Wow, it’s been a long time since I last loaded up FM24. Not because I don’t love the game or this Brescia save, but because sometimes it’s best to put something down for a while and focus on other things. The world of Football Manager can take up a lot of time. Sometimes we need to pop our heads up and take a look around.

Where were we?

Let’s get straight to the action. We finished last season 3rd in Serie A and as such, qualified for Champions League football way ahead of schedule.

Am I worried it’s a step too far, too soon?  Absolutely!

Am I excited to see the team i’ve forged head out onto the pitch to the Champions League music? HELL YES!

So, here’s a few points I want to get across on last season’s performance.

Attacking:

  1. Our attack is well rounded. Our goals and assists were all spread out pretty evenly which is great to see.
  2. We scored lots of goals early in games but dropped off a lot as the game went into the final stages. Clearly, fitness is an issue. Or bad substitutions? In both cases, I blame the manager!
  3. We finished 4th for goals scored (66) with 1.74 goals per game and 6th for Non-Penalty xG. 
  4. Our crossing was elite – we finish 1st for crosses completed per game and crosses completed ratio. As this is the game plan it’s very pleasing. 
  5. We struggled with possession. We lost the ball the most in the league and our pass completion ratio ranked 13th. We play shorter passing so it’s not like we’re losing the ball to endless long balls… maybe the players aren’t good enough for our Slightly Higher Tempo. Or maybe it’s due to the fact we’re cross heavy… something to keep an eye on.

Defending:

  1. We have the 9th best defence in the league, conceding 51 goals.
  2. Our tackling ratio of 79% is the second highest… however we rank 18th for tackles won! So, if we don’t have possession 50% of the time and aren’t tackling, what are we doing?
  3. Well… we block a lot of shots (5th) and intercept the ball a lot, ranking 5th with 20 per game. 
  4. We rank 17th for effective counter pressing… which is an improvement on dead last the previous season… but still points to us being too passive and easy to play though in our mid-block. 

The Squad: Who do we have? And who do we need?

Again, I’m going to try to keep it brief here. All the below is in the hope I don’t lose any players – which I know, is very unlikely.

Goalkeepers

The Goalkeeper position is set for next season with Ivor Pandur remaining the number 1, with Alessandro Plizzari backing him up and getting plenty of opportunities. 

Central Defenders

Rugani proved he was worth the £8.5 fee and proved to be one of the best aerial defenders in the league… which is great as that’s what he was signed for. Mendes played well and lead the team in passes per game (55) whilst on left, Sosa was steady and not as mistake riddled as last season. Backing them up we have new signings Efe Sarinka (20) and Andres Ferro (24) who did well when called upon and I’ll be looking them to continue their development next season. We also had Andrei Motoc out on loan who did well enough in Serie B (6.89 Avg, 92% pass ratio, 79% header ration and 75% tackle ratio) for me to keep him around the squad next season, at least for the first half of the season when we’ll have extra games due to European football.

Verdict: I’m happy with Central Defenders at the club and think the extra games coming up will allow them all to showcase their skills. 

Wingbacks

At Wingback, I’m picking up the £3.3m option attached to Nkounkou’s loan deal and I’m happy with Corrado backing him up on the left. On the right, the on-loan Marc Pubill performed well but his loan option is much more, at £5m. I think I can potentially upgrade, but I also need to take in account that he’s only 22 and is on pretty low wages (currently £5k p/w), so I may be able to sign him for reduced wage and still have him develop. Alexander Jallow is also unhappy as I wouldn’t give him the new contract he wanted so he may also leave. 

Verdict: The left side is sorted, whilst the right flank is very much up in the air. Watch this space as there could be two new players here next season. Hopefully not but you never know….

Midfield 

The most complicated area of the team…. the Creator role was filled by Van de Beek for most of the season. Whilst he did well with 5.80 progressive passes/90 and 1.65 key passes/90 from his withdrawn position, I can’t help feel he’s wasted back there and would love to utilise him as the Mezzala. 

