 53 goals for and 50 goals against, on 50 points, only 32 behind League Champs Porto.

Noone but ourselves to blame

A look at the Year end statistics will tell you all you need to know about the team though, and to be honest it was both better and worse than I expected. In an 18 team league, finishing 6th in the Offensive Statistical categories is very good, finishing 13th in the defensive ones, not so much. We gave up to many draws and close losses, and finishing last in the league for shutout certainly didn’t help either.

Thanks Braga…

From a League Statistic point of view, we were solid:

And yet, at the end of the day, it’s mostly a façade.

As with almost every club in the Primeira, we had a lot of loan players. While the ones here had some very good performances, Matheus Babi was our leading goal scorer for example, none of them are coming back. Replacing them is going to be hard, because despite overachieving this season, and finishing in the black, the teams finances are shakier than a Lebanese Belly Dancer. Our transfer budget is only 154K, our allowable payroll is just 1K higher than what we are paying now, and that’s before the players I try to bring in on loan clubs start asking me to pay 100% of their salary and huge monthly fees. Our scouting is at a bare minimum, I turned down the opportunity to create a B squad because we can’t afford it, and none of the facilities are getting upgraded.

Times like these I remind myself “Custer Had a Plan too…”

Then the last day of the season came this bit of news:

Dammit

And I still haven’t gotten my Endrick Signature.

Thanks for Reading!

FM_Jellico

Derrubando Os Três Grandes: Santa Clara, an FM 23 Story

PART 1

I have not been playing Football Manager that long, since FM17 really, but in that time I have managed to play quite a few teams in quite a few countries. But one country I have yet to manage in is Portugal. This year I wanted to do more on the blog, and thought taking a club that has not had a lot of success in the first tier of its countries football pyramid could be fun, and Santa Clara fits the bill perfectly. And that’s before I found out some of the issues it has.

Portuguese football has long been dominated by the “Big Three”: Benfica, Porto, and Sporting CP. Between them they have won all but two of the Primera Liga Titles, and our goal is to take them down a peg, or three, or more.

I am going to err on the side of previous good fortune and luck, and have recreated Thierry Davout as head coach. My first big save was with USL Dunkerque in FM17, and Thierry Davout was the man who led us to glory for 20 seasons. This time around, I am hoping he provides more of the same.

The ski I am using at the moment is the excellent Statman skin, created by _Ben_ on the SI forums. For those of us who are a bit more Data Driven, this skin displays a lot of information we would normally have to hunt for in the data hub. You can download it here: Statman 23 It is one on many great new skins being created this year, and I suspect we will see a few more during this save.

Historically speaking, Santa Clara is the most successful club on the Azores Islands, and are the westernmost top flight club in Europe. The spent one year in the Primeira Liga in 1998-99, but were relegated the next season. They were promoted again in 2001, but were relegated again in 2003, and spent the next 15 year’s in the 2nd Tier, before being promoted again at the end of the 2018 season. The 202-2021 season saw them finish 6th, while reaching the corner finals of the Taça de Portugal. This season a poor start saw Mario Silva leave the club, and on 11/23/2022, Thierry Davout took over. What did he find? Well, things could be going better.

While for the moment the club is in the black, financially speaking they are Insecure, and more importantly are currently overspending on their wage budget by about 15K Euros. The club is paying off a 5M Euro loan, it will drop off the books in 2025.

This means a few things:

  • Terminating the contracts of those staff members who don’t meet our criteria is going to be impossible for this season, because we won’t be able to offer the wages we need to to bring in better people.
  • If we can mutually terminate contracts of those staff members who for the moment are “extra” we will.
  • Cutting back where we are spending money, which as you can see was already done by the time we arrived. For the moment we are scouting Portugal. It’s all we can afford to scout, and as my scouting department for the moment consists of a Scout and Chief Scout.
  • Doing what we can to avoid relegation. At the moment we currently sit 14th in the Primeira.

The Good News, such as it is, is that we only have 2 games until the World Cup Winter Break, and then the transfer window, and looking at the squad there is opportunities to sell players and make some money.

The Squad

The Good News: We have a solid Squad. Average age is 24.8 years old, the team as a whole has an overall Determined personality, and there is a decent amount of depth at each position.

The Bad News: We have a solid Squad, 7 of our contributing players are in on loan, and while we have some quality players, there is a distinct lack of youth development going on. No, seriously I have one 16 y/o and on 19 y/o on the roster. My U19 squad is nonexistent, and the U23 squad has 5 players on it.

Keepers

Gabriel Batista is going to be my 1st Choice Keeper for now. 2 1/2 star Current Ability, 3 1/2 Star Potential Ability, the 24 y/o comes from Flamengo, but is not having the best season so far, with 15 goals allowed in 10 games with just 1 shutout, and a 6.32 rating

Marco has been with the club for 6 seasons, but at 35 y/o his best days are most likely behind him. In 4 appearances this year he’s allowed 7 goals with just 1 shutout, for a paltry 6.15 rating. Compared to the other keeps on the squad he’s 3 star current and potential ability, but if his past game performances and and indicator, he won’t have that 3rd star for long.

