Welcome or welcome back to previous readers of my blog. I hope everyone is staying safe and well during these times. Today’s post is an introduction to my FM21 save and my plans and aims for the year.
If you missed it, I revealed my choice back on youtube here it is.
The Club I will be managing for FM21 is AS Saint-Étienne in France. The reason behind this is last year with Bolton i really enjoyed getting into Europe and trying to chase down the title challengers, And with PSG dominating Ligue 1 and France there should be a sustained challenge for me domestically as well as in Europe.
AS Saint-Étienne have been a breeding ground for young talent over the years and with the signing of Adil Aouchiche from PSG this summer on a free to build the team around going forward.
Having looked at the squad on the Beta I’m even more excited. Its a very young squad with lots of development needed for the players. Which leads me into my plans for the save.
AS Saint-Étienne Plans
Every save I like to have a plan, With Bolton it was to clear the debt and take them back to the Premier League, With AS Saint-Étienne it about developing youth. I’ve come up with a set of rules I want to play by this year and they’re as follows.
Maximum of 1 signing for the first team per window (2 a year)
The reason behind this is because I want to focus on developing youth, But there will naturally be gaps in the squad and also we will see players move on. Limiting myself to just 1 signing per window will mean I really need to narrow down on where best to make the signing, If I need a Center back but I have one who’s about 12 months away from being ready so I don’t want to stunt his growth. Do i sign an ageing stop gap or is there another position with nothing coming through the system that needs our attention? This will be where the challenge lies.
Can sign unlimited Under 19’s BUT they must complete one season in either the reserves or U19’s before being promoted to the first team.
“Oh so you’re just going to sign all the wonderkids” Well no, In my head I’m thinking i’ll mainly focus on Under 19s from France and Africa but I also won’t be stock piling youths, it will be more about long term investments. If i can see i have a 27 year old Left back that will need replacing in 3 seasons and I haven’t got one in the system or through intakes then I’ll scout around to find a prospect. I’d imagine the first few years we might see a few U19’s signing while I get the squads aligned but beyond that it’ll just be cherry picking.
If I sign an Under 19 for the first team he comes out of the 1 per window allocation
This is where I’ve made sure we can’t just go out buying all the best Under 19’s, the ones I buy will be development talents and will serve their time in the development squads, minimum of 1 season. It will also give me a year to fine tune where I see their long term development going.
Every player must have a minimum release clause in his contract, Maximum of 3 times his value. For the starting squad this will be implemented when I renew, any signings have to have it implemented in their contract when they sign.
I’ve added this for a few reasons, Previously with young talents I’ve managed to sign them to 5 year deals with option to extend and and they end up staying for years, whilst realistically turnover at clubs are a lot higher. Another reason is I’ve found that players who I’ve signed at 18 are first team players on the same contract at 22 which again is unrealistic. So the thinking is as their value increases their release clause will become more appealing to the AI so I will either have to renegotiate their contracts to increase their clauses (again maximum of 3 times their current value) or look to move them on for the best deal I can get. You often see young players who break into the first team sign new deals every season depending on their success and I think this could be a way to replicate that.
Contracts must have a clear pathway plan implemented, What season I see the as “breakthrough player” “squad player” “star player” etc
Again this goes towards the not stockpiling of players, by having a clear pathway the player understands his status and I should also. That being said it should also mean the player will become unhappy if I don’t stick to what I say. Why did I sign him as a breakthrough for next season if that was never going to happen.
As always I will be keeping a close eye on finances. AS Saint-Étienne start with £14m in the bank and a £7m transfer budget. But there is not much money to be earnt in France domestically, Around £8m prize money unless I finish in the European places with a maximum of £20m for winning the title, A lot of income will come from player sales and we will need to keep an eye on the wage bill too.
We need be restructuring the youth set up early on to lay the foundations for a successful save. Getting the right coaching staff in place for their development and setting up the correct individual training for each player and monitoring their progress. We also need to decide with certain players once they’re 18 if they’d benefit more from a loan out than playing for our reserves.
The first team
The first team had a bad season last year finishing 17th and have lost some big stars this summer, Fofana to Leicester and Saliba finally making his move to Arsenal. Cabaye, Diony, M’Villa and Perrin leaving too. It’s the right time to start the rebuild. The aim for the first season is mid-table which suits us as it gives us a year to get things in order. There is a few old heads in their final year of contracts too.
I’m going to do a separate post on the current squad so one to watch out for but I’ll be highlighting key players and youths with that.
I’m looking forward to this save and the restrictions I’ve put in place. Hopefully we can be successful and maybe win a title from the might of PSG. Hopefully you will all enjoy following it too.
Thanks for reading and see you soon