Currently, the Mezzala role has seen quite the battle for the starting spot. Both Besaggio and Pereiera Da Costa have split time there with both scoring 3 goals, but Bessaggio getting 9 assists to Da Costa’s 6. From the stats below you can see that they’re both pretty evenly matched. Whilst this makes it hard to pick a first choice, it means there’s no drop off in quality when they’re swapped in and out.

This also make it hard for me to relegate one of them in favour of Van de Beek

The midfield Destroyer role was filled by Fabbian and Bisoli since the January departure of Alvaro Sanz to Monza. Bisoli has chosen to move on to see out his playing days with regular first team football, which leaves us short a Captain and team leader… This leaves Fabbian as the Ball Winning Midfielder… however, like Van de Beek, I do think he’s wasted and would be better in a more dynamic role though. I could try him as a Box to Box Midfielder but this could lose the 3-2 build up shape I want. Anyway, he won 76% of his tackles (2.52 per game) and is in the top 10% of central midfielders for possession won, so if he ends up staying as the Destroyer I’m won’t be upset. 

Verdict: I think I’m in a situation where any of the four main players could be poached before the new season starts. Mezzala is fine for depth, for Ball Winning Midfielder and the Regista roles need some healthy competition adding. 

Strikers

Up front, Bianchi and Feiertag were a fantastic duo and between them scored 40 goals. Bianchi finished as the Advanced Forward with Feiertag as the Deep Lying Forward, however both as well rounded enough to fill either role. As discussed earlier, we’re terrible at counter-pressing, so I’m considering swapping Feiertag to a Pressing Forward.

What I lack up front though, is depth. Dion Beljo did well in his loan spell, scoring 6 goals, but his price tag of £29 million is ridiculous and therefore, I’ll be looking to replace him as well as being in another option. One option is last seasons signing Raul Moro who spent the season out on loan at Westerlo in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League. He impressed and scored 9 goals and bagged 5 assists in 35 appearances. However, he achieved those goal contributions from a Right Winger role in a 4-4-2, so there’s potential he can do even better as a deep striker. At 23-years-old he should be ready to contribute to the first team squad.

Verdict: I’m expecting to be fighting off bigger clubs to keep hold of Bianchi. Especially after being announced as the top striker in Europe with his 23 goals. Hopefully he’s still around for next season. Despite Moro potentially being in the first team squad I think I need more depth and may look to bring in a more experienced striker. One who’s already played European football would be ideal. 

U18s Success

In great news, the U18s won their league, finishing 6 points clear of Inter (2nd) and 14 points ahead of AC Milan (3rd). 

17-year-old striker Robert Fiori finished as top scorer with 18 goals, despite spending the second half of the season out on loan as Ascoli. He was replaced in the lone striker role of the 4-3-3 my U18s played this season, by Guiseppe Finardi, who scored 15 in 29 games. Also standing out was Right Wingback Ali Taylor, who notched up a massive 17 assists. Neither are ready for the first team squad so hopefully, I can find good loan placements for them next season, 

Loan Report

I had a total of 11 players out on loan. Two of which, Bertagnoli and Moncini are older players who were on the transfer listed with no takers and neither have a role in the team going forward. So let’s focus on the rest.

Vilardi did well in his short loan spell and, at the age of 20, I’m hoping to get a Serie B loan next season for him. The same goes for Funes who did well in Serie C in his first year away from Argentina. 

Moro and Motoc have already been discussed and will be in and around the first team squad for at least the first half of next season. 

Nuamah has been a disappointment this season, he did well in pre-season and I thought he wasn’t far off the first team, but eventually decided to send him on loan However, he’s not kicked on and progressed. Like Vilardi and Funes, he’s now 20 and probably has one more chance to develop enough to grab himself a place in the first team squad. 

Also not performing well out on loan, was right Wing Back Yeferson Paz. A £2.4m signing 2 seasons ago, he’s yet to live up to his potential. This season was spent in Serie B with Frosinone, but despite their 4th placed finish he was only able to score 1 goal, 3 assists and an average rating of 6.82 for the season. I won’t be able to recoup my outlay on him so I’m unsure how to progress. 