Ricardo Fernandes has 7 appearances for the club last season, but the game does not have any numbers for that. at 2 1/2 start current and potential ability, at best he is probably a spot starter,

Center Backs

This is the second thinnest position at the club. While we have other defenders who can play D(C), Kennedy Boateng and Paulo Eduardo are the only two who play this role naturally.

Boateng, a 25 y/o from Togo had 9 Caps for the International Squad, is your prototypical D(C), tall, strong, with very good jumping and capable heading. The 3 star current, 3 1/2 star potential back is defensively solid, I am hoping to get him to contribute more on the set piece side of the ball now.

Paulo Eduardo is one of the good youth players we have. At 20 y/o, the 3 star current, 4 star potential player is almost as good as Boateng. A Free pickup from Cruzeiro, he has the makings of one of those defenders whop is going to have a long, solid career.

Right Backs

Diogo Calila is currently listed and wanted, but I am going to take him off the transfer list. This year the formations I am using tend to have wingbacks in them, and Calila is a solid wingback. At 24 y/o, the 3 start current, 3 star potential ability player has few weaknesses in his attributes, but nothing really stands out either.

Pierre Sanga is the other right Wingback on the squad, but at 32 y/o the 3 star current and potential ability player isn’t as good technically as Calila is. He’s coming off a broken jaw suffered in training, I hope that is not a sign of things to come.

Tomás Domingos can play wingback, but he’d prefer to play in his natural fullback position. At 3 star Current, 4 star potential the 23 y/o is the best defender we have from a technical point of view, and probably from a mental point of view as well. He’s one of the best crossers on the team, so chances are likely he and Calila will split starting duties for the rest of the season.

Left Backs

While Paulo Henrique can play Wingback, Xavi Quntilla is better at it.

Quintilla is going to be on the sidelines until January though, a twisted ankle has the 4 star current 26 y/o in the physios office. Quintilla can also play D(C) quite well, and I expect him to get game time at both. At 5’9″ he is not the most physical of defenders, but he more than makes up for any deficiens there with his very good Mental and Technical attributes.

Paulo Henrique is also 26 years old, and with better overall physical and Technical attributes, the 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential player will most likely be the starter, with Quintilla starting at D(C) next to Boateng.

20 y/o Ítalo has 4 star potential, and I am hoping to get him enough spot starts and off the bench appearances to help him reach that. That he can also play D(C) means he will have more opportunities to do that.

Defensive Midfielders

Victor Bobsin is a 22 y/o Brazilian who could be a stalwart for the club for years to come, if other clubs don’t notice how well he is doing and come to snap him up first. the 4 star current, 4 1/2 star potential has no real weaknesses from an attribute point of view, a 7 FIN being his lowest number, and his Work Rate, Passing, Technique and First Touch make him an ideal facilitator, the pivot from defense to offense. If he does as well as I think he can, it could be a problem holding onto him.

Adriano is a 23 y/o, 3 star current, 4 star potential player who has caught the eye of Panathinaikos, and the clubs financial position means we might not be able to hold onto him. Which would be a shame, as a less capable version of Bobsin I would have no problems starting him if I had to at either DM or M(C). Hopefully he will still be here after the transfer window.

Midfielders

One of our stronger positions in the squad, until you look a closer and realize the best one is 32 years old and the next two best are in a loan. The good news is we have a few players who can play M(C), but these five are the primary ones.

Oscar Barreto is more accomplished at M(R) and the Attacking midfield positions, but he will be a backup for the M(C)’s and AM’s more often than not. The 29 y/o is 3 star current and potential ability, is solid physically, mentally, and the skill specific technical attributes are good as well. Maybe not the start he was back in the day at Millonarios and La Equidad, but he is a capable, versatile bench player, and you can never have enough of those.

Anderson Carvalho has been the midfield General for Os Açoreanos going on 5 years now, but how much longer the 32 y/o is going to stay at 4 start current and potential ability remains to be seen. He’s a BWM of the truest sort, Brave, Aggressive, with excellent teamwork and work rate, and a capable defender if need be. He’s not one who is going to be scoring a lot of goals, or making a lot of assists, but I suspect many a scoring sequence will start with his right foot.

Pedro Bicalho has the making to become the next Anderson Carvalho, at 21 y/o the 3 star current, 4 1/’2 star potential player has the potential to become a very good CM. Currently on loan from Palmerias (I wonder if he could get me Endrick’s signature) he might be out of our price range in the transfer window, but I am going to do what I can to get him back on loan next season.

Bruno Jordão is also in Santa Clara on loan from Wolves. At 24 y/o, the 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential player has been solid off the bench for Santa Clara, and I suspect that is a role he will continue to have going forward, given his positional versatility. The only thing that does worry me is his injury proneness, but I find if you start worrying about that too much, thats when they get hurt.

