Recreating specific styles of play requires specific players to be able to pull of, what you’re creating. This means that over time you need to identify possible transfer targets so when you do have the resources to improve the squad, you make the correct player choice. For me this is one of the most important factors to being successful as I only buy players, who complement the style of play I’ve created or is currently creating. I’ve not really done a post like this before but it’s one people are always asking for. Hopefully what this article outlines is my approach on identifying specific potential transfer targets not only short-term but with long-term in mind. It’s not unusual for me to be looking at players I’ll be buying in three or four seasons time.
At the very start of the game, I normally send my scouts out all over the world to increase the amount of players I know and see what they bring up. However as I was in League One and then the Championship I can’t afford to do that straight away, so I have to manually search for players for the time being (as well as relying on scouts scouting limited areas). Obviously though, I’ll be aware of some players from other saved games. I’ve also used a shortlist I made on a previous save with Swansea, to make the job easier initially to identify possible players. Squad building with the Arsenal Invincibles in mind though is even trickier as I’m looking for specific traits that a player must have, or that I think they’ll be able to learn.
For the foreseeable future the current goalkeeper I have at the club, is capable of playing up until the Premiership. Plus I will be able to attract good loan players for this position. So the planning here is very much long-term and seeing as I can’t be in the Premiership any quickly than two years, then I’m trying to identify players for that time frame or longer. So I set my filters up like this;
I’ve set the age limit to be no older than twenty-seven years old, this is because in two to three years time they’ll be in their thirties and that means the player might be too old for what I’m creating. I want to build a squad that will be able to play together for seven or eight seasons and I’m not sure someone thirty years old fits that. Also it’s going to take me four or five seasons to find all the players I want and then I have to find the resources to be able to afford them.
Anyway, back to the keepers. You’ll see I also set some attributes to look for. The key here is to look for specific attributes you want the keeper to have but try to keep them to a minimum so you don’t miss good players who might have one attribute low. What I tend to do here is look for between three or five attributes that are must have’s. This way the player pool is bigger and you can then look at the player’s profile and add them to your shortlists and scout them or ignore them, but at least you’ll have been aware of them.
Looking through the list above the players valued the highest aren’t going to be realistic options at this point in time because I’m not going to be able to afford the transfer fee’s for quite sometime. However I still shortlist them because contracts expire and I might pick up a bargain on a free or cheap if they get transfer listed. However before adding them to a shortlist I have to search through the players and see which ones I need to shortlist. After all I set the attributes I was looking for in a goalkeeper relatively low, so the older players on the list are probably poorer than you’d hope for, when you could actually afford to bring them in. I try to take age into account here when looking at players because the younger they are, the more likely they have developing left to do.
After looking through the list of players I identified five possible players that could be up to the job I require. Those players were;
Those are the five players I’ve identified as being a real possibility of playing for us in the future. If I was to rank them in order it would look something like;
However out of the five of them I think Rajkovic is the one who could develop better than the others and look quite a different player in the three or four years. He’s also younger than the others which means I might be able to get more years out of him once I’ve found the ideal squad.
I wasn’t able to find any suitable fullbacks in the first season, so I’m not going to discuss those as there is nothing to discuss. I will update for season two though because I found quite a few.
For the central defenders I set these filters;
This time I’m looking for younger players than the filter I set for the goalkeeper. That’s because outfield players tend to have shorter careers, so if I’m building for the future I need to look at younger players. But I follow the same principles as above and list three attributes I believe the players must have and are vital for what I’m creating.
This time though I haven’t got a top five, it more like a top fifteen. Rather than list them all, I’ll list the player I’m the most interested in.
I like his attributes and I like his versatility. He’s also a natural midfielder as well as a defensive midfielder and defender which makes him appealing. He also fits the Kolo Toure player mould, where he was a converted midfielder. So for me he is the stand out for now but I will be tracking all twenty-three players closely over the next season or so and narrowing them down a lot more and possibly adding newer candidates to the list that I identify as my game progresses further.
The shortlists I’m currently using doesn’t really have the type of central pairings I need because I was building a different way with Swansea so wanted different types of players. I do have someone in mind for the central midfielder role though, which won’t come as a surprise if you’ve followed my Santos career.
The downside here is he’s small and can’t jump, something which Gilberto was known for. But for now he is an option and I’m going to have to make some kind of sacrifices as I’m not going to find like for like players based on the Invincibles. As long as I create the style they used and players have the traits needed (PPM’s) then that’s the most important factor. Plus Arsenal had back up players who were different and the actual starting eleven people attribute to the Invincibles, didn’t start that many games together…….
As for the other positions, I’m struggling to find a Patrick Vieira type of player who I can realistically bring in or identify as a possible future target. I will find one, I’m still at the start of the game though. I always thought this would be the hardest position to fill though because he was a unique player and there’s not many modern-day plays of the same mould.
Searching for the wider players is more tricky though because I run the same search several times but change the position I am looking for. I could just search all midfielders but I prefer doing it this way. One of the reasons for doing this is because retraining a player isn’t an issue, the attributes someone has, is the main thing for me to consider. So if I want a left-sided playmaker for wide playmaker slot then I’ll search ML, AML, AMR and MR positions as well as the fullback positions. Players in those roles all have similar attributes and traits. If I wasn’t working from a shortlist, I would probably just search for attributes with no positions filter and filter that way. It’s more time-consuming but getting the right player is vital so worth it in the long run for me.
These set of filters are me focusing on finding a future wide playmaker for the Pires role.
I did this for all the positions I mentioned above. Lots of players match the criteria I was looking for, in particular two players caught my eye.
The reason why these two interest me is I’ve seen them sold or released on almost every saved game I’ve done. Not only that but both have good attributes for what I’m looking for. I need a player who is able to dribble with the ball at their feet comfortably. Both players are young and should have some developing to do still. Plus they are young enough for me to teach several PPM’s to them. If the player was a lot older than I’d have less time to teach them PPM’s considering they take six months to learn.
On the right side of midfield for the Ljungberg role, I’m still struggling to identify someone for those roles too. I do however have Che Adams at the club who might fit the role and if developed right might be able to play at a much higher level. It is something I need to watch over the next twelve months or so.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter then you’ll know who my strikers are already and how important they are. I didn’t need scouts or filters for these positions though, I know already who I want for these roles long-term based on other saved games I’ve had.
What makes these so special? Romero can fill the Bergkamp role, he is creative, got good technique, he can dribble and pass the ball. More importantly he is still sixteen years old too. It might be hard to see the end product by looking at him but I can already see it.
As for Kelechi, he is going to be my Thierry Henry! He needs lots of work but his physical attributes are all what I would want from such a player to fulfill the role. There is also a very high chance I get him on loan, which if I did, would mean I can start developing him straight away for how I envision him to be. Exciting times!
There is another post further in the series about these players and if I was able to buy them or not. There will also be other new additions I haven’t mentioned thus far. I will also write a bit about how I search players who my scouts haven’t identified or players who aren’t on my shortlist. I’ll show exactly how I search for players using the filters.