Developing The First Team

156I’ve finished all of the transfers that I want to make for Sturm in the transfer window, so I thought I’d do a quick update to summarise what I’ve been up to. As the transfer window started, I was given a budget of absolutely nothing, so I came to the conclusion that it was best to stick with what I had, and begin to re-sign those that were coming to the end of their contracts. Sound like a good plan? Football Manager had other ideas.

In the last update, I talked about our top striker Marco Djuricin, and how he wanted to leave Sturm, and had clubs (particularly Werder Bremen) sniffing around him. This would have been fine, but he’s got a £1.5M release clause in his contract, that had me worried, particularly considering we already had a lack of depth upfront, with the other options nowhere near the calibre of the Austrian international. Well, in the end, it was Vitesse Arnhem who matched the release clause, and off he went for 1.5M. I couldn’t do anything to stop him.

Nevertheless, £1.5M is a decent amount of money in Austrian football, so I felt I could bring in a replacement, and continue to build around what we already had. I then decided to start re-signing those that had contracts expiring in a year, particularly Beichler and Hadzic, who were bench players, but players I could count on to come in and do a good job mid-match. Again, FM had other ideas. Both wanted wages far above what I could offer them for the level of player I felt they were, and I wasn’t willing to let them leave for nothing after January. Hadzic was put up for sale, and was shipped out to Lens for 875k. Again, nothing I could really do about this. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the wages he was wanting, and I had to at least make something from him. This left me needing a striker and a midfielder at the very least.

My first signing was the midfielder, signing Deni Alar from Rapid Wien for a total of 600k including future fees.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 20.07.18

As you can see, central midfield isn’t one of Alar’s preferred positions, but he has all the attributes needed to come in and play the Central Winger role, playing alongside Offenbacher in central midfield. I’m not going to claim any kind of genius for putting Alar in central midfield, as this was discovered by @Shrewnaldo, who managed to get some fantastic performances out of Alar whilst playing in a central midfield role. Ideally, I would have liked Valentino Lazaro for this role, but he’s currently getting a lot of game time at Salzburg, and therefore isn’t willing to make the move to Sturm. He’s also more money than I can afford right now. Alar is being trained to play CM, and hopefully will be accomplished in the position fairly quickly.

Striker was a trickier one. As I’ve said before in these updates, I’m looking to focus on Austrian and German signings in this save, in order to develop a German speaking squad. I started scouting around, looking at options like Friesenbichler, Gregoritsch, Pellegrini and Hinterseer. Hinterseer was perfect, and I had a fee agreed, but his wage demands were simply too high and I had to back out of the deal. Gregoritsch looks like a fantastic prospect, and is absolutely going to be someone I look at signing within the next season or so, but I didn’t feel he was ready to lead our line yet. After looking at those options and a few German ones (all too expensive or not good enough), I decided it was time to allow myself a foreign signing. I originally said that I would allow myself no more than 2 foreign signings a season, and this was about to be my first.

Recently, there’s been some fantastic articles around the FM scene, particularly @Cleon81’s article on the deep lying forward at his blog, which I highly suggest you go and check out. In the article, Cleon looks at how he retrained a left back to play at striker, leading to 22 goals in one season. After failing to find the perfect ‘striker’, I decided to do the same, and look for a player with the right attributes, but perhaps not the right position.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 16.06.45

I then discovered this gem. Good attributes in all the right positions for the CF-S role in my 4-1-4-1. Fantastic traditional ‘striker’ attributes like finishing, composure, first touch and decent enough physicals. He’s also got an added creative side that Djuricin didn’t have, with 16 passing and 16 vision. Lovely. His name is Manu Molina and he’s a central midfielder. I do realise the irony that I’ve bought a CM to play striker and a striker to play CM. He was signed for 700k from Recreativo in the Liga Adelante, and has gone straight into the first team. He also has the PPM ‘dictates tempo’ which is noticeable in comparison to Djuricin, he drops deep, contributes to our play more, and vacates space for others to move into, particularly the WM-A Schloffer who I think will thrive from Molina’s brilliant movement.

They’re the only transfers I intend to make. I was considering selling Stankovic, but after losing Hadzic, I now need the cover in midfield, and will probably hold onto him for one more season before letting him go. Hopefully we get more cash flow coming in to allow me to strengthen the squad (the transfer revenue is now back up to 45%). It’s an unfortunate consequence of the outgoings this Summer, but the squad depth hasn’t improved like I wanted it to, if at all. The first team however, has improved considerably

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 16.55.05

This is the result of the first leg of our Champions League playoff, where we comfortably beat Basel, themselves a very good team. It shows how far we’ve come in one season that we’re able to ease past a team like Basel 3-0. Molina played a staring role, opening the scoring in the first minute, and showing utter class every time the ball moved up to him, making 6 key passes, with a completion rate of 91.3%. If that’s a sign of things to come, I can’t wait to see how he plays this season.

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 20.43.00

Just to add a little bit to the save, I also had some kits made for the new season by Kush over at Football Manager Now, a forum I highly recommend you go to for some great FM discussion. I’ve moved Sturm away from the hooped home kit to an all black look, which I really like. The away kit is a favourite of mine though. Kits are available on request at FM Now, so if you would like some for your save, why not go ask in the request thread?

That’s it for now, and I’ll update again midway through the season, hopefully competing with Salzburg once again. Thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to ask any questions.

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Alexandra Aspey

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