Recruitment Focus

One area I’ve really fallen down on in FM24 is recruitment. Due to the first two seasons having a really restricted scouting budget my hands were tied. However, this season I was able to vastly expand this… but it still took to the second half of the season get my Recruitment Focus set up properly. As you can see, I’m looking for players in Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Scandinavia and Croatia. 

Having these running for a few months has given me some good options which i’ve split into my various shortlist per position or role. 

Depending on how many players I can keep hold of, those shortlists could be very busy!

Transfer News: Joining us in July

I’ve already made two signings who will join us at the start of next season. 

The first is one I’ve mentioned in a previous update. Ciro Vetrini will join from Arezzo and is a very promising Defensive Midfielder who was highly sought after. 

Secondly, is Livano Comenencia who I’ve picked up  for £100k from Juventus – just 2 years after his £2.6m move from PSV. Naturally a right-sided full back, he can also play in midfield, which is where I’ll look to use him as a Ball Winner. I’m hoping he plays well enough in pre-season to be back up to Fabbian, He played for Juventus Next Gen last season so it’s hard to judge how he did – but my scouts LOVE him and think he can be a good Serie A player. Hopefully he shows me what made Juve buy him in the first place!

 

New Stadium

In other news, the promises of a new stadium have finally come to fruition. The Luigo Corioni Stadium’s 29,000 capacity will add an extra 10,000 seats compared to our current Mario Rigamonti which should create extra revenue and bring us into the 21st Century. With the grand-opening planned for the 2028 season, we’ve got a 2 year wait and hopefully a successful European campaign will go a long way towards paying off the £58m cost!

Wage Budget

Finally, I want to briefly touch on the wage budget. I’ve been uncharacteristically terrible at sticking to it so far, in order to bring in the players we desperately needed. However, now established in Serie A, and with chances being high that I’ll be signing higher profile players, I really want to make sure I keep a handle on the wage situation.

Currently, next season’s wage budget is at £500k per week. Broken down by player group, the maximum weekly wages would look like this:

Star/key players (x4) = £37,500 p/w

Regular Starters (x7) = £21,400 p/w

Squad Players (10) = £15,000 p/w

At the moment, Van de Beek is my top earner on £30k per week, so I’m saving a lot of budget from the Star Players pot.

From the Regular starters, Sarikaya (CB) earns £24k p/w, Pereiera Da Costa earns £27,500 and Pandur is on £27,500 p/w.  I don’t mind paying that extra for Pandur as a good 1st choice keeper is really an Important/key player so he’s on £10k less than his realistic cap. Da Costa will need to really earn his money and prove he’s a step ahead of Besaggio in the Mezzala role otherwise I may as well get rid and bring in someone cheaper. Sarikaya is a new signing and should be a key part of the defence for years to come so I don’t mind him earning his £24k as he develops. 

No Squad Players are anywhere near the £15k cap so again, money is being saved there too. 

I need to do two things:

1 – Ensure any new signings are within this structure (unless they’re a game changer!)

2 – I currently have 5 players classed as Star, Important or Key players so at least one of those will need telling they’re now classed as a regular starter. Toys may be thrown from prams. I’ll make this change immediately so they have chance to get over it whilst on holiday!

Coming up next

Will I have a midfield? That’s my main worry. All my starting midfield players are wanted by higher profile clubs. 

I also need to ensure I build a squad which can compete in the Champions League early rounds and stand up to the extra games being played. 

Have I even got enough homegrown players? Who knows!

It’s going to be a busy one!! 

 

Author

  • ThrowingCopperFM

    ThrowingCopperFM is known for unraveling complex FM strategies, often using Girona FC as a canvas to illustrate his tactical theories. Whether it's penning down comprehensive guides on mastering promotion in FM or sharing bargain player finds, ThrowingCopperFM's content is a treasure trove for aspiring managers. His active Twitter engagement further demonstrates his enthusiasm for football discussions beyond the virtual realm, making him a well-rounded and appreciated contributor in the FM community.

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