Rodrigo Valente in a natural AM(C) but I don’t use that in my formations at the moment. He is a very good M(C) though, and I think the 21 y/o 2 1/2 star current, 5 star potential player can have quite a good future there as a CM. He’s been languishing on the bench so far, but I aim to remedy that.

Attacking Mid’s, Left

Similar to our midfield, on paper this looks to be a position of strength, but also similar to our midfield, many of these players are here on loan.

Gabriel Silva would prefer to be an AM(C), but my formation utilizes Inside Forwards. His strong right foot, good speed, pace, technique and off the ball, augmented by his very good flair and better than average Dribbling, finishing and first touch make this 20 y/o a key bench player and starter, while his positional versatility is also a plus. Also on loan from Palmerias, the 3 star current, 4 1/2 star potential youngster could be a very good player in a few years time, hopefully for us.

Rildo is the slightly older, slightly poorer version of Silva, a high flair, high technical Inside forward whose physicals are not as good as they could have been I suspect, but the 22 y/o 3 star current, 4 star potential player has had several solid appearances off the bench this season, and I don’t think that is going to stop anytime soon.

MT is a 21 y/o Brazilian on loan from Vasco de Gama, and at 3 star current 4 1/2 star potential, his positional versatility (He plays a very good M(C) and Striker) would make him a great asset to the squad. We do have a 700K optional future fee on him, but I don’t see us being in a place financially at the end of the season to exercise that option, which means we need to get what we can out of him this year.

Costina is a 30 y/o 3 star current and potential player with too many things going against him right now. First and foremost is that he is recovering from an Achilles injury, and is going to be out the next 4 to 7 weeks. Second are his physicals, while fast and pacy, his strength, stamina and fitness leave a lot to be desired, and his positioning and work rate are not the best either. He has yet to play a game for th club this season, and I will try and move him on on the transfer window.

Filip Stevanović is a 20 y/o with a bright future ahead of him, which is probably why Man City paid Partizan 6.75M Euros to geth him. He had a decent spell at sc Heerenveen last season, and this year has been a solid contributor. I am going to get what I can out of the 3 1/2 star current, 5 star potential youngster, and with City paying Fati 54M to come to Manchester this season, I think my odds of getting him on loan again next season are good.

Attacking Mid’s, Right

It’s a good thing a lot of my attacking midfield players can play both sides, because AM(R) is probably the weakest area in the squad.

Allano is a solid player, the 27 y/o 3 1/2 current and potential Inverted Winger can also play the left side. He is one of those players who does not excel in any area in particular, but is very solid in those attributes that are best for his position.

Kyôsuke Tagawa is leaving in the January transfer window, and to be honest he won’t be missed. I have better younger options with more promise.

André Mesquita is a versatile player, and that’s about the only thing he has going for him really. 2 star current and 2 1/2 star potential ability means the 25 y/o has most likely reached his developmental limit, and he is lacking in to many areas for me to find a place for him on the squad. If he is still part of Os Açoreanos when the transfer window closes, I’ll be surprised.

Bruno Almeida is a slightly older, loan player version of André Mesquita. He’s versatile though, capable of playing all the attacking Mid and Midfield positions, which makes him a nice player to have on the bench. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having him as a full time starter though. Luckily though I won’t have to worry about it, because even if Trofense wanted us to pay an optional future fee for him, it’s not going to be 300K.

Attackers

Definitely an area of concern, I suppose I should be happy a lot of my Attacking Mid’s can also play up top, but I would prefer a dedicated striker.

Matheus Babi is that striker for me, a 25 y/o Brazilian who’s 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential ability is respectable. On loan from Club Athletico Paranaense, I doubt we are going to be able to get him back for next season, and thats a problem.

João Marcos could be one of those players whose attributes and ability are greater than the sum total, but I doubt it. At 22 y/o the 2 star current, 3 star potential player is not as good as some of the Attacking mids I have that can also play up top.

If Messias is starting a gamne, that means we have not yet trained the Strikerless formation I am moving to as a result of injuries to my attackers.

Season Goals

I think we can finish midtable, somewhere in the 9th to 13th range, and seeing as we are currently in 14th place, I think that is well within the realm of possibility. Due to our financial constraints, we aren’t going to be able to sign new players, or staff, so we may have to play the loan market a little more in January, but we’re only allowed eight, and were at six right now.

No, this season is about survival in the Premeira, and doing well in the League Cup as well. Until the teams finances are a bit more solid, we’re going to have to play the waiting game, and I am OK doing that for now.

Next update will be after the January transfer window has closed, we will take a look at the formation I am using, and take a look at some tips and tricks I can use to get ahead in scouting without having a scouting budget.

Questions or comments, please leave them down below and I’ll answer as fast as I can. Thanks for reading!